If the train leaves on time and if arrangements can be made for the kids, it's possible there will be a summit meeting this summer after all. A mini-summit, local and unpretentious. One of the participants, a 37-year-old teacher, will take the train from Hadera to Nahariya to observe the mitzvah of visiting the sick - in this case the old lady's daughter, who is herself getting on in years and has been hospitalized. And so, Riki Cohen of Hadera and the Old Lady of the Nahariya Hospital shall hold a conference in the corridor.
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Let there be no mistake: One old lady enters and one passes on, and the bed in the hospital hallway goes on forever. The two will discuss matters of health and welfare, wages and housing. Riki will show some optimism. It will be different this time, she will say, as the finance minister himself promised: "It will work because instead of handing out money to those closest to the feeding trough, we will focus on the working man and the need to improve his life." And both women will hope for "the dawn of a new day," this time over "the new politics."
This is not something invented by Finance Minister Yair Lapid. Politicians often display a tendency to babble themselves to death. Lapid does so more than many others, including even his immediate predecessor, Yuval Steinitz. In his Facebook posts, Knesset caucus meetings and media interviews, he sounds more like the tabloid newspaper columnist he used to be than the country's finance minister. If he didn't write and speak so much, perhaps he would err less often and save himself a lot of embarrassment.
Appearing on Channel 10 news show "London and Kirshenbaum," he explained that the huge budget deficit was "structural," and that tax hikes solved the problem. In the preamble to the budget bill, he wrote, "We are balancing the budget," presumably referring to a reordering of priorities. But balancing the budget? In an Army Radio interview he shamed a sharp-eared listener: "A lot of people came up to me and asked who the next governor of the Bank of Israel will be," Lapid related in the context of Jacob Frenkel's appointment, adding, "I answered them: 'I'll tell you after you tell me what the governor does.' You know what they said to that? Nothing! Because no one really knows what the governor does!"
What a compliment to BoI governors through the ages! What timing! Stanley Fischer, the outgoing governor of the central bank, has been out dancing for eight years? And former BoI governor Frenkel was given a second chance because no one knew what he did the first time around? The listener - who knows a thing or two about the governor's duties - could barely believe her ears, but she understood: Lapid's "no one knows" referred to the finance minister's "brother slaves" and ignoramuses, and the injury to the standing of the Bank of Israel governor was just collateral damage.
In the "new politics," the proverbial Masuda from Sderot and the old lady from Nahariya have been replaced by Riki Cohen from Hadera, the "screwed-over" and the "slaves." In the "new politics," the minister's son waits in the treasury conference room to have lunch with his father, and goes out to speak with demonstrators outside the family's residence in Tel Aviv. The "new politics" happens on Facebook, or not at all. The old politics was haughtiness; the new politics, arrogance.
Last week Aluf Benn wrote ("Someone to save Lapid from himself," July 1 ): "Lapid's imbroglios show that he doesn't have aides who can protect him from himself," and suggested the finance minister upgrade his staff. Would that be sufficient?
"The economy cannot be considered a success story if nobody pays for the failures." Who wrote that slam-dunk sentence? Hint: It's not from "The Communist Manifesto." It's from a different manifesto, the slapdash manifesto ("Israel's slave rebellion," Yair Lapid, Yedioth Ahronoth, July 2011 ). "Did anyone pay for the train that never arrived? For the death of the old lady who nobody removed from the hallway at the hospital?" Lapid asked back then, and answered himself: "Of course not, because slaves don't die; they are merely replaced by other slaves."
Let's raise a glass of tax-hiked arak and toast the new slaves of the new politics.