Avraham “Avrum” Burg, 63, who served as a Labor MK, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Speaker of the Knesset, and Interim President of the State of Israel, and who, in January 2015, joined the Arab Communist party Hadash, picked Labor’s primary day to call for the mercy killing of the party Ben Gurion built.
Writing in the op-ed section of Ha’aretz, under the headline, “We Must Help Labor Die,” Burg, the son of late NRP leader Dr. Yosef Burg, writes: “It hard to believe, but the Labor Party is wasting away before our eyes. It hurts me personally, this is the well that watered me and many of my friends. I have no desire to spit in it or on it.”
The Labor party has dropped in every single public opinion poll from its 24 seats in the current Knesset to as few as 8 and even 5 seats under the leadership of Chairman Avi Gabai, a former Minister of Environmental Protection and an import from Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party. When Gabai beat MK Amir Peretz for the chairman’s position, the polls still gave Labor 16 seats in the new elections. But then he performed the ritual sacrifice of Tzipi Livni who left the pact – and things just plummeted from there.
“When these are the facts and circumstances, I ask myself what should be done,” writes Burg, replying: “The answer surprises even me. She (the Labor party) should be assisted to die. Sometimes, the extension of life by artificial means humiliates the anguished one, makes us forget her years of greatness, grabs essential resources from its surroundings, puts a burden on the living and stops any chance of revival and renewal.”
“Labor is like a pet that was run over on the highway; it lies up by the Castel (Al-Qastal was an Arab village, 5 miles west of Jerusalem, named for a Crusader castle located on the hilltop), and the traffic jam reaches the end of the Ayalon highway (north of Tel Aviv),” Burg writes, using traffic-related metaphors Israeli motorists would appreciate.
“Until they clear the road, everything remains stuck, and the traffic jams drive everyone crazy,” he continues. “But if, at the end of election day her death will be called from thousands of polling stations, perhaps even together with the death of Meretz, something new and good will begin immediately after the days of mourning.”
“The old semi-liberal Zionism has expired,” Burg declares, “An entire generation of politicians will go to the cemetery of the unexpendable. Because the time has come for the new Israeliness, which will flourish in the vacated space.”
For some reason, this seasoned politician with the grand vision loses his nerve at the very end, and recommends that his old party replace Chairman Gabai with MK Amir Peretz who could, maybe, save the day. Which is a strange and cowardly ending to an otherwise brave vision.
Which suggests that Avrum Burg, too, is destined for the cemetery of the ‘indispensable.’