Appointment of Israel's New Police Chief by Casualty Count Sets Bad Precedent

Once, when someone begged then-IDF Chief of Staff Haim Laskov to appoint someone else to a senior position because 'he’s a good guy,' Laskov countered, 'then let him marry your sister.'

Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus
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Gal Hirsch outside his house in Rosh Ha'ayin, August 2015.
Gal Hirsch outside his house in Rosh Ha'ayin, August 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus

1. “There is no stain on my reputation,” said Gal Hirsch to the Terkel Commission, adding, “I want the commissioner job, and I’m sure I’ll succeed.” But in actuality, it’s unsure. Clearly he has many friends, and they’ve all thrown their support behind him. We repeatedly see images of the same old woman kissing him on television, again and again. It’s heartwarming, but it doesn’t counterbalance the bereaved parents who have come out against him. We’re in serious trouble, though, if appointments are ultimately determined by the number of casualties under the prospective candidate during his military service. By that standard, there’s no way Ben Gurion could have been elected prime minister, given the number of casualties during the War of Independence.

Everyone has something to say about Gal Hirsch, but no one has examined the man properly. Let’s assume he’s talented and there’s nothing from his past that calls his integrity into question. The mistake is that they took a guy who has never done administrative work at the head of a complex system. Once, when someone begged then-IDF Chief of Staff Haim Laskov to appoint someone else to a senior position because “he’s a good guy,” Laskov countered, “then let him marry your sister.” You want Hirsch as commissioner? Don’t make him the hero of the generation. Let him start a rank or two below the top and work his way up, if he can.

2. The 84-meter-long INS Dakar submarine was built in 1942 and deployed by the British Navy at the tail-end of World War II. It was refurbished and sold to Israel in 1968. En route to Israel later that year, it anchored off the coast of France. My friend Eren Shorer (son of Haim Shorer, who edited Davar newspaper,) served on the submarine as a military journalist and visited me in Paris, where I was stationed as a Haaretz correspondent. He told me horror stories about the cramped quarters on the submarine. “You can’t use the bathroom without having to move about a dozen levers.” He was considering not returning to Israel on the submarine, and he looked so unhappy that urged him not to go. He heeded my advice, and remained alive. A miracle from heaven, he told me, when he thanked me for the suggestion. Afterwards, he wrote a book or two about the Dakar’s journeys, before passing away three years ago from cancer. Apparently someone up there decided that no one would survive the Dakar’s final trip.

3. In Hebrew, we often use the expression, “he ate the stinking fish and was also expelled from the city.” Now, it seems that Congress, despite Bibi’s efforts, is going to approve the Iran nuclear deal. It’s likely that Obama won’t even have to veto a Congressional decision to cancel it. We’re going to have a tough time dealing with the bad blood sure to remain between Israel and the Obama administration. Pay attention to what’s happening all around us: Egypt has suddenly called for nuclear supervision on Israel. Who can guarantee that this won’t be the next Arab condition for a peace agreement? Yes, my friends, that’s right, think before you act. It’s a shame our government doesn’t work that way.

4. Stupidity knows no bounds. While we argue among ourselves over our own natural gas stores — who gets what, how much, and when — Egypt has discovered a gas field that will not only cover its own needs, but will likely have us buying gas from them sometime down the road. Egypt surely has cause for celebration. Under the leadership of al-Sissi, Egypt has surprised us by expanding the Suez Canal, quietly, effectively and without stopping traffic in Cairo and the surrounding area. Perhaps the time has come for a second peace accord with Egypt, under which they’d build the Tel Aviv light rail for us?

5. In the war over the books that are being published, or will be in the future, Ehud Barak accuses Bibi of commandeering the ceremony for Gilad Shalit’s return and making sure that he appeared alone in the press photographs, even though it was Barak who influenced Bibi to secure the soldier's release. Bibi says Barak is manipulative and a coward. Barak responds that Bibi is weak and fearful. It’s unclear if the two of them can save the country, but they’re both correct. Steimatzky will definitely have what to put on sale.

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