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1. In the commission

Now they are using Deputy Premier Shimon Peres' censored testimony as an excuse for the non-publication of the other testimonies. Peres has been done an injustice, sputter insiders through gritted teeth, and further injustice must not be done to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former chief of staff Dan Halutz. This line has been heard many times, but there is nothing to it.

"If it had been up to me," testified the deputy premier before the commission, "I would not have gone into this war. I would not have compiled a list of the war's aims, either, because we have no aims in a war that we did not initiate." Peres also said of Olmert and Peretz that they "already come with a focused proposal, it's hard to move them, they are already tied up." And then he explained why he nevertheless voted in favor of the war and even defended it enthusiastically: "Because the prime minister was in a difficult situation."

All of these things were said by "our most senior statesman," and no censorship in the world can reverse their significance. There is no context out of which it is possible to arbitrarily take these remarks.

In this case, what could possibly have been excised from the transcript for reasons of state security? Perhaps behind closed doors, Peres related that U.S. President George W. Bush had phoned him and urged him to stick with the war and contain the Hezbollah once and for all (just a wild hypothesis) but if so, so what? Is the opinion of an American president who is lacking in judgment equal in weight to the well-judged and crucial opinion of an Israeli deputy premier? Or maybe the king of Saudi Arabia phoned him and explained to him that it was necessary to kill the best of the Shi'ites, and needless to say the worst of them as well. And if so, so what? Let the king send his soldiers; the king's deputy doesn't need to send ours.

What, damn it, was excised from the transcript that explains the tilt of Peres' heart from against to being in favor? And what if Peres was against and for, for and against, at the same time? Hasn't Peres always been known as a statesman the broadness of whose opinion encompasses opposites and digests contradictions? Perhaps before the vote he decided that it was not seemly for a leading candidate for the presidency to go against the flow, to make an exception of himself, because the president of the country is everyone's president, a man for all seasons and for all reasons.

2. In the family

What more can be said in praise of the family that hasn't already been said? From it we emerge and to it we return, and to it we will give a reckoning, even on the state of our bank account. The family is also our life, it will rescue us from every trouble and it really has rescued quite a number of important people on whose heads masses of troubles have fallen of late. Their families are their atonement.

Abraham Hirchson's Auntie Ada from Italy is just one of many examples. We still remember well the late, adopted parents of Yaffa Deri, the wife of Aryeh Deri (he should live and be well), who also provided all they were lacking. There are few examples of such a moving adoption, which can be compared only to the case of the orphan from Malawi whom a couple of Hollywood stars have clasped to their bosom.

The higher one climbs and clings to the top, the further the family tree branches out. The nucleus framework fades away and an expanded framework appears in its place; friends and acquaintances, people one knows, people who are grateful and people who know how to honor the past also enter the group picture.

To judge only by its philanthropy and its practice of giving in secret, you might think that the Sharon family was the largest family in Israel. And the patriarch of the family, being so thoroughly engaged in matters of state, entrusted his two sons into the hands of his giving loyalists, just as the welfare authorities entrust homeless children to foster families in return for a monthly payment. The child Gilad grew up and learned how to surf the Internet and Aegean Sea, and Uncle Dudi paid him millions out of an educational approach that believes in rewarding achievement. And when the father himself was caught in a misdeed prior to his coma, and sharp teeth were set on edge, it was clear that the sons had eaten sour grapes, and not only the fathers.

Soon it will be discovered that for Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman's daughter there is a close relative, or a distant relative, who has inaugurated a family program meant to cultivate young talents; if not, how to explain how a girl of 21 could have received NIS 7 million in return for "professional consultation?" Relatives of the first degree, and the second degree, and no degree at all, have already proved that they are prepared to throw themselves over the fence so that their kin can walk over them with their full weight and their pockets full of walnuts. The police, if only they have a mind to it, can crack these hard nuts, but they are also capable of digesting tales that are good for nothing but the birds.

The genealogical strategy, only a few examples of which have been surveyed here, is not used only for legal purposes, in the sense of: If there's a trial, break out the tribe. Every time a cloud hovers over one of our exalted leaders, a man who has cheated on his wife will make a point of holding her hand on television and will not let go, not when he lays himself down to sleep and not when he rises, especially not when he rises; and a grandfather makes a point of seating a grandson upon his lap, as if the tot has declared that he won't eat his dinner or go to bed unless they take him to a primaries-training conference first; and a father-who-owns-many-houses will make a point of noting that a public figure also has children, and children of important people also need to live.

Not since the old, familial days of the yiddishe mama, have Jewish clans had such good, lachrymose days. A gutte mishpukha is now as holy as the holy Sabbath: more than Israel has observed familial fealty, the family has preserved Israel, and gut shabbes.