Sooner or later, Olmert and his group of servants, attorneys, and sycophants will leave. He’ll resign, be ousted, or be suspended. Had I not followed him for years, from a safe distance, horrified by his actions and by the manner in which he utilized his power and greed, I would have been filled with appreciation and compassion to this beaten figure, who at this time makes a great effort to maintain a façade of control. All that is left to do now is wonder when he will collapse, break down, or break into tears.
Yet his cruel deeds and the crude manner in which he conducted himself throughout his life spare him our mercy. Fifteen years ago, the man screamed at me on the phone for making an unflattering comparison between him and a British TV character. I viewed his screaming as a medal – because he made a name for himself as a man for rent, the type of politician who can turn a functioning state into a third world country, while flying high on the wings of first class with a cigar in his pocket and a song in his arrogant heart. All of this is nearing its end at this time, and we shall be tasked with electing a successor.
The best kind of successor is one that erases what came before. Cleanses it. Repairs it. After the dishonorable dismissal of President Katsav, I believed that a female president should replace him, so that the victim will become the successor. I feel the same about the Prime Minister’s Office now. Yet the two figures who are butting in to the head of the line are the two resounding failures that preceded Olmert and Sharon - the former commandoes Barak and Bibi. There’s no cleansing there.
These two figures were discharged from the Prime Minister’s Office as disasters. They were both arrogant officers, brutal in their own way, closely associated with the wealthy and to cigar suppliers. In the time that has passed since his dismissal, during the years of fire and blood that he brought upon us, Barak made good use of the time and turned himself into a millionaire with a luxury apartment in an upscale Tel Aviv residential tower, his worldwide journeys (during the Second Lebanon War too,) and his indifferent mannerisms.
Bibi also never rejected a lavish lifestyle or close association with wealth. He is the man who brought the wealthy closer than ever to power, privatized our lives, robbed the elderly, and exploited the orphans in his efficient manner along with his Treasury boys. He’s our ugly American.
Livni an honest womanYet maybe now, after Mr. government-and-wealth Olmert will be leaving, we should try to embark on an era where wealth will somehow remain a little shier, further away from government. I am not naïve and I know that in the world we live in the wealthy will never be too far away from government, but at least we might see the return of some sense of shame, concealment, and some distance.
Therefore, if it was up to me, I would elect a relatively new figure. Not a model when it comes to decision-making yet, not a surprising figure, and she has not yet displayed courage or originality – but she’s clean. She’s not connected to the wealthy, she’s not extravagantly rich, she isn’t greedy, and she isn’t a former commando or chief of staff.
Tzipi Livni is an honest woman. She has not yet been tainted by rumors or stains. She neither smokes cigars nor lives in upscale residential towers. Moreover, the election of a female would break a frustrating sequence of male rulers. A female ruler may also be able to create a new Israeli image that no campaign would be able to do. And perhaps this will create something new in Livni’s heart, a desire to change course. Not to be a second Golda, or a third Shamir, or a fourth Barak.
In any case, if we are destined to be shaken up by new elections every two or three years, at least we should use all our options. Let’s rejuvenate and skip those who have been tried and failed miserably. A woman has not been in power here for 34 years.