Political Animal / Fresh Out of Sorrow

Be merciful unto us and unto yourselves: Cease the sorrow that you express on your behalf and ours every time civilians are killed in your bombings and assassinations.

Be merciful unto us and unto yourselves: Cease the sorrow that you express on your behalf and ours every time civilians are killed in your bombings and assassinations; during the past month the specialization has been in children in particular. Sorrow, too, has the quality of being wasted and already at the start of the summer you have been very profligate. The earth has seen this. Your sorrow has run out and now you are using substitutes.

For us, it is easier to live with the "slight tremor in the plane's wing" and the "sleeping well at night" of our pilot-cum-chief of staff than with your always-tortured faces and your comments, like "We didn't mean to" and "The Israel Defense Forces is the most moral army in the world."

It is easier for us to accept the songs of the contemptible Zimri than it is for us to accept the songs of the exalted Phineas, who slays Zimri in Chapter 25 of the Book of Numbers, and kills and wails, wails and kills - and then demands the rewards of the righteous.

Conspiracy of silence

My weaning from politics has gone well thus far. Ever since I resigned and ever since the 17th Knesset was formed, I haven't had delirium tremens even once; I have not even been overcome by longing. It seems so far away to me, the Knesset, and not really all that interesting.

And all of of a sudden, last week, I was gripped by a single moment of regret - too bad I wasn't there. The plenum convened for a special session to hear the remarks of Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who came for an official visit to Israel.

The president, who delivered his speech in his own language, said only correct things about the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about the increasingly closer cooperation between Turkey and Israel. He then ended his remarks with a condemnation of anti-Semitism "and all the kinds of racism that are crimes against humanity." And as befits a speech in the parliament of the Jewish people, he did not forget to mention the Holocaust and the six million who fell victim to the greatest crime of all.

How interests coincide: President Sezer forgot to relate even indirectly to the Armenian genocide, which Turkey has been denying and shrugging off for the past 91 years - and our own Knesset members also zealously maintain the monopoly on the Holocaust and therefore find it best to ignore other people's disasters. And thus a mutual conspiracy of silence developed in the plenum hall, in the world, and the words of the visiting president were met with complete satisfaction. Needless to say, no one who entered the Knesset bothered to mention the importance of the principle of every-nation-bearing-its-sins - whether the Turkish nation or us.

There is no need for vulgar comparisons between the Jews' Holocaust and other cases of genocide. Even the Armenians themselves acknowledge the satanic uniqueness of the Final Solution, and they make no demands for "equality." However, they do have a justified demand for recognition of the terrible pogrom that was visited upon them, for which someone must take responsibility. Recognition by the Jewish people is of special importance to them, which is completely understandable. Israel, for its part, insists on continuing its policy of consistent denial, yet it is the last country in the world that is entitled to pursue such a policy; it does unto others what it would not have others do unto it. And it will yet pay for this in hard currency.

The PM's daughter

Dana Olmert - "the daughter of" - is a big girl already, who has known her own mind for quite a while and her right/duty to express it. My personal acquaintance with her is slight, but I know that she is a senior editor at an important publishing house. She developed her worldview well before her father was elected prime minister, and she apparently has no intention of relinquishing it. Nor need she: Although the deeds of the father are visited upon the sons and daughters, they only visit and no more.

The issue Dana has raised, by participating in a left-wing demonstration earlier this week, is far more interesting and significant than is commonly thought. It prompts me, personally, to reveal a secret that politicians do not usually volunteer to tell: More than they influence their children, their children influence them - this is the secret (and even for politicians, "children" remain children at all ages). The common recommendation is cherchez la femme, but this needs amending: Do look for the wife, but mainly the daughters and sons. If we pause a moment over the significance of the position of Politician X and its shifts, it is recommended to look for the footsteps: In most cases they will lead home, to the family. Even politicians are sometimes human beings and their children are their flesh and blood, and they are their reliable and durable connection to the outside world.

I had no doubt that the late Ezer Weizman, for example, changed his view of the world in light of the fatal wounding of his son Shaul during the War of Attrition, from which he never really recovered. In the shadow of death, Ezer looked at life differently.

And such things do not just happen here: U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney is one of the politicians I most despise because of his aggressive conservatism, which is leading America and the international community into infernal realms. And yet he of all people evinces a tender and considerate attitude toward single-sex couples, their status and their rights - all because his daughter is a lesbian.

I myself have more than once obeyed my children, and they have not always known how to appreciate their influence or did not want to take advantage of it. I had principled reasons of my own to object to refusal to serve in the IDF, for instance, but if in moments of weakness and distress I wavered, it was my two sons and my daughter who dispelled my doubts: I am entitled, of course, to support refusal, but without them; they are not accompanying me and from here on in, I will march alone. And if they, who more than anyone else believe in my integrity, diverge from my path, then for whom exactly am I fighting and for whom am I laboring? Dana Olmert is not an oddity. Without meddling in the domestic affairs of another family, I am absolutely certain that she has an influence on her father's way - covert and considerable.

Although in the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth it was written that "the daughter is stabbing her father in the back," no less, I think that Dana is the best thing that has happened to Olmert since his election. True, she has fallen far from the tree, but the tree is Olmert and forevermore shall be. No one can be so terrible if a daughter like Dana is his daughter.