The Israeli media had a field day recently dealing with its
own colossal blunder regarding the recent presidential
There were those who accused the chareidi representatives --
who, with their tremendous chutzpah, had the courage not to
vote for the media's predicted winner. This show of political
independence and power led the media to declare that the
chareidim had conducted a "stinking maneuver, 2000 style."
With this label, of course, they were comparing this episode
to a similar ploy that took place ten years ago:
Need a reminder?
The crude term was coined by Yitzchak Rabin with regard to a
plot instigated, woven and carried out by his political crony
and fellow party member, Shimon Peres. Our Sages have said,
"because you drowned others, they drowned you."
All the chareidi-haters came out of the woodwork to once
again attack the gall of the chareidim who did not cast their
votes for the correct candidate. Worse, they refused to
inform the media of their intentions beforehand.
The media, of course, reports only absolute truths, and its
reports always represent the height of objectivity. Who, if
not the chareidi MKs, took part in the monumental
Any other political body is allowed to vote in any way it
seems fit. No one asks why it chooses to vote in one
particular way. This is the embodiment of the democratic
process. The Likud, the NRP, the new immigrants' parties and
the Arabs are all allowed to take part in the democratic
process without anyone demanding to know why they acted in a
Only the chareidi MKs have to dance to the media's tune; to
apologize for their own independent thinking.
Journalist Ofer Shelach sums up the media fiasco in a
strongly worded article, settling accounts with the entire
left-wing camp and the media so addicted to them.
"We haven't heard such `lament, moaning and wailing' from
certain parts of Israel this week since Binyamim Netanyahu
beat -- would you believe - - Shimon Peres. As always, this
group gathered around the usual columnists to bemoan their
fate, cascades of anger and fury and a delegation of angels
" 'From a muddy abyss of intrigue, lies, fraud and other
abominations,' declared Amos Oz, national literary writer and
the broken reed of morality, on which the political left
leans. 'Many people were ashamed of themselves and their
state,' noted the political commentator. 'The Knesset does
not represent the people,' added a radio broadcaster.
"Why the uproar? Because of a single democratic,
parliamentary act, similar to the process the elected Ezer
Weitzman, Chaim Herzog and their predecessors.
"If only four members of Knesset somehow voted for Peres
instead of Katsav, the Knesset would be a true reflection of
the people. This didn't happen, and the parliamentary body
suddenly turned into a body of despicable villains.
"In light of Peres' history, the burden of proof does not
even fall upon anyone claiming that were the vote to be held
at the polls he would be assured of victory. 'Peres will
lose' is an even stronger political axiom than, 'David Levi
will be insulted' or, 'Shas will threaten to leave the
"Anyone relying upon public opinion polls to claim otherwise
surely is still believing polls in which Peres can beat
Netanyahu, Shamir, Begin and Rabin."
"But Peres's periodic debacle is a mere curiosity when
compared to the true matter at hand: a lack of recognition of
the state of Israel's bankrupt establishment. The truth is:
Shimon Peres lost a simple political contest. Nothing
mythological about it. Just as a few hours later the
government lost a non-confidence motion, the cries of despair
among his followers only serve to denote the vast chasm
between its members and the state in which they live.
"In spite of his grandiose pronouncements, he is not a tragic
hero. If there is no awareness of tragedy, there can be no
tragic hero, and Peres ('Am I a loser?') lacks this
"A mere few hours after he lost, at a time when those who had
predicted his victory were sure that he would now leave
politics forever, Peres withdrew his letter of resignation
from the government. He announced that he would dedicate all
his energy to the peace process and gathered a group of
supporters, throwing out grandiosely optimistic plans.
"The current Knesset, more than any of its predecessors,
accurately represents the Jewish people. 'A right wing
sephardim-chareidi coalition was formed against Peres,'
bemoaned the losers.
"What exactly are you saying? In case you haven't noticed,
this coalition has been in power for the last twenty-five
years, notwithstanding two electoral 'accidents.'
"This is the Knesset and such is the people. You can moan all
you like, but the people will not turn more left wing,
Ashkenazi or secular. The presidential election, like the
5,000-th amendment to the law of financial arrangements...or
like MK Goldfarb's decisive vote on the Oslo accords, is a
"And here are some political facts: Peres was the Coalition's
candidate. Katsav was the Opposition candidate. As things
stand now -- before anyone else resigns -- the Coalition has,
until the next resignation, 30 MKs and 52 supporters,
including Meretz, MK Bronfman and the Arabs.
"Under such conditions, Peres's garnering 57 votes was a
respectable showing. Anyone who may have thought or said
differently was again a partner to the peculiar way in which
the political left `tribe,' along with its media, just delude
themselves, predicting the future in line with their
"It is the people who are responsible for this political
situation. The prime minister bears no less a burden of
responsibility. There were other prime ministers before him
who were unsuccessful in getting the candidate of their
choice elected to the presidency.
"However, none of them did so little for his candidate. It
was Barak that caused Peres's downfall along with the
inevitable downfall of his government in a year of failure
and arrogant political machinations.
"Ministers noted how he would relate with denigration and
attogance to Shas party leader Eli Yishai; in the way he
openly related to Shas as a bunch of vote-robbers to be
'purchased' with money. Is it any wonder that the scenes of
delight at the calamity for the left seen in the Knesset were
rare in their strength.
"Take a look: who was the brunt of this political ploy?
Shimon Peres, a man whose history of intrigues, lies, double-
crossing and other abominations goes back to the days when
Katsav was a kid in the ma'abarah in Kiryat
"As usual, immediately following the debacle, the Labor Party
began its investigation: who were the traitors, where did the
propaganda machine fail, how was it that Minister Chaim Ramon
again failed to deliver Shas. I have no idea what the
president does. I am convinced that Moshe Katsav will know
how to do the job no less than Shimon Peres.
"The story of Katsav is a lesson in democracy: the penniless
new immigrant growing up to an admirable political career,
finally becoming the number one citizen . . . The left wing
`tribe' will yet pay a stiff price for its self-delusion."