Barak, Once Again, Has Magically Evaded Culpability

The Defense Minister says that everything he did was legal, but that does not mean that it was okay.

Once again, it's not a criminal matter. For the nth time, it just stinks. And, as the Hebrew saying goes, there's no point arguing about taste or smell.

In any case, all that Defense Minister Ehud Barak can sniff is the scent of cigars and whiskey. But wait a second, who exactly should we be talking about: The Ehud Barak we know, or the mysterious international consulting firm Ehud Barak Ltd.?

Ehud Barak - Nir Keidar - May 2011.
Nir Keidar

The state comptroller criticized Barak for waiting until three days before he joined the cabinet, in June 2007, to transfer ownership of the company to his daughters.

It's also not entirely clear what the difference is between Barak's three daughters and Avigdor Lieberman's daughter, Michal, who has been questioned by police over a consulting company registered in her name but suspected of being a front for her father's business.

From the moment Barak left politics he began making money, and he kept going for as long as he could. He didn't waste valuable time, since time is, of course, money. The comptroller says Barak's conduct was unfortunate, but that has long ceased to translate into disgrace.

But this isn't really news anyway. We already know that Barak has his cravings and his pride, that he's a showoff and a hedonist. But he says everything he did was legal, and anything that's not expressly prohibited must be okay.

He's like the tycoons he wants to emulate, who seek and find tax shelters the world over - but it's all legal. Thus do they subtract from the state's coffers, even if they make a few donations.

All the same, it's good his career hasn't been halted in the middle. Yes, he is a pleasure seeker, but he's also a defense minister like no other. With him in charge we can sleep well at night and wake up with no worries. So far, at least, he has demonstrated the magic touch of the pianist he is; every note signaled a general's victory.

This is the man who rehabilitated the Israel Defense Forces from the wreckage left by his predecessor, built it up from top to bottom. That will work out well for him the next time he is put to the test, and that means it will work out well for us too. After all, his success is our success, as they say. And if the maritime convoy to the Gaza Strip and the terrestrial fence on the Golan Heights can be summed up as having had poor results, what can we do but hope for the best? Next time the fence will be blocked, the minefield will stop them in their paths and the guards will rush to the breach before the infiltrators get there.

And if war breaks out in the meantime - let's hope it's not another unnecessary war like Operation Cast Lead - what will happen then? We'll have no choice but to pray as well as hope.