Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Tishrei 5761 - October 25, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
A Clueless Prime Minister

Prime Minister Ehud Barak cannot decide if he wants to unify Israel or divide it. It was no more than sixteen months ago, right after he was elected, that he said that he would be everyone's prime minister, but only two months later he showed that he was not the religious community's prime minister when he ordered the gratuitous and insulting chilul Shabbos in transporting an oversized turbine component on Shabbos. A month ago he launched his "secular revolution" alienating broad sectors of Israel (and certainly not just the chareidim) but now he talks of a national unity government.

His governing coalition held up longer, but before the end of his first year in office, he lost one of his closest allies when Meretz left the coalition, ostensibly refusing to continue with Shas. In retrospect, it seems that the politically astute Meretz leader, Yossi Sarid, may have already sensed that Barak would not accomplish anything and was just as happy not to share the failure as a member of the government. At least partial proof of this is the fact that Sarid did not make any move to rejoin the government after Shas left.

Now Barak seems clearly led by events rather than shaping them. He seems to ignore the facts, as the Palestinians openly say that they are fighting a war and that Israel is the enemy. In response, Barak and his surrogates, while noting that the Palestinians have violated every agreement from the original Oslo pact of seven years ago to the Sharm a Sheikh agreement signed barely a week ago, plaintively repeat their refrain that they want to resume the "peace process." If someone declares that he is at war with you and declares that you are his enemy, it is hard to see how he can be a partner for peace. If he shoots at you, why worry about hurting his feelings?

It is obvious to PA leader Arafat that U.S. President Clinton has little to offer to the process aside from the force of his personality. His power is very limited as his term in office nears its end. He cannot offer money, and his personal good will is not worth much for very long. As a veteran leader, Arafat feels he has little need to worry about what Clinton thinks of his violence. Only Barak still seems to feel that it is worthwhile and important to have Clinton like him.

Barak has no plan for action, and merely lurches from announcement to announcement. On Sunday he announced to his cabinet that it is time for a "timeout" in the peace process, yet he had not consulted with any of the ministers in advance, and they were not willing to approve his sudden announcement. His lone "success," the pullout (or retreat) from Lebanon, was undercut when a foiled infiltration attempt on the part of three terrorists in the north was announced.

It must be as obvious to the Left as to everyone else that Ehud Barak is beyond his abilities in filling the position of prime minister of Israel. Yet they are unwilling to bring him down solely because of their narrow personal interests.

It is not unlikely that the Arabs, whose initiative has determined the flow of events in recent months, will soon also make it impossible for Barak to continue as prime minister and force the State of Israel to choose a new leader.

Now as ever we are reminded that lev melochim vesorim beyad Hashem. We pray to the true Source of power that things will quiet down soon.

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