Autumn Leaves

Even Peres, who is one of the largest leaves, is not a leaf that can cover everything. That status has been reserved for someone else - the former president of the Supreme Court.

The first signs of fall are here, and even the fig tree will soon shed its leaves. Fig leaves have from time immemorial had an important task - to hide shame and genitalia. The more ashamed we feel, the greater our need to cover up.

Which of us has never accepted the task of being a fig leaf? I have done so, unfortunately. I was sure I would save the country. But not only did I not save it, I'm afraid that I betrayed my mission.

Yet who am I, a faded leaf, in comparison with much larger leaves, which are able to cover the nakedness of an entire nation? Our president is a good example of this kind of leaf.

Shimon Peres will always serve as a character witness for any prime minister; he will always vouch for their honesty. A while back, he spread Ariel Sharon's vision of peace throughout the world, and then that of Ehud Olmert, and now he is doing the same for Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres knows something about them that no one else knows, that even they themselves do not know: No seeker of peace can be compared to these, who have made up their minds to go down in history as peacemakers, and Netanyahu is the greatest of them all.

But even Peres, who is one of the largest leaves, is not a leaf that can cover everything. That status has been reserved for someone else - the former president of the Supreme Court. What did they not say about Aharon Barak in his day? Who did not affix a crown of thorns to his head? They maligned him for his "judicial activism," for having said that "everything is justiciable," for his "constitutional revolution" and for his intervention in matters that were none of his business, especially security affairs. Who did not sentence him to the stocks?

But now that the Goldstone report has been published, they are making all necessary arrangements to release him, to pick or tear him off the fig tree to serve as a leaf, and to place him at the head of the struggle against Goldstone and his commission. There can be no more welcome initiative than this. After all, the occupation has been alive and kicking and growing fat for 42 years under the auspices of the Israeli legal system. The world respected Barak and his rulings; even Goldstone respected them.

So what was so bad about the days when we were judged by the judges, when Barak sat in judgment and judged the nation? And why did people breathe a sigh of relief here when they were finally rid of his punishment, which was in fact a reward? And how did we imagine we would manage without him, when there is only the other Barak left to cleanse us of the vermin? And he merely leafs through the pages - so as not say, sneers at the job.

I have a relative who is a justice on the Supreme Court of an important and friendly nation. He visited Israel this month and we met, as we usually do. He, too, is one of those who admire Barak - Aharon Barak. "You don't have a clue," he said, "what a bargain you have lost, and what damage you do to yourselves abroad when you weaken the courts from inside." In other words - my words - those who did not want the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem will get the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

A few months ago, I was approached by the Foreign Ministry, which asked whether I would be prepared to go to Egypt for a meeting with intellectuals. I thought about it and turned the offer down. I do not want to tell it in Gath, but I also have no interest in serving as a certificate of legitimacy in Cairo.

When I was young, I moved to the left, and I more than once saw the left with its backside exposed, wetting itself and crying like a baby. But I never once heard it asking the right to diaper it.