Political Animal / Double Trouble

Another war, which will restore their lost honor to them, is inconceivable. Who will go to war in the knowledge that two infantile individuals played with matches and burned the house down around us?

1. Madhouse

Defense Minister Amir Peretz has to go home. This is clear. But why does Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - who appointed Peretz as defense minister and cooked up the stew together with him - have to stay? This is not clear. Olmert and Peretz are both suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. How else can their behavior be explained? The occupational therapy since the war has not helped, the ambulatory treatment has been to no avail and far more aggressive clinical procedures are needed.

Neither of them has taken responsibility for their failures and it is now evident that they are not responsible for their actions. Our handiwork is sinking in the northern and southern seas and they are squabbling. They are simply not normal people, and the country under their leadership is one big madhouse. Another war, which will restore their lost honor to them, is inconceivable. Who will go to war in the knowledge that two infantile individuals played with matches and burned the house down around us?

2. The average Israeli

I know that there is no such creature who can be defined as the "average Israeli"; there are no average people. But for our purposes and against our will, we shall create him, because I have something to say about him: He is a weakling, human dust. The average Israeli does not really care what is done to him. Though he complains and whines, he does not defend himself. Sometimes it seems that from so many troubles and travails his immune mechanisms have collapsed and he is vulnerable to any wildness that may be out there. The average Israeli has in effect relinquished his right to self-defense, and anyone is entitled to endanger and harass him. True, he is nobody's patsy - because he is everybody's patsy.

In every proper country and even improper country, people stand up for themselves, for what they are entitled to as citizens and as human beings. Not here. Millions of Israelis are now discovering how an entire country, their country, has been heisted from under their noses by a duo of failed politicians, and nevertheless they are not lifting a finger.

In the demonstrations after the war, few participated; the government counted them and did not take them into account. Nor has anyone taken to the street to amplify the outcry of Sderot, which is as distant from the heart as though it were 1,000 kilometers away from the eye. The average Israeli is behaving as though a Katyusha has landed next to him, a Qassam has landed next to him, and he is in shock.

Look, the banks are robbing us with their fees and their executives' salaries, and if "robbing" sounds like something too crude, then let us be content with "picking our pockets." It is much easier to catch an Israeli by his pocket than it is to catch him in his anger, and even the pocket is silent. Had people here organized and settled their accounts with the banks, the hedonistic arrogance of Hapoalim and Leumi and Discount would have vanished, and the smiles on the bankers' fat faces would have been erased. But the average Israeli is not really upset when he is screwed.

And now there is this stench coming from Aroma. Too few people have held their noses and hurried away from the open sewer and sworn never to return to cesspits. The weekend demonstrations were meager and the owners of the coffee-shop chain were led to understand that the consumer boycott would not affect them. Business people develop acute senses, and they have already understood.

Okay, so deposing a prime minister and a defense minister and a chief of staff isn't easy; it's even hard. Leaving one bank and transferring to another bank isn't hard, though maybe it is a bit complicated. But for heaven's sake: Crossing the street and moving to the cafe across the way is the easiest and most correct thing in the world! And if a consumer boycott succeeds only once, perhaps there won't even be any need for a second time.

3. The ambassador

That night the ambassador couldn't fall asleep. And in the morning clouds piled up and thickened on the horizon and boded ill. Thus far his actions have been requited. Every time the tidal waves had gathered and threatened to break on the shores of his homeland, he succeeded in repelling them on time and very skillfully. And all of a sudden, the world is returning to its wicked ways, to the dark days of Zionism-is-racism, to the era of the automatic majority of all the haters of Israel; once again the whole world is against us.

Surprisingly, from within all the anger and the hard work, there came a pleasant rush of adrenaline: This is his big opportunity. For a long time now the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations has not had to appear in public and rebuke the whole hypocritical world. It had been his misfortune that just during his tenure the UN smiled graciously upon his client from time to time.

It was but four months ago that the UN enabled Israel to climb down from the high cedars of Lebanon. Six years ago it enabled Israel to withdraw from Lebanon, and to demarcate the border without relinquishing the treasures of Shaba; also, a fact-finding team that was sent to check the destruction in Jenin didn't find any massacre there. Who would have believed that this was the same old UN that David Ben-Gurion dismissed as "oom-schmoom"?

Perhaps the ambassador was even envious of some of his predecessors, who told the evil world what they thought of it, tearing wicked resolutions to shreds from the podium and stalking out of the hall with a slam of the door that resounded from one end of the world to the other. And only poor Danny Gillerman had to make do with routine speeches that no doubt bored even him. And now, at long last, he must shake himself out like a lion and put his soul in the line of fire, to fire back with redoubled force at all those who would shoot us down.

There is no doubt: Our ambassador gave a particularly successful performance, which even if it did not influence the resolutions, certainly left a strong impression, mainly in Israel. Here they still know how to appreciate acts of heroism: A lone Jew stands in foreign parts, no one will frighten him, and he is defending us bodily against those who rise up to condemn us.

On second thought, it is not entirely clear what all the fuss is about. True, the UN General Assembly resolution isn't a paragon of balance, but the situation on the ground isn't balanced either. More restraint and responsibility are to be expected of a state than of lawless organizations in a land of chaos. Nevertheless, the UN called upon the Palestinians to cease their acts of violence against Israel immediately, and condemned the firing of rockets at Israeli locales. And it is no small thing when all the Arab states, even they, disassociate themselves from Qassam launchers.

The "fact-finding mission" is the bone that Israel refuses to swallow, and our wounded ambassador has already recommended that we not cooperate with it - whereas I believe that everything that happened at Beit Hanun is open and known and there is nothing to hide, unless they find cluster bombs there. The infuriatingly one-sided UN, which is now establishing a tribunal to try Rafik Hariri's assassins, much to Syria's displeasure, will not establish a similar tribunal to try the flatulent shooting from Beit Hanun, much to Israel's displeasure. Syria, too, is among those who have negative things to say about the UN, and its ambassador, too, is strenuously protesting a shocking injustice. And with Israel waiting for sanctions against Iran, perhaps it would be better if its ambassador appears in a less threatening-Iranian style.

Accusing the countries of the European Union of collaborating with terror really is a bit too much. Why, it was just now that the government begged that soldiers from France, Italy and Spain would be the ones to protect us from harm at the hands of the wicked Hezbollah. The fiery words are giving rise to the suspicion that Gillerman is looking ahead to Kadima and he no longer cares about leaving behind burned bridges and scorched earth.