Isaac Herzog. An outstanding person, but apparently unelectable
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Yuval Chen
While Netanyahu is busy forming his new government despite the faltering coalition, we must not forget that the recent elections ended with a loss for the Zionist Union (Labor).
For decades, the Labor Party has been caught in a conception which is making it fail. It is ignoring the intelligence on the ground and, as always, is surprised by the real results and never learns its lesson.
Since the 1977 political upheaval, Labor won the elections only twice, when it was headed by two former IDF chiefs of staff: Yitzhak Rabin in 1992 and Ehud Barak in 1999.
Op-ed: Lacking any charisma or a political agenda, the Labor chairman can either crawl into Netanyahu's government or vacate his seat in favor of someone else – Benny Gantz, for example.
Everyone knew that Rabin was popular, but the party members did everything in their power to push him aside. In the 1981 elections, Rabin was dismissed from every possible position, and only several days before the elections, when they realized how bad the situation was, they performed a castling and placed Rabin instead of Haim Bar-Lev as the defense minister. The trick was orchestrated by Mussa Harif, the party's unofficial leader (who was later killed in a road accident which brought a promising career to an end).
Labor lost the latest elections. Instead of drawing conclusions, its leaders use mathematical exercises to explain how well the party did. Isaac (Buji) Herzog is an outstanding person, but he appears to be unelectable.
When will they learn that the Israeli public prefers to be led by chiefs of staff? Every chatterbox knows that when Hezbollah directs masses of missiles at central Israel, there should be a leader with military experience sitting at the head of the table. In addition, during his term a chief of staff deals with economy, manpower, strategy. In short, with every issue.
Another mistake, apropos security officials, was the Labor Party's disregard of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, whose resume seems as if it was actually written for building a leader. He was a combat pilot, an Air Force base commander, served as principal of the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, and he turned Tel Aviv into one of the most successful cities in the world.
The leaders of the Likud and the right understand that. They are afraid of competing against a chief of staff and have therefore enacted a completely undemocratic law requiring a cooling-off period, which aims to prevent our finest sons from serving in the most appropriate place. And so the road is paved for less suitable people.
Former chiefs of staff who succeed in politics include Rabin, Barak and Rafael Eitan, who brought eight delusional lawmakers into the Knesset. Lieutenant-General (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi was in an excellent position to win, but as a result of the Harpaz incident and the fabricated document, his situation is unclear at the moment.
If we look at the map of candidates, there is no doubt that Benny Gantz could be a good candidate if he stays out of trouble in the three-year cooling-off period and avoids traps and those placing them.