Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

ANALISI-Size does matter

Posted by alicemarziali su 1 aprile, 2009


Yossi Peled, one of the six ministers without portfolio in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, said Monday that he is happy to be serving in the government because this is where the decisions are taken. Yossi is no longer a young man, yet he has still not grasped how the government works. For years now, Israeli governments have been a platform for symposiums. The decisions are taken, assuming they are taken, in other forums.



The problem is not the financial cost of each minister; in relative terms this is small change. The problem is that when there are so many government ministers, there is no government at all. It’s just like the value of money during a period of crazy inflation, when the currency looks like money and smells like money, but you can’t buy anything with it at the market.

And of course, there is the damage inherent in cheapening democracy. The regime in Israel has no constitution to lean on. It is able to maintain its authority thanks to mutual restraints over the years, thanks to external enemies, and thanks to the belief that decision-makers see the nation’s welfare before them.



Yet the restraints and the welfare of the nation are gone. What remains is for us to count on our external enemies – they will guarantee the continued stability of the regime in the State of Israel.



Everything apparently started with Netanyahu’s fear that Lieberman would join forces with Livni and form a government behind his back. It is doubtful whether this fear had any basis in reality – Lieberman looks to take over Likud, not to disengage from it – but it is difficult to argue with fear. Netanyahu paid Lieberman unreasonable prices to bring him into the government, and by doing so made the expectations of other coalition partners skyrocket.



But perhaps the root of the problem is not Netanyahu’s weakness, but rather, the collapse of Israel’s party system. Not only did the government stop performing its role, the coalition also ceased to exist as a framework that backs the government. Only Knesset members who were appointed as ministers or deputy ministers will vote in favor of the government. The others will be sitting on the fence, with one leg in the coalition and the other in the opposition. The prime minister does not win his post; he buys it.



Dubious symbol

The man who has become the symbol of this dubious process is Professor Avishai Braverman. He was highly successful when he served as the president of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. He then sought to make a switch to politics. He received offers to run for the post of Beersheba’s mayor, but he was interested in the national political scene.



Ever since then, he goes from one mistake to another. When he received an offer to become minister without portfolio in Olmert’s government he rejected the offer, because it didn’t seem respectable enough for him. After all, his strength lies in his execution ability. He joined forces with Ami Ayalon’s effort to take over the Labor Party and failed. Only a week ago, in an impassioned speech before the Labor Party committee, he declared that it must not become a secondary member of a rightist government. We have to go to the opposition, he said. Yet on Tuesday he was appointed as minister without portfolio in a government that he forbade his party to join.



Netanyahu drew one important lesson from his past failures: When you’re in trouble, shut up. There are some things that cannot be explained. However, Braverman went from one station to another Monday, from one channel to another, and in each one he humiliated himself all over again.


 Yet perhaps the greatest joke is Michael Eitan, one of our most distinguished Knesset members, who has been entrusted with improving the service offered by the government to its citizens. How can one make the service more efficient when one minister is in charge of incoming mail and another minister is in charge of outgoing mail; when one minister is responsible for tactical threats while another is in charge of strategic threats?



Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of aggressive politics, taught us that the best method for assessing a leader it to examine the people he gathered around him. Netanyahu apparently did not read this chapter in Machiavelli’s book, and if he did read it, he forgot it.

Nahum Barnea  




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