They’re Just Not That Into You

Carolina Landsmann
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Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, last year.
Carolina Landsmann

Unlike lawmaker Yariv Levin, I wasn’t “astounded to read the decision about disqualifying former Defense Minister Amir Peretz from serving as Israel Aerospace Industries chairman,” just as I wasn’t astounded this morning when the sun came up.

Not because Amir Peretz isn’t qualified – of course he is, even the Gilor Committee was forced to admit it (Peretz is “fully qualified to serve as the board of directors’ chairman”) – or because he doesn’t deserve the position – he deserves much more. In a dignified country, he would be president today instead of Isaac Herzog, the “son of.” I wasn’t astounded because I know who I’m dealing with.

The explanation for Levin’s astonishment appears in his response: “Amir Peretz isn’t part of the ideological camp I belong to, but nobody can take from him the enormous experience he has accumulated while serving in numerous public positions, including some of the most senior ones.”

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Only someone who isn’t part of Peretz’s “ideological camp” could have been surprised by the shameful decision to disqualify him. Whoever doesn’t see that suffers from selective blindness. Read the Gilor Committee’s conclusions. Learn perhaps the most important lesson in your life: When you’re not wanted, you’re not wanted, regardless of your academic title (“which isn’t in the company’s main area of activity”), the positions you’ve filled (“14 years have passed since he was defense minister ... the world and society have changed since then”) – I swear I’m not making this up – the public work, the seniority. None of them will do you any good when you’re not wanted.

The document’s five pages read like this: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah we don’t want Peretz.” The romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You” teaches women that all the excuses a man gives you are because he’s simply not that into you. This document is the same thing, only for Mizrahi Jews whom the Ashkenazi Jews aren’t into anymore.

For Peretz’s “ideological camp” members there’s nothing more self-evident than his disqualification. It’s merely a “justified ass’ burial,” as Moran Sharir described this week in Haaretz's Hebrew edition.

On paper, it was the Gilor Committee that disqualified him, but Peretz had already been disqualified. This is what they do to a Mizrahi man who allowed himself to behave politically as if he were Ashkenazi. At least Sharir doesn’t hide that this is about settling accounts in the left wing with someone who “smuggled himself and his vassal Itzik Shmuli into the government.” Sharir had supported Benny Gantz’s sitting in a government with Benjamin Netanyahu because unlike Peretz the smuggler, clean Gantz “did what he thought was right.” Not like Peretz, who “simply jumped into the coalition blithely.”

And as for Levin and his assertion that “nobody can take from him his enormous experience” – Levin, what naïveté. With the bat of an eye they took everything from him and reduced him to a Moroccan joke without a mustache. That is perhaps the only thing Peretz’s “ideological camp” excels in. And to think that anyone who today dares criticize Labor and Meretz’s strategic choice to sit in the most radical, rightist government in Israel’s history is denounced as a purist. By whom? The people who only two days ago tarred and feathered those who entered the government in the midst of a pandemic and stopped a host of rightist moves with their bodies. Those very moves are today accepted as a necessary price for the coalition’s integrity.

Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Tzipi Livni is the transportation and finance ministers’ favorite candidate to chair the government company NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System. Like Peretz, Livni isn’t a member of the directors’ team, and her appointment also requires the committee’s approval. In view of Peretz’s experience as defense minister, and as father of the Iron Dome (try to imagine the hell that would have broken loose here and in Gaza without it, you bunch of pathological ingrates), it’s obvious that his affiliation to Aerospace Industries is stronger than Livni’s to trains. Now honestly, is it conceivable that the Gilor Committee won’t approve Livni’s appointment?

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