During these days when Israeli democracy has reached an all-
time low, Israeli citizens can get an idea of how a
democratic nation should be run just by reading newspaper
reports from other democratic nations.
In Germany, for example, two government ministers recently
resigned, stirring only slight public interest. They held
themselves responsible for a major failure and drew the
obvious conclusions on their own.
Prior to their respective resignations harsh public
criticism was lodged against the Agriculture Minister and
the Health Minister over the Mad Cow Affair. Criticism of
the Health Minister focused on the discrepancy in advisory
notices she issued regarding German frankfurters. On one
occasion she declared Germans could eat local frankfurters
freely, but then she later warned against eating
frankfurters not subject to Ministry inspection. This flip-
flop cost the Minister her job.
The Germans, of course, were not pleased; the frankfurter is
too important a food item for Germans to be uncertain of
whether or not they can eat it with peace of mind. They
expected an unequivocal announcement from their Health
Minister. In a democratic nation like Germany, the public is
unwilling to accommodate government flip-flopping. A
minister who swerves back and forth is considered unworthy
of handling affairs of state.
The Agriculture Minister, on the other hand, was forced to
resign when, despite strict supervision over the country's
cattle, nine diseased cows were discovered. He was not
accused of any specific acts of negligence. But in a
democratic country, when the cows are sick, whoever is in
charge of them has to head home, regardless of the question
of who is responsible for the outbreak of the disease.