netanyahu - Hagai Frid - December 6 2010
Netanyahu, with Yishai behind him, speaking to journalists in the Carmel in December 2010.. Photo by Hagai Frid
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The days of fire showed us the happy fact that an efficient CEO sits in the Prime Minister's Office. Sits? No way! Runs. He is an active man - he could be seen every day in the field giving out orders. He has connections - he enlisted the aid of the best planes from around the world to save us. And he is a man of marketing skills - he knew how to ensure good public relations for his activities.

There he was, wearing the right shirt. There he was in the correct pose for the photographers. There he stopped the armored car, where we could see him looking up at the skies, at the super wonder from America. There he was being photographed while talking with the captain in the cockpit of the jumbo plane that spits out the most water in the world. And there he was in a helicopter looking out over our country burning, as if to say: You have someone in the skies you can rely on. A veteran broadcaster even asked on state radio (in wonder peppered with admiration ): "He has already been in the field three times; will there perhaps be a fourth time?"

What can you say? An efficient CEO and an excellent PR man. After all, the surveys do not lie. Sixty-eight percent of the public thought he had acted well. His wife, too, talked to the media about him in wonderment.

This CEO is called Benjamin Netanyahu. Just give him a worthwhile fire and he will be ready to prove himself. True, all of this was accompanied by overwhelming public relations - the camera is the message - but the fact is, the planes took off and the fire was extinguished. There was an unexpected problem. Just as the salvation army went back to base in Azerbaijan and Cyprus, we once again had to land on the hard surface of reality. Maybe we have an excellent CEO of fire services, but we have no prime minister. The peace process, that marginal and annoying matter, is completely stuck once again. Two years of blabbering, of lofty promises and flowery speeches, have gone by but there is nothing, nothing, nothing.

What is the army of propagandists going to say now? What are the court commentators going to write? That Netanyahu put out the fire? That Netanyahu is in favor of two states? That it's all Iran's fault? The Americans did not even give him a few days of grace to enjoy the glory of the extinguished fire - another huge blaze that no jet of water can put out had already ignited: the decisive announcement about the failure of the talks.

This is the time for Netanyahu to reach the only correct personal conclusion: His future is in administration. He is still not too old, he is still energetic enough, he can run a big company and even an international one, perhaps that of the Evergreen Supertanker.

The premiership? Courageous leadership? Not that. This is also the time when we have to wake from the illusions that have been spread around us. Nothing has changed. The "old" and "new" Netanyahus are one and the same.

His admirers will now brag that he has succeeded in bending U.S. President Barack Obama's arm. That's true. But what good will come to Israel from a weak America? Whom do we have in this world other than the United States? Half of his term has gone by and what have we seen? Not one achievement.

Netanyahu, too, must answer this honestly: You have been prime minister for two years and what have you changed? Iran is sticking to its guns, Gilad Shalit is still in captivity, you have continued rudely to ignore the Arab peace initiative, you have continued to reject Syria with imperviousness, and you promised the sky to the Palestinians but without freezing construction. Democracy has been cracked, racism is rampant, fascism is at the gate - but all you managed to do was put out the fire on the Carmel. For that we could make do with a CEO.

Netanyahu may have seen the charred trees but he is incapable of seeing the forest. It's no surprise he appeared during the days of the fire in front of every possible microphone, with Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg at his side or without her. He had something to say. In normal times, he avoids the microphones. He has nothing to say. Without an agenda, without a vision, without a clear and decisive weltanschauung, he avoids the media. He knows why. Operations manager - yes; leader - no.

Therefore, the recommendation of the house is that you should go back to management and marketing. That's your place. Travel the world. In the dazzling business world, there is no need to hide a lit cigar in your jacket pocket, and you do not need a worldview or the ability to identify historical processes. There is no newspaper that will blacken your name and you will not even have Tzipi Hotevely or Eli Yishai on your head. After all, you have so many friends in that wide world, you fit it like a glove fits a hand, and you will enjoy every minute. Who knows? Maybe at a VIP room at an airport terminal you will meet your friend from the unit, Ehud Barak. Then you should recommend that he follow in your footsteps.