We survived Pharoah, but will we survive this? Will Israel survive the terms of Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz? Through force of habit, or by dint of fate, we will hang in there, apparently.
Olmert and Peretz did not take over the government in a palace revolution. Israeli citizens voted for them, but the citizen who voted is not the citizen who is capable of resigning. The vacuum that created them is what is sucking them into their seats. The citizen created, and now the golems are rising up against their creator.
Israel is stuck with these two irresponsible windbags in its coming bad years. Neither primaries nor investigations will uproot them from their seats. Although they exchange blows every day, they do not get tired: As experienced wrestlers they know how those who are exhausted manage to recover - from time to time they fall into the arms of their rival and find new strength. They already understand that there will be no knockout here, and they have not yet given up on victory. Only an ongoing, widespread protest in the streets - only hundreds of thousands of jeering Israelis - could rid the country of this pair. But the public itself is exhausted, and there is nobody to give strength to the weary.
Ostensibly we are dealing with a popular concept: We survived Pharoah, so we'll survive this, and that, as well. We must not treat the 2,000-year-old hope as an axiom. The situation is truly serious, and grave as well. Many bad people are predicting another war in the summer, and in the same short breath they are saying that the Israel Defense Forces is not prepared for war. And who exactly will rescue us from the harsh sights that morph into a harsh calamity? Will it be the IDF, whose rehabilitation has not yet begun? Will it be two midget-commanders who are in the lead?
Meanwhile, at its own pace, corruption is continuing to destroy many good things, and such a combination of military inefficacy and moral weakness is lethal. Those who failed in the attack on the Hezbollah gangs are liable to succeed in the attack on the gangs of the rule of law. Those involved in investigation, prosecution, law and the state comptrollership are no longer protected targets: They are constantly under bombardment, and now they have been confronted by a formidable cannon in a forward position. We may not have weapons for intercepting missiles and rockets, but weapons for intercepting a Supreme Court were developed in an instant.
Israel, like every democratic country, separates its branches of authority, and nevertheless it is difficult nowadays to distinguish between them; all three are disparaged and riddled with conflict. A frenzied atmosphere has been deliberately introduced into the judicial branch; the legislative branch is preoccupied with itself and distraught, trying to figure out how to improve its embarrassing reputation; and the executive branch, even with a gun to its head, will be unable to reveal even one hidden achievement.
The government of Olmert, Peretz and Peres will leave behind it not only scorched earth, but a crazy country as well. When it was established it was presented as a government that united left and right, and after less than a year, left and right together have created only devastation.
This week Maariv wrote that a souvenir shop will soon be opened in the Knesset. Among its treasures the shop will sell posters of all of Israel's prime ministers. That's an original idea, but a dangerous one as well: The new store is liable to arouse longing for the past and disgust with the present.
And if once there were people of a different ilk here, it's still possible that there will be again. After all, it's inconceivable that Olmert and Peretz are the best that the shop of the Jewish People can display on the shelves of history.
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