The Revolutionary Professor

A few good words about Daniel Friedmann: The professor is honest, talented and determined. He has a solid, well-formulated and well-thought-out agenda. The combination of impressive personal capabilities and a vigorous agenda has turned the professor into the preeminent ideological leader of the first Kadima government. That same combination is liable to make him the dominant ideological force of the second Kadima government.

Because Friedmann is so colorful himself, he colors his surroundings. Just as he turned Ehud Olmert's government into the Friedmann-Olmert government, he will also turn a Tzipi Livni government into a Friedmann-Livni government. There will be no way to calm or soften the professor or placate his opinions. Friedmann is not a believer in courtesy and good manners; he is a believer in leaving his stamp on the world through revolutions. Any government in which Prof. D. Friedmann serves as justice minister will be in his shadow.

A few bad words about Daniel Friedmann: The professor was never elected by the public. The revolution he seeks to foment contradicts the platforms of both Kadima and Labor. Therefore, Friedmann's theories contain an internal contradiction: The professor seeks to strengthen the political at the expense of the legal, but he is blurring and distorting the political. And his forgiving attitude toward governmental corruption intensifies the contradiction: He proposes replacing the law with public norms, but is emptying these norms of all content.

The professor is not conducting a dialogue with the legal system; he is attacking it. He is not trying to repair the justice system; he is undermining its foundations. His crusade threatens to destroy the protective walls that enable the courts to protect human rights, fight corruption and defend the individual against both governmental tyranny and the tyranny of the wealth-government nexus. Prof. D. Friedmann is working tirelessly to turn Israel's constitutional democracy into a Berlusconi-style democracy.

A few pertinent remarks about Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak: The challenge facing them both is well known. Their ability to meet this challenge together is non-negligible. However, the preconditions for success are their ability to distinguish the important from the trivial, to focus their efforts and mobilize their forces.

Granted, this political duo currently faces more fateful questions than how to contend with the justice minister. Granted, the necessary solution to the problem of the justice minister will exact a price from them, both within their parties and in the media. But precisely for this reason, they must remove the stumbling block posed by the justice minister now.

It will be impossible to deal with strategic challenges and an economic crisis when the ideologue D. Friedmann is constantly skewing the agenda. It will be impossible to create a true partnership between Kadima and Labor when the revolutionary D. Friedmann is using the government day in and day out to storm Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch's Bastille. If Livni and Barak want to build a stable political partnership, they must get rid of the third decision maker. If they lack the sense to turn the professor into a footnote, the professor will turn them into his footnotes.