The Actor

Just as Netanyahu has erased the difference between a prime minister and an actor, he has blurred the difference between blame and responsibility.

We've been fortunate: Our ties with Turkey have weakened and those with Greece have strengthened. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is invited to visit his counterpart George Papandreou, and together they sail to an island. And behold, a small plane appears on the horizon, hovering over a fire to extinguish it. At that moment the visitor has a great revelation: In his country fires also break out, so maybe it's a good idea to acquire such a plane. And with this revelation he returns home.

Netanyahu carmel fire

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni asked him in the Knesset when he last told the truth. She still doesn't have his number. He isn't a slave to the truth, or to lies. All he'll do is recite the text that the play has put in his mouth. And his play, which is our reality, surpasses any imagination, even Netanyahu's imagination. We've already seen that this unique man stores memories he experienced before he was born.

The text is not his, but he's the one who dictates how it unfolds. In ordinary times the message is the public opinion poll - what the public thinks of the firefighters. And during emergencies, it's the catastrophe that advances the plot, develops the dramatic tension and role.

Netanyahu is an actor. More than he fills the role of prime minister - for which there is no proof yet - he plays the role. All his world's a stage. Veteran Haaretz theater critic Michael Handelzalts would assess his performances better than I can, would praise his readiness to get down to details. How perfect his timing is, always 8 P.M., and how careful he is with his tone of voice, which is both lyrical and profound.

And his gesturing - suiting his body movements to his lines, mainly his hand gestures, to emphasize the content. And how he pays attention to the viewing angles and lighting, which is sometimes emergency lighting. And he'll even submit to makeup, as though people no longer rely on inner beauty. And who knows as well as he how to reap applause and elicit bravos in well-orchestrated entrances and exits. He'll agree to be photographed only with heroes of the hour like himself - firefighters and pilots - and he'll avoid the picture of destruction so it won't remind him of his sins.

As a stage animal, and not necessarily a political animal, he prefers compliments about his charm to criticism as a serial breaker of promises.

Just as he has erased the difference between a prime minister and an actor, he has blurred the difference between blame and responsibility. Had Bibi and Sara sat in the Caesarea garbage dump, smoked a water pipe and left the burning coals, they would be accused of arson. Anyone who sits in an office and smokes a cigar is not to blame, he is meta-responsible, especially if he has served in his position for five of the past 14 years. You need a lot of luck to be prime minister; will you accept the good luck and not the bad when the mountain of garbage catches fire and collapses on your head during your tenure, of all times for this to happen?

All these years he has been running after fires to extinguish them. Again he is the first one who as super-premier recruited the supertanker, succeeding where other world leaders have . As though people slam down the phone on the Haitian prime minister when he asks for urgent humanitarian assistance; as though it's not an accepted international practice to offer help when fire consumes, water floods, the earth quakes and cholera spreads.

We expect a prime minister to change the reality, not to hobble behind it; to influence the unfolding events, not hang down like an acrobat on the firefighters' ladder; to grab the generation by the horns instead of tickling its tail.

And when will the Israeli people decide whether such a play must go on?