A saboteur sits in Israel's Defense Ministry. He operates secretly, compartmentalizes, strikes when you least expect it and damages hapless populations without fear.
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Like a computer virus, he has for 15 years penetrated Israel's left wing, and started to destroy it from the inside. Where is the head of security inside the defense establishment striking fear into people's hearts? Where is the Jewish division of the Shin Bet security service when you need it? Yesterday, he finished his deed.
He officially turned Israel into the only state in the West, not counting the United States, that lacks a Labor party, a Socio-Democrat party or a left wing. All European countries have such parties. Much as the situation irks us, we are now more like the third world ¬ we are a state that has about one and a half parties. Almost all there is in Israel is an ultra-nationalist right, comprised of parties that have various names: Likud, Kadima, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, National Union; yesterday, Atzmaut (Independence) joined them.
One of its main ideologists, Shalom Simhon, defined the part as being between Likud and Kadima. The act of sabotage that Defense Minister Ehud Barak began at the Camp David summit when he was prime minister reached its peak in the Knesset yesterday. All that is left is rubble.
The man who sits in the Defense Ministry is also corrupt and a corrupting influence, and yesterday he brought Israeli politics to a new low.
What will he say to soldiers at swearing-in ceremonies? What will he say to bereaved parents? That they can sell out for a job? While everyone continues to praise his "talents in the security field," we have to ask: What sort of army do we have, if these are its commanders? If this is our moral level at a time of peace ¬ cynical, self-interested, manipulative ¬ what sort of war morality are we expected to have?
More damaging than Foriegn Minister Avigdor Lieberman, more dangerous than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barak yesterday called Avishay Braverman "post-modern," and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer "post-Zionist" ¬ that was the first these two had heard about the labels.
Barak moved the political map further to the right. Smiling and gloating with self-satisfaction, Barak had an "I showed you" look on his face. He pretended to listen to Simhon's ideological prattle, but it was easy to see how much disdain he bears for Simhon and other erstwhile associates; the only person he doesn't loathe is himself.
Events yesterday did not propel masses to the streets; nor did throngs of viewers watch the television news. The fact that social welfare matters will no longer be handled by Isaac Herzog, or that Arab matters will no longer be in Braverman's hands, meant little to the country.
The moves yesterday produced one big collective yawn ¬ politics cause nothing but fatigue and depression. Commentators sounded impress by Barak's "shrewdness;" and, showing typical modesty, he made haste to compare himself to David Ben-Gurion, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres.
For some reason he forgot to mention Moshe Dayan, who bolted parties decades before Barak learned how to do it. Dayan jumped ship in order to make peace with Egypt, and Sharon changed parties in order to pull-out of the Gaza Strip; only President Shimon Peres and Barak left their party for the sole purpose of protecting their jobs.
Labor headquarters stood at 100 Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv until yesterday, when Barak's bulldozer came to plow it away.