Recycled Leaders

In this country, failure is a tried and true recipe for success. In order to become a great hope later on, it is best to first be a bitter disappointment.

In the morning, once we have relieved ourselves and feel more comfortable, we bless the Lord for creating man with wisdom, and for endowing him with the many bodily ducts and tubes without which we could not exist for even one hour.

Israel's body politic, however, was created in a different fashion. It is blocked and does not excrete. It does not have a metabolism and does not rid itself of waste; it has an intestinal blockage.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Oliver Fitoussi

We can find momentary relief by turning our gaze to the toilet bowl of history or the garbage can at its side. For a moment, it seems as if something, or someone, has nevertheless been excreted. But no. Any egestion that occurs is merely for the purpose of reingestion.

That is how Benjamin Netanyahu retired, or was ousted, in the past, only to reappear and be reelected 10 years later as a new man who did not know Bibi. And that is how Ehud Barak was defeated - yet another failed prime minister - only to return and seize hold of the steering wheel of defense. In this country, failure is a tried and true recipe for success. In order to become a great hope later on, it is best to first be a bitter disappointment.

There is no connection between a person's achievements and the ladder on which he climbs higher and higher, until his head reaches the skies even as he stands amid piles of rubble. Dan Halutz is another person who understands this: This week, as the fourth yahrzeit of the Second Lebanon War approaches, he announced his intention of implementing his own right of return. Granted, he is not obsessed with becoming prime minister, he said - or at least, not right away. So we must just thank our lucky stars that Dan is not the obsessive type.

"When I see where the country is going," he explained, "it burns in my bones." Shall these bones live again? Certainly! In fact, why not? Our short memories and our ever-growing despair will revive them. And who knows, perhaps the breath of life will even return to the 156 people who lost their lives in that war, and they will once again stand on their own feet - a very great army indeed.

After going home, Dan was able to make a contribution to our politics in the form of Miri Regev, who was his devoted spokeswoman. But he would also like to donate his own body to the nation. Therefore, he is now joining the long line of recycled leaders, who can be removed from this line only through death - and not before they reach the age of 120. From the moment someone wrapped in the robe of office removes his robe, he is busy planning how to put it back on, how to make the olive branches and fig leaves on his shoulders cover his loins. We have not yet recovered from his crash landing and he is already informing the control tower of his next takeoff.

Israel is the land of opportunities that no wasted opportunity can limit. Israel is the land of rising careers that will never set, except for very short time-outs to restore one's energy and don a new hat. People like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would die to get citizenship here from Aryeh Deri, the once and future interior minister, or from Ehud Olmert and Haim Ramon. All are active retirees who are also potential successors.

As despair mounts and more and more Israelis wonder how their life's work will fare - whether it will survive or collapse - it is not merely the present that worries them; the future is far more depressing. Somehow or other, they will survive Netanyahu and Barak. But where is the alternative known as hope? Will we have to pull it out of the garbage can like a piece of junk?