One of the greatest scandals in the history of Israeli politics took place when Ehud Olmert “sold” the defense portfolio to Amir Peretz, with both of them being clueless about security matters, just so he can keep the Treasury in the hands of his “dear” friend Hirschson. The terrible outcome of that dirty deal was the outrageous performance of “Mr. Security” Peretz during the Second Lebanon War. How many casualties would have been spared in the war had a qualified person been appointed to this post?
However, Olmert was not alone. He was surrounded by other Kadima ministers, including Livni and Mofaz. I do not recall that these two figures speaking out at all against Peretz’s outrageous appointment, and their silence makes them full partners to this scandal and its tragic results.
Yet now we see Kadima, that same virtual party, repeating the same sin: According to recent reports, Livni’s desire to keep Ehud Barak as defense minister prompted her to offer Mofaz the Foreign Ministry in order to bring him back to action and ward off internal dissent against her. Yet what does Mofaz know about diplomacy? Did he serve in the Foreign Service even one day? And what about his English?
The diplomatic theater is Israel’s most important battlefield alongside the military battlefield. Therefore, we must appoint the most qualified and capable person to this critical post. Livni was a rather mediocre foreign minister, and the proof of this is the deterioration in our ties with the United States over the past two years, which was manifested through Washington’s decision to renege on a long series of pledges given to former Prime Minister Sharon.
Livni’s silenceAn even graver matter is the failure of the diplomatic campaign aimed at prompting effective sanctions against Iran, and Livni showed complete idleness when Olmert took the authority for negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians away from her. His terrible mistakes in the course of indirect negotiations with Syria did not elicit even one public statement from the minister in charge of Israel’s foreign relations. This made her a partner, even if a passive one, to Olmert’s diplomatic failure.
What kind of foreign minister is she? A minister who sits in the Foreign Ministry and says nothing while a failing prime minister engages international conduct that is just as faulty? Would anyone appoint Mofaz to be in charge of his public relations? Is Livni conducting herself any differently than Olmert? It appears there are too many similarities in respect to the political conduct of these two Likud refugees, and Olmert’s failure is the harbinger of Livni’s failure.
The worst thing about this matter is that Mofaz, who has clear strong points (security,) will be assuming a post where his success if highly doubtful (foreign affairs,) and this too is no honor for Kadima, the ultimate job-providing party.
The intolerable lightness with which Kadima addresses the country’s vital interests, both on the security and diplomatic fronts, require the citizens to toss this failed party to its rightful place: The political garbage bin.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s department of Arabic