A Guide for the Novice MK

This was the week of Kadima's Knesset list, which boasted several women, several Russian immigrants, one Ethiopian, academics, security men and friends of the leader. But there was no room for an Arab candidate.

The list reminds me of one of Israel Aharoni's Chinese recipes - how much duck goes in a casserole and how much honey, ginger and soy sauce to add. Why a Chinese recipe? Because only in dictatorial China are candidates' lists still cooked in a similar way.

Gabi Gazit, in his frenetic talk show on Israel Radio, drew my attention to a small item in Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv: "Kadima has found an original way to prepare its inexperienced candidates to the complicated life in politics: a study day in which they would receive their first lesson in politics."

One of the teachers is Tzachi Hanegbi, and it would be hard to find anyone more suitable to give novice politicians a lesson than Hanegbi, who barely escaped indictment for his role in the Derekh Tzleha ("safe journey") affair. May they learn from him and have a safe journey.

Still, one cannot help but wonder why Kadima did not enlist all the superb personnel at its disposal for such an important mission. Why wasn't Shimon Peres, who has always been in the Knesset and always will be, asked to lecture on "politics for eternity" or "eternal politics?"

Or Ehud Olmert himself could lecture on "how a nobody can become prime minister overnight" - a most fascinating subject, especially for candidates in the bottom places, to help them keep their hopes up.

Since the senior members of the bunch were not invited, I feel obliged to fill in for them. Few are capable of competing with the seniority and experience I have accumulated over 32 years of working in the Knesset. May I present, then, the complete guide for the novice politician.

First recommendation: Knesset members must not excel. They must know from the start that their investment in parliamentary work has nothing to do with their political career. The Israeli public did not send them to the Knesset and they are not accountable to it. The party's central committee, convention, leadership and chairman sent them, and they are the only ones to please. Whoever wants to live long in politics should sit with the members of his party's electoral committee, dine with them and spend time with them and their families.

Second recommendation: It is strictly forbidden to see the future. Therefore it is recommended to walk in the dark, err and deceive, zigzag, babble and then suddenly see the light. Once the cataract is removed, all will applaud the politician who returns from the cold.

Third recommendation: He must not be right often, or his career is doomed. If he is, people will be angry with him for his doomsday prophecies and angrier when they come true. Had he not told them, the skies would have been blue and remained blue.

Fourth recommendation: On no account must a politician speak fluent Hebrew. He must mangle and castrate and flatten it. Good Hebrew is seen as arrogance and "talking above people's heads."

Fifth recommendation: It is extremely important to be involved in a corruption affair. Whoever is not acquitted for lack of evidence will not go far. And if you don't have a skeleton in your closet, forget about becoming prime minister.

This is the guide for the beginner politician, all copyrights reserved. Attached is Aharoni's guide to duck recipes. After the elections, when we see how Kadima talks, walks and quacks, we will find out just what kind of political duck this is.