Five Short Notes

The role of a prime minister is not only to 'take decisions.' He has to initiate, push and, above all, make certain the systems below him function. It is not enough to complain in retrospect.

To Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: The worrisome signs were flashing at the first confrontation you managed, at Amona. Your associates heard you criticize the police's functioning during the demolition of houses there. This continued in your stinging comments about intelligence after Hamas won the Palestinian elections.

And now, after the fiasco in Lebanon, the complaints are proportionate to the troubles. In your speech in the Knesset you did "take responsibility," but that was lip service. You believe that your predecessors and your subordinates tripped you up; the former in their flawed preparations for the war and the latter in their implementation.

The real problem lies in your concept of management. A prime minister is not a judge, who is supposed to accept or reject what is proposed to him.

His role is not only to "take decisions." He has to initiate, push and above all, make certain the systems below him function. It is not enough to complain in retrospect.

Even if former prime minister Ariel Sharon is guilty of neglect and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz of false promises, you should have checked them out before you flung the army and the country into a month-long battle.

You see your job as the chairman of the board of the State of Israel. Every director knows lack of knowledge and blind signings of reports do not exempt him from responsibility.

To Hassan Nasrallah: You have succeeded in humiliating the Israel Defense Forces, but what have you achieved? You have given Israel an opportunity to prepare for the next confrontation, and you have seriously hurt your Palestinian brothers.

You have also prolonged the lives of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which were slated for evacuation, and you have convinced the world that the Palestinian problem and the occupation in the territories are not the source of the region's troubles, but rather extreme Islam.

Not to mention your humiliating suggestion to the Arabs of Haifa that they leave their homes while you kill their Jewish neighbors. Are you working for Israeli propaganda?

To Chief of Staff Dan Halutz: Ever since you were thrown into the water at the end of your solo flight, you haven't been through a hazing like this week.

The revelation that you sold your stocks on the day the war broke out has ended your career.

Your explanations are only making things worse. Even without the stocks your responsibility for the army's flaws is absolute, and your superiors will happily pass the buck of the blunders in the war to you.

Go to the demobilization base, and from there take a bus to Kiryat Shmona and volunteer to rehabilitate the town. As a former building contractor you have sufficient experience and knowledge in the field. Just show up for work.

In this way you will save the last shreds of your honor, and the norm that you establish might well also pull Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz in after you.

To Tal Silberstein: The person who in the middle of the war suggested his "victory" campaign to Olmert (though he didn't use this word, only "unprecedented achievements") as a substitute for dealing with the problems on the battlefield and on the home front has only caused his tumble from the heights of victory to the depths of failure to be more resounding.

And the previous campaign about the "daring and cool-headed leader" is also making people wonder now: Was the prime minister's famous serenity appropriate when everything around him was falling apart? A bit of concern and attention could have been more effective.

To Ofer Dekel: The job you were given by your pal Olmert is the hardest in the country - to conduct double negotiations, with Nasrallah and with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, in order to bring the abducted soldiers back home.

Any concession to one will raise the other's price. Give a thousand prisoners to Hamas - and Hezbollah will ask for two thousand. Give a murderer to Hezbollah - and Hamas will demand prisoners "with blood on their hands."

Any deal you close will encounter harsh political criticism. And if, heaven forbid, you should fail, Olmert will pay with his chair and you will again have someone to run with.