Who's the Idiot Here?

These government MKs are total idiots if they think that the people don't understand who and what are pulling the strings in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee.

Sometimes I am asked if I have any regrets as a public figure. And this is usually my answer: I have no major regrets, but I do have one small one: My last term in the Knesset was totally superfluous. I would have been satisfied with serving for 29 years, and I shouldn't have been dragged into another four, which turned out to be fruitless.

It was the superfluity that caused me to feel like a stranger there. A sense of strangeness is strange in light of the seniority I had accumulated, the extent of which is almost unparalleled. And it wasn't necessarily because I had descended from the heights of a ministerial position to become a lowly parliamentarian. I never had any particular problem switching from an important position in the cabinet to the opposition, returning once again to the back benches.

knesset - Emil Salman - October 8 2010
Emil Salman

I felt like a stranger because, against my volition, I too often recalled my mother's scolding, which is apparently typical of many mothers: "Those friends aren't for you," she used to say when she feared that her son would fall into evil ways under the influence of bad friendships.

Even without overdoing the nostalgia - which I hate - I can't deny the reality: I entered the Knesset early in 1974, and in it I found Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, Abba Eban and Lova Eliav and Uri Avneri, who is still alive and kicking; they were all there. And I left the Knesset 33 years later, parting from Gamlielis and Gavrielis; you name them. Do you really have to be nostalgic in order to perceive the difference?

This week, for the umpteenth time, I thanked everyone who deserves to be thanked - first and foremost the members of my family - for giving me the strength to resign out of choice, without waiting for my friends to throw me down the stairs, or for a stretcher to carry me out.

That's just what I would have needed - taking part in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee meeting that two days ago discussed the royalties from gas profits, and to return home disgusted and embarrassed, impatient and misanthropic. I would have been forced to listen not only to Yitzhak Tshuva and his overt and covert mercenaries, but also to the MKs who are his yes-men.

Sometimes I am still furious, and I have no doubt as to what I would have said on the spot to that Anastasia Michaeli - who, true to her Soviet upbringing and in the spirit of Yisrael Beiteinu, demanded that the Israeli security services investigate hostile domestic groups that are trying "to delay the development of the discoveries" of oil and gas and to sabotage the wells. If that is her demand, why shouldn't the Shin Bet security service be asked at the same time to examine Michaeli's motives.

And I have no doubt of my reaction to Minister Yossi Peled, who spread a camouflage net over the billions belonging to his former employer, as though they were tanks on alert for a surprise attack against Syria. As we already know, our generals have no problem switching hats.

At the committee session there was actually no discussion or debate. Differences of opinion can erupt only on condition that there is an opinion, rather than revolting crumbs spraying out from a big open mouth. Committee chairman Ofir Akunis, one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's charlatans and lackeys, was the one who gave the signal for the political incitement and the preposterous security and legal threats, and others hastened to follow his example. A strong smell of toxic gas pervaded the room.

It isn't nice or polite to say of people - especially elected officials - that they are idiots. After all, anyone can say that anyone else is an idiot, so what's the point? And still, they are total idiots, these MKs, if they think that the entire public are idiots, and that the people don't understand who and what are pulling the strings behind these puppets, and behind our backs.