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Fighting like girls. Barak (L) and Bibi
Photo: Eliad Levy
He started it!
Op-ed: Will Netanyahu and Barak mess things up for us because no one can keep their egos in check?

Make no mistake, the row between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak jeopardizes Israel's security. Not metaphorically, but practically. Had this been going on Norway, it would have been comical: Two aging men going at it like girls in the seventh grade. 'He did this to me,' 'he did worse things to me.' It doesn’t even resemble a 'wait for me in the school playground' type of fight between boys. This row is about settling the score – the petty kind which leaves the average citizen stunned. Can't these two people just meet, clear the room of yes-men who have a lot to gain from disputes that get a lot of press, and settle the matter like men (pardon the expression)?

 

It's not as though we haven't witnessed similar arguments in the past, but the fact that this feud has been on our agenda for the past few days and has sucked into it spokespeople and aides is worrying.

 

Why did Finance Minister Steinitz warn Netanyahu that Barak will try to trick him on the budget issue? Could it be that Steinitz does not differentiate between a minister's legitimate campaign to prevent a budget cut in his office and what he referred to as "a sting"? Could it be that Netanyahu, an expert in setting 'red lines,' does not know how much a war costs? Particularly one that simultaneously takes place in the heart of Israel and thousands of kilometers away? Is it possible that Netanyahu and Barak, who have above average intelligence, will mess things up because no one around them is trained in the treatment of irritated egos?

 

Despite the invasive press, which is dependent on constant leaks, much of the information remains secret and is not a part of public discourse. In light of the fact that this information pertains to issues that are crucial to our existence, the thought that those leaders who discuss them cannot do so without personal insults, suspicion and hostility is intolerable.

 

Israel recently marked the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Like a massive earthquake, its shockwaves continue to hit us 39 years later, revealing the terrible price soldiers paid in the battlefield, in part because the generals could not overcome the urge to show one another who the head honcho is.

 

Some of Israel's more recent wars would have been conducted differently had the person in charge not been so suspicious and inflexible that he refused to listen to other opinions.

 

The next elections are four-and-a-half months away. That is a lot of time in our region, and with all due respect to the wars between Jews that are expected to take place here, we have a country here that needs to continue to exist. The assumption that the system is stronger than those who are in charge of it is very optimistic.

 

 

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