MKs complaining that they are under enormous amounts of pressure should remember that only in a place where people give in to pressure are there people who apply pressure.
This column will not be dedicated to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his friends "to the right of Kadima." I'm tired of this distorted man, who even in the Israel Defense Forces sowed an ill commander's wind, whose whirlwind we will yet reap.
This column is dedicated to other ministers and MKs, who are also betraying the little trust that remains; those public emissaries who sell justice in exchange for trifles.
Don't think for a moment that they're enjoying themselves there, on their mission, as the gossips are saying. On the contrary, they're really suffering. They could be heard of late complaining about the heavy pressure being put on them. Their cry of suffering rises and falls like a siren signaling a real emergency.
Groups of brazen lobbyists are storming the Knesset, especially the members of the Knesset's finance and economics committees. Anyone prepared to serve on one of them is risking his life.
The gas partnerships, for example, have hired at least five lobbying firms, which raid the Knesset and ambush MKs: Either you oppose the Sheshinsky Committee's recommendations or your end will be bitter.
Things have reached such a point that the Finance Committee's chairman has barred lobbyists and public relations people from the panel's meetings, so not a hair on the head of a bald MK or a carefully coiffed female MK will be harmed. And the Knesset speaker is considering how innocent lambs can be guarded from hungry wolves. Not only do the Sheshinsky proceedings require special protective measures, so does every discussion revolving around banks, cell phone companies, Israel Chemicals, and so on.
There are tycoons who are not satisfied with emissaries sent to persuade. Yitzhak Tshuva and his greedy friends have discovered that personal presence and direct contact are more convincing. They look straight at the sovereign, and the sovereign lowers his eyes. There is a reward for their activity, and a large one.
I was a lad when I entered the Knesset, I was old when I left, and I still don't know what that horrifying pressure is, what a "Knesset under attack" is and how to explain the victimized pose of persecuted elected officials. I worked in that place for 33 years and I don't remember suffering from pressure sores.
A veteran MK recently described at a press conference in Eilat what awaits them: "At the moment, very heavy pressure is being applied on the gas issue," he said. "Suddenly I've encountered people who call and say that next time it will be harder for you to be elected, that it's not good for your future."
And he concluded with an emotional call to support him and his colleagues before they fall: "If the media don't balance things, we won't be able to handle this by ourselves." Maybe now, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to adopt Sheshinsky's watered-down conclusions in full, they will be able to depend on someone higher up and climb down from their high horse.
We will offer two pieces of advice to the person who is afraid, advice that I gave myself when I was in their place. First, don't agree to meet with lobbyists, whose voice is that of their masters, and whose every word is carved in granite. Let the master himself come, explain his requests, and assume direct and personal responsibility for proper disclosure, full transparency, the reliability and meaning of the words. Second, if you hear even a vague note of scare tactics, remove him from the room immediately.
It's important to understand: Only in a place where people give in to pressure are there people who apply pressure. And those who give in to pressure are being extorted, because if not, there really is no reason to feel pressured: Maybe someone has by chance received a forbidden donation-reward? And maybe someone is casting his bread upon the waters?
And a question to myself as well: Should I be insulted that no tycoon has set foot on my threshold? Have they not treated me seriously and shown contempt for me? Apparently. And there's another possibility: In my case, the hint of a threat and the shadow of scare tactics would end up at the police station.
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