Will the Real Barak Please Stand Up?

Amir Peretz is pathetic but right: Ehud Barak has no agenda. More accurately, deep inside, Barak has a definite agenda, but it is a secret.

Amir Peretz is pathetic but right: Ehud Barak has no agenda. More accurately, deep inside, Barak has a definite agenda, but it is a secret. Since his return to politics, Barak has not given a name to his truth. And since he became defense minister, he has not voiced his credo in public.

But a leader who does not tell the public the truth is not a leader. Publicly and politically he is directionless, pointless and redundant. So if Barak wants to live, he must emerge from the bunker immediately, face Israel and speak out. He must finally address his agenda in a speech. Here is a draft:

Dear citizens,

This is a time of trial. Israel is facing unprecedented challenges. Iran is on the verge of nuclearization, Syria and Hezbollah are growing stronger, Hamas is heading toward conflagration. The Israel Defense Forces is doing everything to prepare for the developments, but this is not enough. Israeli society must muster all its inner strength both to prevent war and to endure a war.

Such mustering cannot take place unless we are honest with ourselves and take a hard look at reality. Therefore I'm addressing you as a statesman rather than a politician. As a patriot rather than a party functionary. For many years, our leaders have thrown sand in your eyes and led you astray, but now I am here to speak the truth, and only the truth, no matter how difficult it is. Just as Camp David 2000 burst the peace bubble, the Hamas victory and Second Lebanon War in 2006 put an end to any concept of a solution by unilateral action.

After the shattering of those two great illusions, is it absolutely clear that in the years to come no one-sided Israeli pullout to the Green Line will be possible.

As the leader of the peace camp and as one who did more than anyone else to achieve peace, I say today with pain that we will not achieve true peace in our generation. Therefore our generation's duty is to manage the conflict, while reducing the occupation and setting its limits. Our generation's role is to build the infrastructure that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to achieve peace - but not in our time.

Our Palestinian neighbors must follow Salam Fayyad's way - they must build the emerging Palestine and adopt a positive life ethos. We Israelis must establish a strong government and form broad national agreements, which will enable us, when the time comes, to dismantle our Algeria as France dismantled hers. But the ripening process will take time for both Palestinians and Israelis. The shelf-agreement idea is surreal and dangerous.

The Annapolis process is reckless and groundless. Don't let the cynics mislead you: Those racing toward peace are the enemies of peace. Those wishing to win the next elections with a meaningless piece of paper are the ones jeopardizing the two-state solution.

However, there is another truth, which is even more difficult to accept. The Second Lebanon War laid bare the real challenge Israel now faces - its intentions don't count, only what may be achieved counts. There's really no argument about where the national train hopes to head. But the train is going nowhere - its engine has been lost and the first-class coaches have been de-coupled from all the rest.

Facing today's challenge cannot be delayed. It obliges us to demand excellence of ourselves, to change the government's function and improve the administration with 1,000 quality appointments. To revolutionize education and strengthen the rule of law, to bolster the IDF and stand behind it, to define the national goals and shared values we live by and fight for. To rejuvenate the Israeli spirit.

Citizens of Israel, during the state's 60 years Israel has reached breathtaking achievements. As a fighter, commander and citizen I have learned to recognize the merits of the society we have created here. I believe in us, in our hidden power. But to implement these powers we need an accurate view of the situation, a definite action plan and an honest leadership. This is why I am ending my long silence today. This is why I stand before you tonight to tell each and every one of you what the state of the nation is and what the national agenda is.

This is the draft, more or less. It could be shortened or lengthened. It could be dulled or sharpened. But if there is a Barak, if he still exists - let him appear immediately. For as Barak knows better than anyone, only he who dares, wins.