If Albert Einstein was our unrealized presidential fantasy, then Moshe Katsav seems to be our presidential nightmare. Instead of a country that could be a beacon unto the nations, instead of having the most influential scientist of the 20th century - perhaps human history, some say - as our president, what Israel got is a political hack, without even the grace to step down as the police raid his domicile over decidedly unpleasant suspicions.
In Israel, the presidency is a representational institute. It is like a feather on the hat; once upon a time that was the dernier cri in Bavaria, but it's not clear what that piece of bird is still doing there.
The thing is, that nobody has any desire to mess with it. Why? Obviously, because the very people who could abolish this outdated institute, which costs us taxpayer tens of millions of shekels a year, are the very politicians fantasizing about a cushy job, photo operations with soldiers, speeches from the most distinguished of daises, and the rest of the silly perks that come with it.
The question that arises about the capability of politicians - who generally trampled, stomped, and flattered their way to the top - to run the state rather begs itself. The fact that the Knesset, not some public committee, appoints the president, means that unsuitable appointments will be made, driven by power, political alliances and that sort of thing. There isn't even a Ravivi type of vetting committee to check his qualifications based on specific criteria.
On the other hand, if we change the way the president is chosen, or abolish the institute entirely, we miss a rare opportunity: Ehud Olmert as prime minister, Roni Bar-On as interior minister and Reuven "Ruby" Rivlin as president. One has never seen so many representatives from the VIP section of the Teddy Stadium of Beitar Jerusalem running the country.
In Israel, when a new president is named, the dailies distribute portraits of the new man. Now imagine a poster of Ruby's smiling face falling from your paper together with the Superpharm brochure. So let's not do anything for the time being: let's sit tight and watch the show.
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