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Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Olmert has done to Israel

I thought that Yossi Klein HaLevi did a pretty good job of summing up how Israelis feel about their eventually resigning Prime Minister and his continuing scandals (Hat Tip: Suzanne B).
Olmert is the embodiment of what has been, for Israel, the year of scandal: a president accused of rape, a finance minister accused of massive embezzlement, a deputy prime minister found guilty of forcing his tongue into the mouth of a young woman soldier. Olmert, two years after assuming office and promising to make Israel a more "fun" place to live, leaves us a nation in shame. He went to war in Lebanon to restore our military deterrence and destroy Hezbollah's military capacity. Instead, he shattered Israeli self-confidence in our ability to defend ourselves, and empowered Hezbollah as the strongest force in Lebanese politics, with an arsenal three times larger than it possessed before Olmert's war.

Olmert is the first Israeli leader--perhaps the first democratic leader anywhere --to threaten his own country with destruction if it rejected his policies. Israel, he warned, is "finished" if it didn't withdraw from the West Bank. Yet in failing to defeat Hamas, he has insured the impossibility of a two-state solution for the foreseeable future, leaving us without a political or military option.

Perhaps Olmert's greatest offense was in debasing our public discourse with terms like "Talansky's envelopes" and "Olmert Tours," diverting our attention from the imminent nuclearization of Iran and the growing power of Hezbollah and Hamas. Instead of focusing on Israel's survival, we have been preoccupied with the melodrama of Olmert's survival.

Now comes the hard work of restoring sanity to Israeli politics. Neither of Kadima's leading candidates to replace Olmert--Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz--has the trust of the public. Livni is seen as honest but ineffectual, lacking minimal security credentials; Mofaz, though a former IDF chief of staff, is a lackluster politician with a credibility problem. (As a former Likud leader, he promised to remain in the Likud and immediately abandoned the then-sinking party for Kadima.)

Whoever wins in the Kadima primaries will almost certainly try to create a national unity government that will include the Likud. So far, though, the Likud is insisting it will remain in opposition until general elections are held. But that could abruptly change if Israeli military intelligence concludes that Iran is about to go nuclear--a threat whose neutralization requires the credibility of a unity government. The emergence of such a government will be the most telling sign that the country is beginning to heal itself from the tabloid scandals of the Olmert years and is now ready to restore Israeli deterrence by dealing with the Iranian crisis.
Read the whole thing.


At 12:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Whither Israel? Its more than just about Ehud Olmert. No one can take satisfaction from the fact he was never held accountable for losing the Lebanon War and for bringing disgrace upon Israel. Israel faces a crisis that goes far deeper and is more widespread than just one man's misdeeds in office.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

HaLevi left out Olmert's reckless endangerment of Israeli soldiers and civilians alike by:

1. Trading two dead Israeli soldiers (news of whose death he withheld from the public) for 5 live Lebanese terrorists, including a psychotic child murderer hell-bent on killing more Israelis to cheering Muslim death-cult adherents.

2. Doing absolutely nothing to halt rocket and mortar fire from Gaza and shootings and rock-throwings in the Judea & Samaria.

3. Putting an end to Palithug and leftist/anarchist riots against the security barrier.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger Kae Gregory said...

IMHO - the first of the worst was the disengagement. Kicking Jews out of their homes and then abandoning them to promote peace - a peace that can only ever be temporary at best - was a criminal act and an horrendous precedent.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger yitz said...

Olmert can become a hero and save Israel and himself!
All he needs to do is abrogate all the deals he made with Abbas and plead insanity.


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