The Israeli public is the real hero of the past decade. It supported the bold peace process of 2000. It overcame the massive terrorist offensive of 2001-2004. It supported Ariel Sharon's efforts to reduce the occupation in 2005. It withstood the Katyusha attacks of Hezbollah against the North in the summer of 2006.
Over six years of difficult challenges, the Israeli public exhibited maturity and responsibility. It did not get carried away by extremism or defeatism, it did not become delusional or despondent. Lacking an inspiring leadership, it defended its home. It developed a vibrant economy under conditions of conflict, and a stable, normal day-to-day routine despite the constant threats. Even when the State of Israel failed, the Israeli public showed its mettle.
But this last year, the Israeli public failed: It did not manage to impose its views on its government. Immediately following the Second Lebanon War, the citizens of Israel understood the severity of the war and its implications. They recognized that the government failed and would be unable to lead the corrective process. They understood the national leadership is unworthy.
Nonetheless, for eight months the country's residents allowed their leadership to ridicule them. They did not join the reservists' protest en masse; they did not put the prime minister, whose moral authority was lost, under political siege. Except for David Grossman, all the authors kept quiet. Except for Eli Hurvitz, all the leading economic figures kept quiet. The general public complained but it did not protest. Here and there some dogs barked, but the convoy kept on moving.
The five impressive members of the Winograd Committee told the public this Monday that the convoy is heading for an abyss. The implication of their hard-hitting document is unequivocal: Israel is in the hands of failed leaders. The leadership's failure during the war was total. The prime minister is not a reasonable statesman who made an acceptable mistake, but the field marshal heading the march of folly. A march that is still not over. The march of folly that Ehud Olmert led to the last war is now making its way, under his leadership, to the next war.
But now there are no more excuses. We cannot hide behind "we are waiting for Winograd." We cannot hide behind "we are afraid of Benjamin Netanyahu." We cannot be evasive and say that Ehud Barak is also not something to write home about. Now it is clear that a man who is endangering the State of Israel is at the head of its government. And when the prime minister responds the way he did to the Winograd report, it is blatantly clear that he is irreparable.
Today is the day the Israeli public needs to correct its own error. The day in which it must have its say, do what the writers did not do, what the economic leaders did not do, what the politicians did not do. It should say: no more. Get rid of this government of folly. Put Israel on a new path.
It is not simple. It is not easy for the blue to stand with the orange. It is not easy for the secular to stand with the religious. It is not easy for those with contradictory points of view to sound a common voice. But the peace camp should know that there will not be peace unless Israel is renewed. The security camp should know that there will be no security unless Israel is renewed.
And under the leadership of a spin government, Israel will not be renewed; it will soon find itself in a real existential crisis. This evening, in Rabin Square, the Israeli public and Israeli democracy are facing their ultimate test. This time the challenge is not terror; it is not Hezbollah. This time the challenge is ensuring that the nation has a worthy government. To ensure that our best will overcome the evil. To restore Israel to itself.
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