Israel Is a Powder Keg Waiting for a Match

In what sort of democracy does the army need to guard the citizenry from the minister that oversees it?

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (center) shakes hands with the IDF's top generals at military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.
Moti Milrod

All that’s needed is a match. Everything else is ready. The feelings of frustration, despair and helplessness are all in place. All that’s missing is the match to ignite them. A match, not a leader. We’re weary of leaders.

Leaders such as the one we have cannot be trusted. You can’t trust the government and you can’t trust someone who says, for the hundredth time, that he’s “not ruling out” joining somebody who doesn’t want him. You can’t trust the government that he’s dying to join. You can’t trust it because it doesn’t trust itself. Its defense minister doesn’t trust the prime minister. The education minister doesn’t trust the defense minister. And the prime minister doesn’t trust either of them.

I believe every word that they say about each other. It’s not just “politicians’ talk.” When they need something from someone they are very good at buttering him up. When they don’t need anything, they say what they really think about him. When Lieberman says that Bibi is a liar and a scoundrel, he knows what he’s talking about. When Bibi says that Lieberman is an opportunist, he’s speaking from experience. When the prime minister calls his education minister an Internet talk-backer, he should be believed.

So they sit there in the government – a scoundrel, an opportunist and a talk-backer – and we put our lives in their hands. Now go send your kids to the school system run by the talk-backer, to the army led by the opportunist and to live under a government run by a scoundrel.

We’re fed up with leaders who time and again lead us into an abyss while they carry on indulging themselves with lavish perks. And waiting to pounce on all this dejection is Lapid. He’s fueled by our dejection. He hovers over it like a vulture over a carcass. Fed up with your leaders? Then take me, he says.

At least he doesn’t pretend to be a leader. The last thing you could say about him is that he is a leader. Just let him be led. He’s open to every idea, ready to listen to every position. He’s not too picky. You can program him yourself. He’ll say just what you want to hear and won’t call anyone names, even if they call him an ignoramus and an idiot.

And can those who think Lapid is an ignoramus and an idiot be trusted? How can you trust someone who, in the midst of all his talk, takes his hand off the steering wheel and tries to jab the guy sitting next to him? The three of them are riding along in the speeding jeep, pinching and punching one another, pulling each other’s hair.

Kahlon curls up in the corner and smiles awkwardly like a 12-year-old whose parents are fighting in front of him. Is anyone keeping an eye on the steering wheel? Kahlon? You can’t even rely on Roni Daniel anymore. First he’s ready to send his kids out of the country and then he remembers to assure us that the army won’t let any lunatic press the button that will send us all to kingdom come.

Thanks so much for that, really. But in what sort of democracy does the army need to guard the citizenry from the minister that oversees it? In what sort of democracy do teachers need to safeguard education from their education minister? And in what sort of democracy does the government operate in such a dense fog of hidden motives, boundless greed and personal interests?

Maybe the government does operate with decency and professionalism sometimes. Or maybe not. Go trust a government that consists of a scoundrel, an opportunist and a talk-backer. Who knows what’s really behind whatever they’re cooking up? Who knows why Miri Regev wants to change the Book Law right now, and why Gilad Erdan wants to take oversight out of the hands of the prisons right now, and why Ayelet Shaked is always fighting the Supreme Court.

You ask yourself: What motivates these people – Ideology? Stupidity? Corruption? You say to yourself: What a bunch we’ve got here! I wouldn’t be shocked if I read tomorrow that they received cash bribes, or a steep discount on an apartment or a free plane ticket, or that they don’t even have a credit card because no one dares give them a bill for anything.

We watch and we’re disgusted. We listen and we’re frustrated. Disgust, frustration and helplessness are flammable material. All that’s needed is a match. A match that will ignite hearts and set the anger and frustration alight. What’s needed is someone – an ordinary person, definitely not a politician – who will set up a tent in Rabin Square and say – I’m not budging until they all go. Someone who wants to give real expression to the pain and not just to get himself in the history books. Someone who won’t look over his shoulder and count how many supporters he has.

The government may not fall because of him, but he’ll certainly have tons of curses and threats hurled at him. Because of him, perhaps the circle that is closing in on us will be broken, the circle of Facebook posts and articles like this one that keep saying how fed up and helpless we all feel. Where are Motti Ashkenazi and Daphni Leef?