To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Your skills as a statesman remain unproven against Barack Obama, but as a politician you have your brilliant moments. The Bar-Ilan speech cornered Tzipi Livni, pilfering her positions. For years Livni has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that a future Palestine be demilitarized. From now on, these demands are registered to your name, and Livni is neutralized in the opposition, finding it hard to attack you. She will not dare call for a freeze to the settlements, after Obama made his views clear, fearing she will appear too far on the left.
Indeed, a nice move, but more important is the bone you threw to the settlers by appointing one of their leaders, Uri Ariel, to the Judicial Appointments Committee. The people at the settlements and outposts considered this a lot more substantive and influential than your declarations on a Palestinian state. Under the current government, the right's main goal is to crush what it considers the left's control of the Supreme Court. This conquest would complete the 1977 revolution; it's much more important for the settlers than another hilltop or outpost. It turns out you have not given up your struggle against the "elites" - you're just dealing with them one at a time. Now the judicial system is in your sights, having minimized the power of treasury officials. Very sophisticated.
To opposition leader Tzipi Livni: Your "angry" games of opposition versus coalition are unnecessary, misunderstood by the public, and have pushed you into a corner as a small-time politician - where you should not be. You started well as a stateswoman, so keep this up and do not be drawn by silliness. The small-time politics and your focus on Knesset regulations should be left to Haim Ramon, Tzachi Hanegbi and Dalia Itzik; it would be best if this were done behind the scenes and not on prime time. Preserve your integrity for public struggles, in which it is clear who the good and bad guys are. Otherwise you'll be humiliated.
To Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: How do you know that you and your regime are in trouble? Very simple: In your sermon Friday you blamed Israel (along with Britain and the United States) for fomenting demonstrations against the Iranian election results and the "media that is controlled by dirty Zionists." You remind me of Shimon Peres in 1996, who, on the eve of losing to Benjamin Netanyahu, blamed Iran for seeking to bring Likud to power through suicide attacks in an effort to block the peace process. Peres hid behind Military Intelligence chief Moshe Ya'alon, who offered an intelligence assessment at a press conference, but to no avail, and the Oslo Accords fell.
On the other hand, Peres is still in power, and considers himself our spiritual leader.
To the university heads: You are complaining about cuts to the budget and damage to higher education and research, but your public relations are gaining ground. Since Obama spoke at Cairo University, we have seen Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University, Khamenei at Tehran University and even Salam Fayyad at Al-Quds University. Academia may be poor, but it looks good on camera.
To right-wing MK Uri Ariel: You just got a seat on the Judicial Appointments Committee, and already you have made a novice's mistake in your proposal to appoint four religious justices to the Supreme Court. This lacked sophistication and begged a confrontation. You will not transform the Supreme Court into an appendix of the Yesha Council of settlements this way. You should learn from the Americans: They make political appointments to the district courts to build up the pool of experienced candidates for the Supreme Court. Sometimes revolutions require patience.
To Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin: Who said the following? "Israel will ask from no nation, near or far, large or small, to recognize its right to exist .... A different sort of recognition is necessary between us and our neighbors, a recognition of sovereignty and the mutual need for peace and understanding." Well? Sounds familiar? Right, it was your father, Menachem Begin, during his speech when his government was sworn in for his first tenure as prime minister. This is called cross-generational transformation: The father thought the historic right was sufficient, and the son and his government are eager for Palestinian and Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist as the state of the Jewish people. Amazing what time will do.
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