Rabin still missed

Op-ed: He didn't know everything and wasn’t always right. That's the kind of prime minister Israel needs these days

What is the most important organ in a prime minister's body? The almost automatic response is, of course, the head. The grey cells located under the hair (or bald spot), the understanding mind, the thinking mind.


Some will say: The mouth. The man knows how to talk, knows how to make a speech, knows how to convey the message, and mostly knows how to persuade. Give him a small stage and a microphone, and he will sell ice cream bars to Eskimos and heaters to residents of the Sahara.


Our response to the question at the top of this article is: The feet. In my humble opinion, the feet are the most important organ in every prime minister's body. Not in order to score a goal at the 91st minute of a soccer game, not even in order to run after voters all the way to the polling booth. The feet are important for a prime minister under one condition: That they are well and deeply rooted in reality.


If the feet are well rooted in reality, the prime minister can and is entitled to use his eyes to see, his mouth to talk and convince, and his mind to think and mainly to make decisions. The day of a prime minister in Israel, perhaps more than any other prime minister in the world, is made up of dozens and hundreds of decisions, many of which are crucial. That was Yitzhak Rabin, may he rest in peace – a prime minister with both feet on the ground. On Wednesday, according to the Hebrew date, we are marking the 18th anniversary of his murder.


Rabin will never be defined, not even today, even by the many people who loved him, as a dreamer, as a rare visionary. He was the most down-to-earth leader, the most farseeing, who immediately looked for the close solution. His head did not touch the sky, and his feet – those feet – were well rooted in reality.


Here's an example: Twenty or 25 years ago, Rabin told whoever would listen that one day a Muslim country would succeed in building nuclear facilities, and then we would lose our qualitative and deterrence advantage. Rabin specifically named Iran as one of the options. He believed that we should establish peace as soon as possible with Syria, Lebanon Jordan and the Palestinians, which border the State of Israel, in order to alleviate the hostility and try to find paths to the more distant enemies equipping themselves with a nuclear facility, meaning an atom bomb. As the prime minister and defense minister, he tried – almost with all his might – to execute this idea.


I recently learned from the person who was head of the Military Intelligence Directorate during Rabin's term, Major-General (res.) Uri Sagi, from who we should be seven times more careful, all the more so when he is prime minister: From those who know everything and from those who are always right, especially when they sit on the chair on the second floor on 3 Kaplan Street in Jerusalem (the location of the Prime Minister's Office).


Allegedly, that's nonsense – the prime minister gets every piece of information from every single source, and he really knows everything. That’s what he believes, that's what his assistants believe, that's what his followers believe. It turns out that whoever believes so is damned, even if he is a prime minister. An appropriate example these days: The prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief of staff exactly 40 years ago, on the eve of the Yom Kippur War.


Even worse are those who are always right. They also know everything and are never wrong. They are always right, surely in regards to the past, undoubtedly in the present, and no one is better than them in foreseeing the future. Moreover, they announce in public day and night that they were right then, are right today and will be right tomorrow. Wise men have already said, in paraphrase: God save us from them, and we will save ourselves from our enemies.


Here's another good reason to miss Yitzhak Rabin today: He didn't know everything and wasn’t always right. That's the kind of prime minister Israel needs these days. And he is missed.



פרסום ראשון: 10.16.13, 19:46
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