In Israel, it is not the system
Whom does he resemble more - Samson, the hero whose hair was shaved off, or Prometheus the Titan who was bound to a rock? Only one year has elapsed since he became he strongest man on earth and already it seems as if his strength has left him; a tragedy for the world.
It is not completely clear how he fell from glory. After all, it was not merely he who was elected by a big majority but also his party, which won most of the seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and even after their failure in Massachusetts the Democrats still have 59 seats as compared with the Republicans' mere 41. With a balance of power of this kind, any legislative initiative should be able to pass with ease, but they are all stuck and the president is now begging at the gate, as a loser rather than a winner.
It was this contorted system of government that wise men wanted us to adopt. They view it with envy: If we were to copy it, our national afflictions would be cured. There is no greater nonsense. It is true that the Israeli system is not perfect and requires corrections to its fringes, but there is none better than it. Don't let anyone fool you with anecdotes that are intended to cover human shortcomings and camouflage their helplessness.
The prime minister of Israel, in comparison, is like a king in a battalion and no one can tell him what to do. And if he does not do enough, that is mainly his own problem; and ours, of course. Everyone has his Lieberman (Joe) and even his Sarah (Palin); so what. The Israeli prime minister is sufficiently strong and there is no need to make him even stronger. On the contrary - he should be blocked and balanced by constitutional means.
If Netanyahu was not so afraid of the shadows of his ministers, and of himself and his wife, he would be able to chase away all the eagles that are eating at his liver, and to do great things. But Bibi is a small and weak man who only wants to leave the house in peace.
He doesn't even have an opposition. Never has there been such a lazy and apathetic major opposition party here - either because it has nothing to offer or because its members were not trained to wander and be a voice crying out in the desert.
More than 30 years ago, the person who was then the champion of changing the electoral system and the system of governance in Israel visited me at home. Yigael Yadin tried to persuade me of the necessity for change and how urgent it was - if we would just get rid of our faulty system and exchange it for another, the state would benefit and so would its citizens. I was not convinced. But tens of thousands of citizens followed in the wake of this nonsense and continued to repeat it. "Just like in America," Yadin explained, according to his way of reasoning.
And here we have Barack Obama who was elected in a direct election, and every senator who is elected personally in his state, and every congressman in his district. But nevertheless America is not moving, and not merely in our region.
There is no reform in the health system, and it is doubtful whether there will be; there is no agreed plan for solving the problems of the climate and environment; the financial institutions continue to act without regard for the consequences and no effective regulation is in sight; a new arms supervision agreement with Russia has yet to be worked out and the date seems far off; and even the Guantanamo prison has still not been shut as promised.
And all of this can be attributed to the constitutional grindstone around their neck, as America sinks.
The polemics in our research institutes and in our discourse have been to no avail. It is not the system that is to blame, it is the Israeli leadership that dwells so well and pleasantly, just sitting and doing nothing.
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