We are slowly returning to the Book of Genesis. There was evening and there was morning, and lo and behold, a surprise: Only three weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that taxes would not be raised, and suddenly the situation has been reversed. And there was evening and there was morning, and a tsunami of taxes landed upon us, led by an increase in value-added tax. This government loves equality - additional taxes not only for the rich but for everyone. That's how it is in the land of surprises.
In the morning Netanyahu brought Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz into the government with such haste that in the evening Kadima disbanded. And then there was no Mofaz, while MK Tzachi Hanegbi galloped from Kadima to Likud. And there was evening and there was morning, and Hanegbi is still outside the government.
All day long the statesmanlike leader and his big mouth hint at how we are going to screw Iran, and in the evening a new threat is in the air - the chemical-biological threat from Syria - and the Jewish people are informed that they are not really prepared for it. And maybe that threat is not so realistic, or maybe it is after all, it depends who is being interviewed. When it comes to getting the runaround, nobody compares to us.
In the morning Netanyahu acts as though equal sharing of the burden of military service is a matter of top priority, and in the evening - nothing. The prime minister is more afraid of the ultra-Orthodox than of nuclear and chemical weapons. After it was suggested that Haredim should be drafted, having the option of deferring the draft up to the age of 26 and in return for assistance for their children, it was revealed that the late Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv left behind 1,400 descendants. And there was evening and there was morning, they thought about it and discovered that another achievement like that and the state coffers would be emptied.
Elected officials are competing among themselves over every imaginary bit of nonsense. Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, proposed that fines for traffic offenses be paid according to the model and cost of the car. Will the future victim prefer to be run over by a Mercedes rather than a Subaru? Leading the march of folly and the babbling is the question of how Netanyahu knew before they counted the bodies of the victims of the suicide bomb in Burgas that Iran was responsible for the attack. And if he knew so much, why didn't he prevent the attack?
A serious country has to base its activity on a long-term strategy. The frequent changes in plans mean there is no plan and we have nothing and nobody to rely on. Living in uncertainty does not help our psychological well-being. How can we rely on a government that conveys constant uncertainty despite its overwhelming majority?
Hanegbi, with seven MKs ostensibly in his pocket, remains outside. It looks bad, it makes a bad impression, "but I can live with that peacefully," he says. So we've achieved at least one peace. "The 2012 version of the 'stinking maneuver,'" says Haim Ramon, referring to Labor's unsuccessful attempt in 1990 to withdraw from a unity government with Likud and form a government with Shas. Ramon is also immersed in a maneuver of his own. And Mofaz justifies his zigzagging by saying, "I refused to support Bibi's adventurous campaigns that endangered Israeli citizens." Did his fans really believe him?
During these times, when everything around us is burning, the public has a tendency to believe in new stars. The Hanegbi of today does not look like the Hanegbi who fought the Israel Defense Forces from the rooftops during the evacuation of the Rafah Salient. All right, so he made a mistake; meanwhile he abandoned the Likud in favor of Kadima with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, now he'll return to Likud. Either he will or he won't. Changing spots is more than a hobby, it's a profession here.
But don't rely on him too much. Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni was also considered a genius, but when everything was in her hands, the courageous woman from Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood missed out on the opportunity to lead. Mofaz was also considered a genius when he defeated Livni. And Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also spoken of in superlatives. "He's the smartest and most courageous person in the government," they say of him. Why? Because of his basso profundo?
The problems we are confronting are so tough that we want to believe that there are born problem solvers, who are the only ones on whom we can rely. We turned Netanyahu into a political whiz who must have a plan, who must know what he's doing, and who will survive in the government as long as he wants. They say that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is not good at human relations, and that he doesn't really understand politics. It's a fact that he went from the leadership of the Labor Party to the leadership of a pint-sized party that depends entirely on Netanyahu. It's true that he has an "analytical mind," but Netanyahu is the one who makes the decisions.
In effect the public constructs imaginary leaders for itself. And there was evening and there was morning, and we will see the results of the lottery next week.
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