The Israeli De Gaulle Has Been Found

Only one person is innocent of everything, free of all blame for the tragic fiasco that put a spoke in the wheel of peace and sent the left down to the torments of hell.

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Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak.Credit: Bloomberg

It arrived at my house in an envelope. Was it a letter bomb? No, it was a stink bomb.

The stench rose from the very first paragraph. Two crazy disciples had decided to bring him back into our lives: “He’s always cool and calculating ... He always demonstrates a far-reaching security vision and diplomatic daring ... Neither his fans nor his critics rule out the possibility that he’ll return, like De Gaulle in France.”

You guessed it: Ehud Barak is the Israeli De Gaulle. Now, from this moment, you can start looking for the trashcan of history.

We already know the main points: How Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Ya’alon “melted” during the debate over attacking Iran, and how Tzachi Hanegbi received instructions on how to get rid of Ehud Olmert. Nevertheless, I made time to read those sections in which a man finds himself. Only thus can an interested party judge the credibility of the paper, which absorbs everything.

Two journalists get together and agree to write an authorized biography. What’s the point of writing what the subject has authorized? What’s the point of reading it? Nu, that’s already an issue of taste, and that’s their taste.

But don’t confuse them with the facts; consequently, they won’t ask the people concerned for a response. And the man who ate up Barak’s government and drank up his peace — him, above all, they won’t ask. And that person is me.

He also had a belly full of Haaretz, for having depicted him as “responsible for the failure” of the Israeli-Palestinian talks at Camp David in 2000. And, in general, there’s nobody here in Israel or abroad who hasn’t risen up at some point to topple him; only one person is innocent of everything, free of all blame for the tragic fiasco that put a spoke in the wheel of peace and sent the left down to the torments of hell.

Barak has never given any accounting, to himself or to us, of how it happened that finally, after all “the wars of his life,” he remained alone with nobody but Yoni Koren and Weizman Shiri. He’s the one who raised and exalted them all, and they all sinned against him.

Once again we get the story of the education minister and his deputy from Shas, and of “the prime minister who tried again and again to talk with the rebellious minister, to explain to him that he should leave Meshulam Nahari alone and give him room to breathe.” I’m sick of having to set the facts straight for the umpteenth time: It wasn’t Meshulam but bribery that was the issue back then. The Shas school system demanded 100 million shekels ($25 million) that it didn’t deserve, and which would only have deepened the rotten hole into which our ancient crown has fallen; and from me, people get only what they deserve.

I hadn’t remembered, but the book reminded me: “Another minister, Fuad Ben-Eliezer, also tried to get Yossi Sarid down from the tree, but gave up. He summed up his vain attempt: ‘It’s inconceivable that one man should hold up the entire government like this.’”

Indeed, tell me who your envoys in crime are, and I’ll tell you who you are. It’s true, I “held them up,” because I didn’t want to be like them. There’s not a single decision I’ve made in the wars of my own life of which I’m prouder, to this very day. My lot is not with them, the corrupt ones, and it never was.

And another correction, for the historical record, because they are once again purveying a lie: “Of all the participants” at the Israeli-Palestinian talks in Taba in 2001, “it was actually Yossi Sarid who returned the most sobered up: ‘They also want my house in Sheikh Munis,’ he told me when he came back.” My lips never uttered that sentence, and not only because I never lived in that destroyed Arab neighborhood.

And this is how the book ends: “The dawn of a new day” once again peeps over the horizon. “In Barak’s circle, people are talking about a possible constellation in which the three leaders of the center — [Isaac] Herzog, [Yair] Lapid and [Moshe] Kahlon — would unite and reach a joint conclusion that only a well-known defense figure has any chance of beating Netanyahu. And then, the call will come to him, and he will answer it willingly.”

He was always a man of riddles: Is he a degraded De Gaulle, or completely crazy? Where does he live, this strange man, and what does he dream of?

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