Wednesday, December 14, 2005

We Deserve Better...

One of the greatest disappointments I have, living in Israel, is that the Jewish State is "blessed" with leaders whose primary concern is their own.

Throughout Jewish history, more often than not, we have had leaders who were corrupt, who were sinners / criminals, who were more concerned with maintaining their own hold on power than with what was in the best interests of the Jewish People.

Today’s example (courtesy of Ha'aretz):
Businesswomen Pnina Rosenblum was sworn in as a member of Knesset on Wednesday morning on behalf of Likud to replace MK Tzachi Hanegbi who resigned his seat and joined Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima party...

Army Radio on Wednesday quoted Rosenblum as saying that she would join a party in which her chances of being reelected were the highest. There have been rumors recently that Rosenblum intends to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's party Kadima.

Is it any wonder that the Jewish People and State are faced with so many challenges?

How can we ever expect to overcome these challenges when our leaders seem to be the very source of them?

How many of the 120 Members of Knesset are people that we can actually look at with respect and admiration and believe that they have what it takes to lead the Jewish People - or that their primary concern is doing what's in the best interests of the Jewish People and State (and not just their own little section of it)?

I can honestly say that I have much more respect for someone like Yossi Sarid, the former head of Meretz, than I do for just about any Likud Member of Knesset (both those that have defected to Kadima, and those that haven't). At least Sarid stood for something - his decisions based on the values and ideology in which he believed. Granted, I did not agree with much of what he stood for, but at least he stood for something.

Today, neither on the left nor on the right, do we seem to find very many "leaders" who stand for anything aside from maintaining their hold on power for their own sake.

If anyone has any ideas as to who has what it takes to lead the Jewish People, I am open to hearing them...


I don't think this is in any way unique to Israel's leadership - you see the same thing in most every country, I know you definitely see it here in the U.S.

Those who seek out positions of power want the power, regardless of what they have to do, or who they have to work with, to get it. Power corrupts, in many ways. And it is very difficult to respect someone who seeks power for the sake of power.

In contrast, many great people with wisdom and integrity have little interest in being put in the spotlight and forced to play games. They would rather go about their business, leading by example, with a quiet integrity.

It's a catch-22 of politics.

By Blogger Shoshana, at Wed Dec 14, 09:12:00 PM GMT+2  

I don't approve of Tsachi, but he actually did the right thing by resigning.

Even though the law apparently allows him to take his seat with him to a new party, he did the right thing by leaving it with the party it was voted actually in for.

That by the way is something that needs to be implemented into law, until we get to vote for individuals instead of parties.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Wed Dec 14, 09:40:00 PM GMT+2  

i agree. i think about this all the time, and i just don't have any answers. where is the kahane-like leader today, who says exactly what needs to be said regardless of the consequences?

it's a sad time.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Thu Dec 15, 01:18:00 AM GMT+2  

Shoshana, what you say is very true, but doesn;t make me feel better. I believe that we are capable of better, and if the Jewish People and State are meant to create an ideal society and serve as a light unto the nations, then we must hold ourselves to higher standards in this area than the rest of the world.

I am not intereted in having corrupt leaders like evryone else. I want leaders that will reflect the values of the Jewish People (or at least what they should be).

Also, iagree, the good people dont want ot go into politics - but, if thats the case, nothing will ever change.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 09:36:00 AM GMT+2  


Never a truer word said - politics is the apllication of power and those who go into it often do so for good cause but become distorted by their profession and care more for the power than for cause.

I think you are also right about Yossi Sarid - he was and is someone who clearly cares more for his cause than for his reputation and as such is admirable. I believe that often on the extremes of a political spectrum is where you will find the most unbending and honest of leaders, those most committed to their cause. The same can often be said of some of the famous leaders of the right - Jabotinsky, Begin, Ghandi. Whether one agrees with them or not they were unswervingly committed to their cause - even when like Begin, they recognised the need for compromise for the sake of the greater good (not the same is insincerity, though often a cover, as in the case of Peres, Mofaz, etc).

What is astounding about the current campaign is that even on the edges of the political spectrum in this day and age, in parties which are not going to be the largest, personal motivations and reputations can come before the good of the party, the belief in the ideological direction of the party and the good of the nation.

Look at what happened between Ihud Leumi and the Mafdal - they even admitted that the problem was not ideological but rather over who should be at the top of the list / who should receive what places on the list! And what about in Meretz where Yossi Beilin (an outsider) came in and tried to change the name of the party, against the wishes of the membership!

Unfortunately though, politics is a natural result of democracy, and until Meshiah comes, we have no better way to govern ourselves - I think it is important for us all to recognise that no politicians are perfect. Maybe those who have the strength to forego their egos for the sake of the greater good should be pushed into public service.

So what are you waiting for, Ze'ev?

By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 15, 12:38:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, does that mean that you are endorsing me to run for Knesset? Could I count on your vote?

(I think you'll have to do a lot of work convincing my wife, before she would agree to such a move).

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 12:59:00 PM GMT+2  

Zion said:

where is the kahane-like leader today, who says exactly what needs to be said regardless of the consequences?

Gidon (Likud Central Committee member) responds:
That leader (sic) is scratching the threshhold from underneath, in his dreams.
Promoting messages and ideologies that are acceptable to thousands of people and not hundreds of thousands will not get you far, unless you know how to work the system and ride a wave like Rav Kahane did. Otherwise, try to find an archimedial point to leverage yourself, and stay quiet sometimes - saying the truth when your audience will reject it is self-destructive.

Zeev said:
I can honestly say that I have much more respect for someone like Yossi Sarid, the former head of Meretz, than I do for just about any Likud Member of Knesset (both those that have defected to Kadima, and those that haven't). At least Sarid stood for something..

Gidon responds:
Besides respecting all of the "Mordim" in the Likud who went out on a limb against a bulldozer of a prime minister backed by the media, army, judiciary, police, cabinet, and international media and government, do you really respect Sarid more than the following? You may not remember the infighting he had with Shulamit Aloni...
Uzi Landau
Gidon Saar
Reuven Rivlin
Natan Sharansky
Iyub Kara (a Chasid Umot HaOlam if there ever was one)

and even these, who were not against the disengagement, but are sincere democrats:
Michael Eitan
Yuval Steinitz

Even Bibi did the American thing and resigned from politics when he lost in 1999 (he was in a damned if you do damned if you don't position when he saw that Sharon was the only Likudnik capable of running against Barak in 2001, and in spite of what everyone loves to say about him, I can't believe he would have initiated the steps that Sharon has). His economic policies as Minister of Finance were also courageous and successful in the eyes of many observers.

Personally, I will not vote for any current Likud MK in the upcoming list elections (open to Likud Central Committee members only) besides Mordim on Jan 3, but the rest listed and more are better imho than any left winger, who is energized by demonizing the right and that's it.

I urge all Israeli citizens to join the party of their choice and influence it from within, and for those who have no other hobbies, join the Central Committee:-). If we won't be there, just the baddies will be...

By Anonymous Gidon (Likud Central Committee member), at Thu Dec 15, 03:19:00 PM GMT+2  

Gidon, I was wondering when you woul finally put up a comment.

I'll be honest with you, that even wit hthe "mordim" I am uneasy. I am really not convinced that they won't become like all the other leaders fro mthe Likud who were supposed right weigers. Granted, they didn't give in here, but who sayst hey wont next time.

I have heard Uzi say that he recognizes that Israel will need to make concessions... the question is only a matter of how much.

Sharansky would igve away the farm if only the Arabs adopted democracy...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 03:35:00 PM GMT+2  

You are not supporting the people who are trying to put their fingers in the dyke (which has already turned into a New Orleans) because you assume that their intentions are not pure???
You said you respect Sarid more than these. If you didn't know, a little history lesson: he also bolted the party he came into the knesset through as a back bencher, Labour. I know retracting is not in vogue, but can you at least retract that "respect Sarid mre than the mordim" statement?
And furthermore, think objectively. If trying to work within the leadership party is a mark of Cain, and you will only support activists who are just like you, you'll keep on preaching to the choir for a long long time. is a nice place, but there's a real world out there. Come play in the big leagues, even though there are unpalatable aspects here.

By Anonymous Gidon (Likud Central Committee member), at Thu Dec 15, 04:57:00 PM GMT+2  


I would neither endorse you nor vote for you, but I would wish you well in the primaries of any party you would stand for - I may heartily disagree with your politics, ney am even disgusted by them, but being a Mensch is also important - and the National Union could do far worse than have you in the knesset.


By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 15, 05:19:00 PM GMT+2  

Gidon, what i was saying, and maybe I didnt say it well enough, is that we have been burned by supposed Right-Wingers from the Likud too many times to take any of them seriously. Maybe the "mordim" are different, but history says otherwise.

Begin, Shamir, Netanyahu, Sharon...

All huge right-wingers - all gave into pressure once they reached power...

I dont agree with Sarid, but at least you knowwhat he stands for.

Are you so confident, that if any ofthese "mordim" ever became PM, that they wouldn't pull a Sharon or a Bibi?

I am all for trying to make a difference, but I am also into playing straight, and I havent seen that from the Likud, unfortunatley.

Maybe Moshe Feiglin will be different - and you know that I like what he is trying to do - but, aside from Feiglin, I do not see much value in the Likud.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 05:20:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, I'm getting all misty eyed...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 05:37:00 PM GMT+2  

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