On more than one occasion in the past, an Israeli prime minister fell ill yet their disease was kept from the public for some time. Indeed, once upon a time, the lives of rulers were hidden behind a veil of silence. That was the case during Golda’s term in office and at the time when Menachem Begin fell ill repeatedly. His doctors covered up and claimed that he is able to function, until he gave up and declared he could no longer continue, retiring into silence that lasted until his death.
Begin, a man of conscience, was greatly upset by the events of the Lebanon War: The lies, defeats and the manner in which he was seemingly led to a place he did not choose. The site where the Shalit protest is currently being held in vain was for years the site of a protest against the Lebanon War. At night, in bed, Begin remained awake and suffering, bleeding as result of the loss of soldiers, until he quit.
Yet it appears these days are gone.
When a prime minister falls ill, Like Sharon or Olmert, there is almost complete transparency. Doctors and press conferences. X-rays and brain scans. The days of vagueness over the prime minister’s condition are over.
However, it now appears that the fog is again enveloping the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Once in a while, an official who completed his term in office leaves the Balfour Street home - a former advisor, a director, or a top gun like Mossad Chief Meir Dagan - while hinting at a nearing disaster. A horrifying report about what’s about to happen. A tale of loss of control; a confused leader incapable of taking proper decisions. Rumors about movement towards the abyss.
This talk is similar to the hints that were whispered during the days of illness.
Hints aren’t enough
A great disaster lies at our doorstep, they say, but fail to provide details. These people are not ideological rivals or political foes, but rather, figures who only recently were meeting with Netanyahu regularly. They saw things that caused them to shudder. They monitored with consternation some kind of deterioration that is only being hinted at.
Half-heartedly they tell us that the man who is supposed to rule our country is not doing so. He should not be trusted, they say. They do not whisper to us about a heart disease or a prostate problem or any other physical ailment that a physician or cardiologist or specialist can resolve, but rather, something that is more mysterious - but no less dangerous.
Just like many other concerned Israelis, I too wish to know what the highest authorities saw there. What did Meir Dagan – who already saw everything – see there that bothers him so much? What is the non-physical malady that is nesting at the top of our executive branch and is not letting these former officials rest since they quit?
It’s not the knowledge that Netanyahu is a failed prime minister; after all, everyone knows that. We had prime ministers like him before. He is a coward and he is influenced by others. Huge corporations treat him, and us, as they see fit. The middle class carrying the entire country on its back is collapsing.
Yet this is not what they are whispering about; they are not talking about the domestic threat to Israel inherent in the man who privatized us all. No. They are hinting at a hopeless ruler, confused and scared like a child left alone in a dark house. There is something there, in this dark house. Grave danger.
A wise Chinese man once wrote: If the ruler does not have order within him, he cannot put his kingdom in order. Is this what you are talking about, the most senior officials? Are you talking about a ruler who is ruled by chaos, within him and around him, and hence he shall be bringing chaos to us all? Are you talking about a dazed master of the house who feels his end nearing and wishes to see his kingdom perishing with him?
Please, do your job and clear the fog that is again enveloping the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street and our future. Hints and rumors aren’t enough.
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