Analysis / Good News for the Country

When asked about his socioeconomic views yesterday, Avishay Braverman responded: "Israel needs to follow the socioeconomic model of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair - a social democratic model. On one hand, a clear belief in free competition, attracting investments and growth, but on the other, we cannot accept a state with the highest poverty level in the Western world, with the lowest education level in the Western world, and with such a high level of violence and corruption."

Bill Clinton, the American Democrat, cut the budget and lowered taxes, thereby generating rapid growth and a budget surplus. But Tony Blair is a different story. He is "the third way" between capitalism and socialism. Under his leadership, Britain's health and education budgets grew dramatically.

Therefore, it is unclear exactly what Braverman means. Would he cut the budget, lower income and corporate taxes, privatize and carry out reforms - as Benjamin Netanyahu did? Apparently not. On these issues, he is much closer to Amir Peretz.

Braverman favors increasing the stability of our governmental system: "We need a presidential regime, because it is inconceivable for there to be so many changes of ministers. Every two years the ministers change."

He is for many good things - for technological development, for developing the Negev, for apple pie and motherhood. That, in essence, is the privilege of someone who has not yet gotten his feet wet in politics.

In his view, the greatest economist was the Talmudic sage Hillel the Elder, who said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me" - in other words, he believes in individualism; then added, "If I am only for myself, what am I?" - meaning that he also believes in mutual support; and concluded: "And if not now, when?" - meaning that he believes in action.

The bottom line is that Braverman is a significant addition to Israeli politics. It is good news that a man of such high achievement, with so many alternatives, is willing to roll up his sleeves and enter the mud of politics. Perhaps his entry will encourage other good men to join. And if that happens, he will have already done his bit for Israel's welfare.