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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Bibi Wants President Shimon to Squeeze One More Year

President Shimon Peres and PM Benjamin Netanyahu (with yarmulkes). All I could think about this morning was Chaim Cheffer's ditty "How Did the Flea Rise Up."

President Shimon Peres and PM Benjamin Netanyahu (with yarmulkes). All I could think about this morning was Chaim Cheffer's ditty "How Did the Flea Rise Up."
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Many years ago, the late humorist songwriter Chaim Cheffer wrote a seemingly innocuous ditty called “How Did the Flea Rise Up,” about this industrious flea who may have been born in a mouse’s fur, but he knew he was meant for larger animals, and so he kept rising up the ranks, to a doggie, then to a donkey (he hated that one because donkeys have to work), moved up to a horse and then, finally, made it to the government.

It was sung by the satirical group Mo’adon Hateatron (Theater Club), became a hit, and everybody in Israel, but everybody, knew it was about Shimon Peres, the indefatigable climber. According to Cheffer himself, who devoted part of his video last will to this song, Peres himself knew it too, which is why he and the gifted lyricist were not very close.

It’s all I could think about this morning.



Shimon Peres’s term is coming to an end (not a minute too soon, if you ask me, but few do) this July. This was supposed to conclude a career that began with him carrying Ben Gurion’s attaché case and making coffee, and ended with repeated failed bids to win the Prime Minister’s seat all to himself (he did share it with Likud’s Yitzhak Shamir), then some more back stabbing and more dirty tricks, and then the presidential palace, which he successfully incorporated into the promotional machine that bears his name (the Peres Center for Peace—for wire transfers include SWIFT# WFBIUS6S)…

It was all supposed to be over for the country’s favorite flea, and then I saw the reports about the new maneuver in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to change the way Israel receives its presidents. According to Army Radio, the new plan is to let the voters pick directly, through a popular vote, their symbolic figure who has no real function other than whatever hits his fancy.

OK, there’s one constitutional function for the Israeli president: after an election, he or she meet with all the new Knesset factions, and collect from them recommendations as to whom should be tapped to build the next coalition. The law determines that it must be the MK with the best chance to form a government, the president’s role is largely a formality. As is the fact that he signs the laws and treaties passed by the Knesset. Even pardons must be approved by the Minister of Justice, who has the power to veto a presidential pardon, if it’s been deemed unethical.

Because the role is strictly ceremonial, the Jewish equivalent of the Queen of England, the president has been selected, rather than elected, by the Knesset. Occasionally this process has included a floor fight, but no one, until this morning, has seriously considered picking the president through a popular vote. It’s just not worth it.

Enter the only other equally indefatigable politician in Israel’s history: Benjamin Netanyahu. As of today, in addition to all the other challenges he’s facing at home and abroad, Bibi is now thinking of changing the constitution regarding picking a president.

In Israel, you see, what we do to change the constitution is Bibi says “I want this change in the constitution” and we vote on it and it passes.

Very dynamic country, Israel.

Anyway, government sources have confirmed to Walla that it’s really the case, and that Bibi wants direct elections for president, which means that legislation covering this couldn’t possibly be ready in time for the vote this July, so Shimon will get to rule another year.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “Bibi Wants President Shimon to Squeeze One More Year”

  1. Ora Cooper says:

    this must be the only time I am with Bibi!. For president we need a Diplomat! not some Licudnik who "speaks his perceived truth" No one ever tell the truth! including the "pretetious "Rabbis" in fact no one wants to hear the truth,or believe it when they see it ! So we need a Diplomat a person who can win the hearts and minds of others in the world.Its Ceremonial! I vote for Shimon!

  2. Carlos Font says:

    Not being an Israeli, I will refrain from any comments. However, I am saving in my archives Yori Yanover's very interesting version of the role of the President. He breaks me up and should be over here to write about our esteemed President.

  3. Shimon Peres must go out together with Netanyahu, if the people of Israel has to vote a President, for what needs a Prime Minister, wit a President is enough.

  4. wHY DID YOU ERASE MY COMMENT..IT WAS NOT DISRESPECTFUL

  5. I hope you don't erase my comment Thank G d Bibi has asked President Shimon Peres to squeeze out 1 more year, Mazel Tov President Shimon Peres.You now have the opportunity to correct the injustice towards Jonathan Pollard who has been sitting in prison for 29 years(YOU WERE PRES MOST OF THE TIME) for passing info to Israel,a very good ally.It's time to do tshuva,all of Israel is COUNTING ON YOU,

    YOU ESPECIALLY<DEAR PRESIDENT,TO HAVE POLLARD TRANSFERRED TO AN ISRAELI HOSPITAL>ANYTHING YOU REALLY WANTED TO DO,YOU ACCOMPLISHED.WE ARE EXPECTING YOU TO LAY THE GROUND WORK AND WHEN BIBI GOES TO WASHINGTON,YOU WILLHAVE IT ALL ARRANGED>>JONATHAN IS SICK AND NEEDS ISRAELI HUMANITARIAN CARE THAT ONLY YOU CAN ARRANGE>HE MUST COME BACK WITH NETANYAHU AFTER HIS MARCH 3RD VISIT. REMEMBER WHAT YOU YOURSELF SAID TZEDEK<TZEDEK SHALL YOU URSUE, NOT JUST WITH OUR ENEMIES,BUT WITH OUR OWN BROTHER.TIME TO LEAVE YOUR LAST YEAR AS A MODEL OF DOING TSHUVA ,

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