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Olmert announces resignation Photo: AP
Olmert announces resignation Photo: AP
 
 

All out of tears

Avi Rath explains why he was unable to shed any tears over Olmert’s resignation speech

Avi Rath
Published: 08.02.08, 14:49 / Israel Opinion

I couldn’t shed any tears.

 

I closely watched the prime minister’s address to the nation, yet I was unable to shed any tears. I heard the list of his achievements in the areas of security, economy, education and society. I heard about the many years he spent in the service of the country. I heard his explanations about his honesty and integrity. Yet I couldn’t shed any tears.

 

Stepping Down
Olmert announces will step down after Kadima primaries / Attila Somfalvi
In dramatic public address, Olmert announces Wednesday evening he will not seek reelection in upcoming Kadima primaries. Confirming he will step down once new chairman is elected, Olmert pledges fight to clear his name
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I heard how much he suffers, and how badly he’s being persecuted. I heard how deeply he appreciates democracy and respects the law enforcement system. I heard that peace is right around the corner and how badly the Syrians and Palestinians want to eat hummus with us in the new Middle East. Yet I was unable to shed even one tear of emotion, empathy, or solidarity.

 

It’s not like I didn’t try. I’m actually quite emotional by nature, and such events featuring a farewell, self-reflection, and drama usually do the job and can elicit out of me at least one little tear. Yet this week, I wasn’t able to do even that. My eyes went dry. A whole 15 minutes of a speech that came from the heart, and nothing.

 

I did try, yet every time I attempted to feel touched or empathized, suddenly something else came to mind and stopped me from shedding a tear.

 

First it was Talansky and his cash-filled envelopes, and then it was the questionable purchase of the home in Jerusalem. Then it was Gilad Shalit’s parents and Ron Arad’s parents. Another moment, it was the first class of an airplane and expensive cigars and pens. Later it was the soldiers who fought in the Second Lebanon War and the residents of Sderot and the Gaza vicinity.

 

In short, every time I was about to shed a tear for a leader about to depart, a figure or event immediately came to mind that reminded me exactly who this prime minister is, how much cynicism his words entail, and what heavy price all of us paid for the adventure of this man as a prime minister.

 

I ran out

I wanted to shed a tear, but I’m all out of tears. I ran out of tears in Gush Katif and Amona, when this man was among the supporters of the expulsion and uprooting.

 

I ran out of tears in the Second Lebanon War, when this man appointed a failed defense minister, and along with a failed army chief led the nation and the army to an adventure that left many precious souls dead.

 

I ran out of tears after seeing women and children being murdered by murderers released by this man.

 

I ran out of tears after seeing citizens being murdered in the streets and on the beaches by mobsters.

 

I ran out after seeing our higher education system collapsing.

 

I ran out after seeing hungry Holocaust survivors crying and begging for medicine and a little respect.

 

I really wanted to shed a farewell tear. I did it in the past even when the people in question were political rivals or leaders I did not agree with. Yet this time around, I could not come up even with a trace of moisture.

 

It will take some time before we are able to fix the damages of this political accident. I hope we are wise enough to do it with responsibility, seriousness, and maturity.

 

Yet meanwhile, following the prime minister’s address, I couldn’t but remember the prayer recited by a father after his son’s bar mitzvah…

“Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your loving kindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors…Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.”

 

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