Ramon's Career / Kiss of Death

Yesterday planted the kiss of death on Ramon's career.

It died suddenly, not from old age, but in agony. Shame! It had been a very promising career, though always with more promise than delivery. And yet, if there was a biography of Haim Ramon, it might be called "The Rise and Rise of...", even though his career had its downs, too, like any long-distance run.

I've known Haim Ramon for more than 30 years, and I like him. I've known him since his early days in Mapai's Young Guard. Some people moved on from the Young Guard, but the Young Guard never left them - they remained gullible kids, God love them. But Ramon really moved on, matured and developed. He was highly regarded, and with good reason.

At times he even appeared to have the leader's baton in his backpack. Only in recent years the baton seems to have dulled and the backpack become worn. Ramon's joining Kadima as the sidekick of Olmert and Peres signaled a surrender, a reconciling himself to a destiny that had veered from the high road onto the margins. After all, Ramon the wunderkind is no longer a child. The promise on the horizon moved further away the closer he seemed to get to it.

Israeli politics lost out yesterday. There is no doubt about that, and we may only hope to benefit in some other way. The court had its say, and this lesson will be learned and internalized. This time, the lesson is very painful. Well, it's been said, spare the rod and spoil the child

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the picture is silent, or what it is saying isn't clear. At least, that is how the photograph of the minister being friendly with the young female officer impressed the court. Judges are supposed to see the whole picture, and to see into people's eyes and hearts, though even judges are not gods.

The first responses in the cabinet and Knesset indicate that ministers and Knesset members are willing to worship other gods than these judges. They are certainly ready to replace the attorney general, who started out taking baby steps and ended up reaching high places. Mazuz didn't even know at first that he would turn out like this.

Moshe Katsav, one may presume, was a very worried man yesterday. The court set the legal bar low but the moral bar high. If Ramon did not pass the bar, it is difficult to see Katsav's passing it, to judge by the indictment being drafted against him.

Therefore, when the club members gather to choose the heirs - both Ramon's and Katsav's - they would do well to take great care, lest their club burn down. Olmert, who is suffering from severe third-degree burns himself, would do well to appoint a fireproof justice minister, one not involved with corruption affairs that seem to have ended but have not. And the President's Residence will no longer sustain a tenant whose only right to be there derives from his membership in the club.

Yesterday we, and not only Ramon, learned that death and life are in the power of the tongue. And anyone can read what they like into that.