If I were Shelly Yachimovich, I would beg Ehud Barak to join the next government as defense minister; if I were Ophir Pines-Paz, I would form a public lobby to promote Barak's appointment. The Labor chairman simply belongs in the defense post and on the right's dream team. The public wants it and the Labor electorate wants it - so run, Barak, run and get the desired job.
It's his natural place: the right. After the proven success of the worthless war in the Gaza Strip, we cannot do without his outstanding services. Iran will tremble, Hamas will shake: Hurray! Hurray! The next defense minister is on his way.
Together with Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, we will have a lovely pair: Bibi-Barak, two graduates of "the unit," the commander and the subordinate, in an exchange of roles. With all they learned in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando unit, they will easily solve any problem. They will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Hamas from having Qassams, Hezbollah from getting Katyushas. They have waged war and made peace, economically feasible or not. They have proved they can do it all.
The only fear: They'll solve everything so quickly that within a short time they'll be left with nothing to do. But we won't have anything to worry about. It's true that Netanyahu, who wants Barak as his defense minister, thought that the war in Gaza, of which Barak was the highly praised general, was a failure - but what difference does that make? After all, they ate from the same mess tin, they're both from the same village - the secretive village of clandestine campaigns and imaginary operations - which have brought us to where we are today.
But not only the people, the country and the defense establishment will benefit from his appointment. So will the Labor Party, and this time in all seriousness. If I were Yachimovich and Pines-Paz, I would urge Barak to join: two birds with one stone - ostensibly good for the country and truly good for the party. For Labor, this will be the only way to get rid of this man, who has led it from bad to worse, to the humiliation of 13 Knesset seats. Had Yoram Marciano headed the party, it would not have received fewer votes. Getting rid of Barak may give rise to a new leadership for Labor - a genuinely leftist, genuinely peace-oriented leadership. Amir Peretz, Yachimovich and Pines-Paz are genuine Labor. With a man suspected of responsibility for war crimes at the head, it's hard for the left to be left.
Labor will benefit from one more thing if Barak joins the government: It will be freed of a few more opportunists. Benjamin Ben-Eliezer will not miss out on a few more years in the government; neither will Isaac Herzog. Anyone in Labor considering joining the far-right government should do so and leave the small camp clean and consolidated.
Barak need not worry: It will be very easy to present his joining the government to the brainwashed public. There is no need to enlist former Supreme Court chief justice Aharon Barak and Israel Defense Forces generals in the deviant assignment. In every survey, Ehud Barak is the preferred candidate for defense minister. He is Mr. Defense, no matter if the Qassams continue to fall and Gilad Shalit continues to rot. Barak's entry into the government will be accompanied by the usual frightening speeches, full of pathos, about responsibility at this time, about his role in "moderating the right" in the government, about the importance of "unity," about the critical dangers Israel faces as a nation - mainly Iran, the ultimate weapon of every garden-variety demagogue. As if the only key to solving the Iran problem is to be found outside Washington, as if the person sitting in the Kirya defense compound in Tel Aviv has a decisive role in the frightening scenario, and as if Barak has some secret weapon that others don't have.
If that does not suffice, it is of course possible to pull out another winning card: Daniel Friedmann. Barak, who has absolutely no interest in the selection of the justice minister, will man the barricades to prevent Friedmann's appointment - merely to justify joining the government himself.
Is it worth preventing a failed justice minister from joining the government at the price of a failed defense minister and the total loss of his party's direction? Quite a few leading members of the Israeli elite, the only ones interested in the subject, believe that such a deal would be justified.
Barak will be the next defense minister, with or without his party. There are not many things more certain in Israeli politics. Like the act of Moshe Dayan or Rahamim Kalanter - both of whom defected from their parties - it will redeem us. Along with the tremendous damage to the country and to his party, maybe something good will come of it. So we will repeat once again: Run, Barak, run. Put aside your party, which is not really your party, and join Netanyahu. Ketzeleh - Yaakov Katz of the National Union Party - will be your deputy, and that's all the strength you'll need.
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