Text size

They were four - Reuven Rivlin, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Michael Eitan - who woke up in time and realized the gravity of the error.

They had obtained permission to vote against the parliamentary committees to investigate leftist groups, against that invasive intention.

MKs Fania Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu ) and Danny Danon (Likud ) are each expected to head one of the panels. It is they who are to poke around in the subversive acts of the traitorous leftists, with the support of seven additional MKs from Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism, Shas and National Union. Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) wanted to join, too, but for some reason demurred, even though he was perfect for the role.

They were four, and are now five - at least. At yesterday's Likud legislative caucus, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, indignant over the double standard, made a typically noninvasive demand, in the spirit of the winds of freedom swirling around these parts of late: "Party discipline for everyone, or conscience voting for everyone." He also reminded his colleagues of a depressing truth: "In the government today, in the opposition tomorrow."

Now why didn't they think of that? Three more cabinet members and three more MKs suddenly remembered and made back-pedaling noises. On second and third thought, perhaps those committees now look like foul follies to them.

That's exactly the problem: Important decisions are made hastily, breezily. Something is totally screwy with Benjamin Netanyahu's decision-making mechanism, over weighty matters but also trivial ones that are guaranteed to wreak damage far beyond any possible benefit. That's what happens to a prime minister who can't administrate. Even National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, that most loyal of loyalists, most devoted of devotees, finally had more than enough; he loved his lord and master but longed for freedom.

None of Netanyahu's decisions hold water. Within a few days, sometimes hours, the deal turns sour. A two-year budget is approved, and two hours later the tinkering with it begins. Netanyahu is a weather vane, that metal object that is typically shaped like a rooster - but a prime minister's head is heavier than a tin rooster. It shouldn't spin like a plucked feather from the lightest of winds, and certainly not from the wind of Avigdor Lieberman.

Fourteen UN Security Council members, including Israel's long-standing friends, joined together on Friday to denounce the Netanyahu government and its policies. True, the denunciation was over continued settlement-building, but today it's easier than ever to put Israel in its place. The world is prepared to condemn its actions because it's no longer the old, treasured democratic Israel that everyone loves to praise.

Just 63 years old, not particularly old for a state, and definitely looking the worse for wear; politicians investigating other politicians, the state hunting down its opponents in civil society. It's easy to isolate such a state, to make it stand in a corner.