I do not think that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government will fall in the near future. Furthermore, he may even emerge from his legal ordeal stronger than ever. After Morris Talansky’s testimony, Olmert’s political career should have been finished. But we live in a culture of betrayal, and Olmert is a sly and seasoned lawyer. He knows just how to manage with the “rule of law” that has replaced the rule of truth, justice and ethics.
Olmert learned a very important lesson from Ariel Sharon. No matter how much you abuse the public (and even if a solid majority from your own party opposes you), if you persevere and hang on while there is no real alternative for prime minister the public will vote for you once again. The nation thirsts for leadership. If an unscrupulous leader runs his government like a mafia don, the public will temporarily reject him. But if nobody manages to depose him, the same public will ultimately be in awe of the “leader” who outmaneuvered everybody.
We might be hearing some incriminating testimony now, but that won’t be enough. The Likud has not presented itself as a meaningful alternative. Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity is about the same as Tzipi Livni’s, at a time when an opposition leader with a true alternative vision should be galvanizing the nation to make a much-needed change. So as illogical as it may seem, I don’t think that we have seen the last of Ehud Olmert. Additionally, if the Likud does not clearly express its national identity, it is doubtful that it will win the next election.
Beware The Next War Of Deception
Clearly, Olmert’s next step will be to escape the investigation against him – by running straight into Gaza. To give up Jerusalem or the Golan he needs the cooperation of others, such as the Syrians – and that can get tricky. But to throw our children into the alleys of Jebalyah, all he has to do is whistle.
After we ran from Gaza, Olmert is about to send our children back there for a big, pointless military operation that will only increase the rain of missiles on the Western Negev and, according to estimates, send at least 100 soldiers home dead, God forbid. At the end of the “great” military operation the IDF will retreat from Gaza, and if the missiles had stopped in the interim they will be back. The rabbis will encourage their students to fight for the glory of the nation, and nobody except the grieving families will remember the dead soldiers. And nobody will remember the Olmert investigation either.
Now is the time to prepare for the coming war of deception. When the army orders arrive, it will be too late.
I don’t think it is proper to investigate a prime minister while he is in office. Not that I have anything good to say about Olmert. I know that he is corrupt, and I have absolutely no good wishes for a prime minister responsible for Amona. But on principle, I think that there is a serious flaw in the fact that he is being investigated while in office.
What has actually taken place here is that a very small group of judicial officials – a group that was not elected by the public and whose motives are completely unknown – suddenly decided to investigate the elected leader of the country. The power to choose leaders has been removed from the public and placed firmly under the control of the “rule of law gang,” as former justice minister Chaim Ramon so aptly described them.
In other words, the judicial branch of government has taken a huge slice of the power pie and is using it to control the legislative and executive branches of government. I intensely dislike Olmert, but at least he has to be elected by the public. The “rule of law gang,” on the other hand, has taken control without even looking in my direction.
An elected prime minister or government minister should have immunity from police investigations for suspected offenses committed before his election. Unusual cases should be brought before the Knesset, where a special majority would have to authorize an investigation. When the official in question finishes his term of office, the investigation would proceed. The media should be allowed to continue reporting on findings pertaining to the case, and the public should be allowed to decide whether or not to vote for the official once again.
If we do not insist on proper judicial conduct now, we will surely pay for it later – when the “rule of law gang” will depose yet another (probably rightist) government.
To learn more about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and to read their plan for Israel’s future, visit www.jewishisrael.org.