Israel's Leaders Lack Both Trust and Respect

In another few years, another person who knows what is going on will be interviewed and will admit mistakes. We got a hint this week from the outgoing head of the Shin Bet security service.

In those days, there was no prime minister in Israel and the defense minister did what he felt was right. For the first time, one of the close aides has admitted his guilt: [Begin aide Yehiel] Kadishai, [former cabinet minister Yaakov] Meridor and I spoke a great deal about it.

It is impossible to act as if there is a prime minister when there is not, said the former military aide, Azriel Nevo, in an interview with Ben Caspit this week. We should have been put on trial for hiding [Menachem] Begins condition and the public didnt know that.

Perhaps I have already recounted how one time another Begin aide came to me, locked the door, and confessed that Begin was ill and not functioning, Arik [Sharon] was going berserk, and the state was in danger. You are the only one who can break the conspiracy of silence, he said.

I did not. Were I to have raised the curtain then the other players would have acted dumb and recited: What do you mean sick and depressed? Thats just a wicked fabrication by someone opposed to the prime minister and his war.

nd the feelings of the public would have gone out to the tortured Begin, who was being forced to wage two wars at once, an internal and an external one. Who would have believed me?

This is the first time that a central insider has described the conspiracy. How Sharon was purposely exhausting and killing Begin, how ministers and officers were dead scared of him, how information was hidden from the prime minister and the government, and how the border of the war was being stealthily expanded. Even 29 years later, I was filled with dread and fury when I read this.

In those days of the shadow of death, I was a member of the Knessets Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. We too were taken for a ride. Arik did not lie, he merely spun misleading cobwebs around us. He left the dirty work of deception to people who were less sophisticated than he was, like Raful [former chief of staff Rafael Eitan], who lied without being aware of it. Nevo also testified to this.

Anyone with eyes in his head could see that they were planning to attack the Syrians despite the official denials. From the way things were presented, it was possible to learn about the plot in advance. I begged our colleagues to run to Begin and warn him, but they were already carried away by the winds of war. How the heroes have fallen, people sob on Memorial Day. This is how they fell, in no-mans land.

Today this couldnt happen, the interviewee consoled himself, as if we were talking about matters that took place many ages ago.

It is true that today it is more difficult to hide a prime minister inside a closet with ghosts or a medicine chest. And the leaders are healthier, younger and wealthier. What do they lack, and what do we lack?

What is lacking is trust and respect. True, the best of the surgeons reported two years ago that there had been a successful operation and that there had been a transformation, but birds of a feather flock together and no change is evident it is the same hedonism, the same covetousness, the same I dont know what they want from me. It is true that they are present but nevertheless they are absentees, they are there and they are not, their head is in other places and so is their heart.

They ride and sing, insolent and off-tune, in the residence of presidents, those disgusting people.

When will they be able to sing about Gilad? After going down to the people during the [Moroccan Jewish] Mimouna festival, they recover from the mofletta [honey-drenched crepes] and look for gourmet. Once again they eat at an expensive restaurant above a fancy casino in the middle of an important state visit. Will he who stops watches and bends teaspoons be the one to bend hostile missiles fired at us and stop them in their tracks? Or perhaps they promised Madam Sara a meeting in London with the magician so that she would not be disappointed and begin shouting?

It is we, not they, who have to change, as Ehud Barak demands of us: Get over your mental blocks, he protests to Gidi Weitz. Get over the feeling that Barak drinks good cognac and smokes a cigar, and he adds a new flavor to the expression, after me! apres moi le deluge.

In another few years, another person who knows what is going on will be interviewed and will admit mistakes. We got a hint this week from the outgoing head of the Shin Bet security service. I have doubts about fateful decisions that are taken in this country, he said as he glanced toward the east. When someone who is party to a secret says doubts, then there is no doubt.