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Friday, September 01, 2006

Another coalition crisis coming: Peretz to vote for state inquiry commission

Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz announced on Thursday that he will vote against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Whitewash Commission and in favor of a state commission of inquiry in Sunday's cabinet meeting. While that may have a chance of saving Peretz from being deposed as party chairman, it may also bring the coalition crumbling down.

In light of the growing public and partisan pressure exerted on the defense minister in recent days to oppose the governmental inquiry commissions appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peretz consulted with his advisors how he should act. The minister is now expected to demand the setting up of an inquiry commission headed by a judge, along with the majority of his faction members.
There's a Gemara in Sotah and Sanhedrin (yes, Virginia, I do open a Gemara - quite often in fact) that says that in the days leading up to the Messiah, "the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog." Many Rabbis explain this to mean that like a dog keeps turning around as it walks to make sure its master is following, so too the 'leaders' of the generation preceeding the Messiah coming will keep turning around to make sure that the people are following them. When I hear of Comrade Peretz consulting his 'advisors' to decide whether he must do what was right all along to do, I think of this Gemara from our Rabbis.

What brought about the dramatic turn in the defense minister's stance is apparently Peretz's concern that Olmert's decision to create two committees would concentrate the probe's attention on him, as head of the military echelon. Another major reason for the change of heart is Peretz's desire to toe the party line.
In other words, Comrade Peretz isn't going to let Olmert pin this on him. Back in the early '70's I had this comedy political record called "Richard Nixon, a Fantasy." (Okay, I probably still have it). There's a line in there where Nixon says "I take full responsibility for what happened. [long pause] But not the blame. People who take the blame lose their jobs. People who take responsibility don't." Sounds just like Comrade Peretz now, doesn't it?

In recent days, Peretz stressed that he is ready to face any investigating commission, and also pointed an accusing finger at his predecessors, hinting to Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's responsibility for the IDF's shortcomings during wartime.
But no one else can blame Peretz, can they? /sarcasm

Close aides of the PM were infuriated with Peretz's decision.

"This behavior is foolish. Amir Peretz is acting like a politician who lost all control," they said. "His decision is surprising since he was the first to announce the commission of inquiry led by Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. He's acting like a man under pressure who is trying to save his skin," they stated.
Do I hear the pot calling the kettle black?


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