So how about Mickey Mouse?
The only lively bit of news this week was the death of crime boss Ya'akov Alperon. Excuse me, the assassination of Ya'akov Alperon.
Israel's organized-crime families, with their territories, rivalries and settling of accounts, make a laughingstock of the police and law-enforcement authorities. The moment they sit in the dock, they pull out their skullcaps and mug for the cameras. When they murder one another, the media calls it an assassination. It's like Israel Defense Forces' jargon: Terrorists are not killed, but bumped off. As if murder were a dirty business, but assassinations, especially the targeted kind, are justified.
In the TV series "The Sopranos," the mobsters, living in fancy houses in the suburbs, are portrayed as nice guys. Between hits they are warm, loving family men. I have some good friends in Tel Aviv who race out of the restaurant where they are having dinner if some dude walks in escorted by two bodyguards wearing earpieces. How do you know the person sitting next to you won't be blown up by a remote-control device hidden in his bag? Here and there, you see some of these characters working as vote contractors for the national camp before a Likud primary.
At the farewell party thrown for him by the General Staff when he retired from the military, Moshe Ya'alon asked: "You know why I wear high boots? Because the grass is crawling with snakes." He knew very well why his term as chief of staff was not extended for a fourth year. Because the Sharon family regarded Dan Halutz as the right man for the job of dismantling the Gush Katif settlements with resolve and determination.
Is Ya'alon a dove or a hawk? It's hard to say. Later, Ya'alon actually revealed that he had had a "beautiful plan" for evacuating the settlers. So you wonder how he changed his skin so quickly: Now he is playing the Likud man opposed to any kind of withdrawal from the territories.
These people are willing to go into any theater as long as they can find a seat in the front row. It doesn't matter what movie is playing.
Ya'alon waited until the last minute to declare that Likud is "home" and the time has come to bear right. Benjamin Netanyahu's white hair (not dyed this time) gleamed and his eyes sparkled. But some day, Ya'alon, in his new Likud digs, may regret not donning a flak jacket along with those combat boots.
Usually they say that rats are the first to desert a sinking ship. But at the moment we're seeing rats racing to board the winning ship (according to the surveys, at least). Uzi Landau, a Herutnik born and bred, has joined Avigdor Lieberman in Yisrael Beiteinu. All of a sudden, Uzi Dayan, with his Labor views, has turned Likud. Ditto for Dan Meridor, who was tossed out and publicly shamed by Netanyahu, and Benny Begin, who, rather than trust his memory, sat down at his computer and typed up a list of all the Netanyahu sins that made him quit the party. And what can we say about Ami Ayalon, who insisted he would not go into politics unless he was promised the job of prime minister, and has now flip-flopped straight into the arms of Rabbi Michael Melchior of Meimad?
It is not clear what is guiding these political rats in their mad dash to get on the boat presumably heading toward victory. Wouldn't it be more honorable if they revealed the ideology that brought them to Likud before they joined?
Ferenc Molnar wrote a famous children's book about a country where everyone is a general, except for one private. Opportunism is having a field day around here. Apart from Begin and Landau, all these politicos could be members of any party. Begin and Netanyahu have told each other that they are older and wiser. That's nice, but it doesn't say anything.
Netanyahu has proved that he knows how to collect generals like a bunch of leftover eggs, but we have yet to hear what the deal is. What happens if they don't get the top spots he has, or hasn't, promised them? Will they walk out the door?
Netanyahu has skillfully prepared his gambit as if the elections were tomorrow, but the surveys predicting a landslide victory may be jumping the gun. He is booby-trapped by certain inconsistencies in his views. How, for example, does he plan to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, and what will he do about Hamas in Gaza? Will he exercise restraint or won't he?
Tzipi Livni's policy is much clearer, and its principles have been adopted by the Quartet; namely, recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and abiding by signed agreements. Kadima's innovation is Livni, who is smart, brave, energetic and has a lot to offer, compared with the Labor Party, which has more candidates than realistic slots and a leader with an IQ so high that people can barely understand him.
The winner of the election will be the candidate who ignites the imagination of the people as a leader with a clear direction. Dredging up oldies from the past is not the solution. At this rate, Mickey Mouse, who turned 80 this week, could also join Likud. But we're saving him for the presidency, of course.