Yossi Sarid / Lies About Netanyahu's Trip Harm Israel's Credibility

In future, any official statement from the PM's bureau will be considered false unless proven otherwise.

"For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest," the prophet Isaiah said. But he did not say in private conversation that "for state security one may sometimes not tell the whole truth."

What one could see then, one does not see now. And the conversations were so private that there was not one newspaper Thursday that did not quote something from them. What is true of a private conversation in Jerusalem is also true of a mysterious trip to Russia. Every state secret immediately becomes the talk of the town. Even Isaiah would have changed his comment today and told you that it is worth remaining quiet for Jerusalem's sake.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau reported that the mendacious statement to the press was the private initiative of the prime minister's military secretary. Just as an army general is permitted not to tell the truth for security's sake, so we are permitted not to believe him.

So let it be clear - we indeed do not believe him. And it is also okay for us to assess that Meir Kalifi did not decide of his own accord to tell a lie. Do we need to mention again the inferior status of a half-truth?

From now on, any official statement from the bureau will be considered in our eyes false unless proven otherwise. We'll take everything with a grain of salt for our wounds. And we will allow ourselves to examine the proof.

That is exactly where this kind of suspicious credo trips up; if you believe in it, then I do not believe you. And it is not easy to replace trust that has been lost - sometimes it cannot be done at all.

And if it is state security that we are talking about, then security is first and foremost a matter of trust and credibility. Countries and armies that disseminate lies and half-truths testify to their own weakness.

When the Arabs were still Arabs and announced victories that had never been, they were already defeated; they had already marked their escape path with discarded boots. Then, in those far off days, we were victorious because an Israeli report won the day over an Egyptian report; anyone who distorted a report did not have the upper hand.

Credibility is power, as is written in every textbook ever read by Uzi Arad, the highest ranking official in state security. Over the years, our neighbors reined in their imaginations while we became more thoroughly integrated into the region.

Was it just by chance that the false dissemination was assigned to the ranking officer in the group? It was not merely the hand of fate that was involved in the fraud, it was more appropriate for a man in uniform to take the name of security in vain.

It is easier for him; in recent years, the army has specialized in press releases that are "sometimes not the whole truth."

If every time a senior official were to sin he would resign, the bureaus would empty out and the ranks of the unemployed would fill up. Therefore this time, once again, we will forgo the pathetic call for a resignation or a dismissal.

Instead, we hereby propose a freeze on all lies for a period of up to one year. A whole year without lies.

Can the public tolerate a decree of that kind? And will the Prime Minister's Bureau be able to bear it?

When I recall another kind of freeze, which started with a massive thaw, I am not sure my proposal for an end to the distortions is a good one.