5 comments on the situation
Kadima coalition chairman MK Avigdor Yitzhaki says we are facing the most serious leadership crisis since the founding of the state. It couldn't get worse, you say? You're wrong. It could, and it will.
1. A whole slew of troubles has descended on this country in one fell swoop. The chief of staff and the police commissioner quit. The Zeiler Committee has exposed a crooked police force. The Winograd Committee is writing a report on the Lebanon War fiasco that could be disastrous for the army and cast aspersions on the judgment of Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz for leading an unprepared country into battle. Kadima coalition chairman MK Avigdor Yitzhaki says we are facing the most serious leadership crisis since the founding of the state. It couldn't get worse, you say? You're wrong. It could, and it will.
2. Little by little, our clever prime minister is revealing a talent for getting into tight spots. With the bungles of the war barely behind him, he plunged straight into the Mugrabi Gate controversy. One would think that a person with his experience, having seen the bloody outcome of the Western Wall tunnel affair, wouldn't touch the Temple Mount with a ten-foot pole. But he did, and despite his predictions, rioting broke out and trouble began. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski called the work off on the pretext that proper permits had not been obtained. I suspect it was Olmert who asked Lupolianski to throw him a lifeline. From there, Olmert dashed off to Turkey armed with maps and photographs to prove to the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that it was only maintenance work. Erdogan wasn't convinced, or maybe he thought Olmert was messing with him. So Olmert put his foot in it again: He invited a Turkish delegation to Jerusalem to come see for itself. And what if they don't buy it? Should we get ready for the return of the Ottomans? Is the internationalization of Jerusalem on the way? A stone thrown in the pond by one wise guy will not be retrieved by a thousand fools.
3. For weeks, the papers have been filled with heartrending stories about the suffering of the evacuated settlers of Gush Katif. Forty-nine percent of them are unemployed. Five hundred families have been reduced to poverty. They can't find jobs. They are down to their last crust of bread. True or false, the publication of these figures is not innocent. The goal of the Greater Israel fanatics is to excise any willingness of the settlers to leave of their own accord. The next round of evacuation from the territories, if there ever is one, is going to be bloody.
4. In one of my tete-a-tetes with Motta Gur when he was chief of staff, I noticed he was more interested in talking politics than military affairs. "Are you planning to run for prime minister?" I asked him, in jest. Motta, an honest, straight-talking guy, was appointed chief of staff after the Yom Kippur War. As a military attache in America, he had not been involved in the wartime failures. His answer was yes. "Whatever gave you that idea?" I asked him. He didn't beat around the bush. "In the days of giants like Ben-Gurion, Eshkol, Sapir and Golda, I wouldn't have dreamed of it," he said, "but if Yitzhak Rabin can be prime minister, why can't I?" So why I am telling this story now? Because I think we need a law to keep chiefs of staff from seeking the office of prime minister for at least seven years from the day they step down. If a chief of staff is busy thinking about running for prime minister, his mind is not going to be on the army.
5. Ever since Ofer Glazer was picked up on charges of sexual harassment and indecent behavior, he and his billionaire wife haven't stopped giggling and smiling as they enter and leave the courts. As if there were nothing more fun than being interrogated by the police or sitting in the defendant's dock. As if nothing could beat starring as a sex offender, singing and dancing at all the parties of the country's high and mighty. While his wife was at home, recuperating from surgery, Glazer harassed her private nurse. He ran his hands all over her body, rubbed her back and patted her backside. I can't sleep, he said once, fondling her breasts with both hands. The nurse pushed him away and told him maybe a glass of hot milk would help. In response, he grabbed her tight and said he wanted "mother's milk." A second complainant, a woman who wanted to rent an apartment from him in Eilat, offered similar testimony, with the addition of a forced kiss on the mouth. Glazer was sentenced to half a year for these sexual offenses. While Haim Ramon's world collapsed around him because of one kiss, Glazer is laughing all the way to the clink. On Friday, his devoted wife threw a party for him at her mansion, inviting the media and 150 of all the who's who in Israel, to celebrate his birthday and the start of his prison sentence. Do these people have no shame?
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