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Newsletter 37: No need for the presidency in Israel

Well it's almost a week now since I brought you some news from this constantly turbulent part of the world. Now the war's over "everybody" seems to be asking where did we go wrong? Why did we fail? Media polls are held to show that 62% of Israelis want Olmert, Perets and Dan Halutz to resign. Experts are giving their opinion on the radio and on the TV that these guys should resign.

In the midst of all this, I'm happy to say Olmert opened this week's cabinet meeting by stating that the most important subject on the agenda is the efficient opening of the new school year.

Good for Olmert!!!!!

He put things in correct perspective and helped us, the ordinary folk of the land, to calm down and start thinking of normal things again and not of war. He has said that a committee of enquiry or several committees will be appointed but in the meantime the country must continue with its day to day business.

Things are returning to normal so fast that it's getting difficult to remember that only 2 weeks ago more than a million Israelis were


living in air raid shelters. With all the war and all the after war furor the country marched forward and didn't miss a beat.

The country deserves a medal for this. Olmert deserves a medal for his level headedness in the face of the screaming hysteria of the opposition political parties.

The blow that has sent the country reeling, however, is one which is not news, because, sadly it happens everywhere.

Everybody thought that such a shameful thing as the president of Israel being accused of a sex crime, could never happen in Israel.

Now it's happened; the President of Israel has been accused of forcing an employee of the presidential residence to have sex with him.

The court will decide the man's guilt or innocence. But in the meantime this episode has highlighted the mockery that the presidential institution has made of the entire country.

Israelis who by nature are quite immune to shocking episodes have this time been really shocked. Air raid shelters can't protect us from the terrible stench which is rising from the presidential palace.

Israel doesn't need an institution of the presidency. It's been a


mockery of an institution from its inception. I grant that several presidents were honorable people, but the high level of honor which such an institution demands cannot be guaranteed in a modern, secular society like Israel.

This episode has certainly shocked me into rethinking the need for a presidency in Israel. I hope it will do the same for others, such as the government.

We don't really need a president. Being only a figure head and allowing him the right to condone prison sentences makes the position vulnerable to corruption.

His only task, practically, is to give the country an appearance of dignity, honesty and morality.

It's impossible to guarantee that only an incumbent of such a high degree of integrity will be appointed, therefore then there is no place for the presidency in Israel. The country's honor is at risk and no respectable country should ever take such a risk.

We have a prime minister, elected by the people. The president is elected by parliament. His actions make parliament honorable or dishonorable. Now he's made it dishonorable.

We shouldn't be demonstrating against the war, we should be handing our medals to our brave soldiers and citizens of the North who faced the enemy.

The only demonstration which is needed is one against the institution of presidency.

I am looking for helpers to join me in a demonstration to dismantle the presidency. Who is joining me?

Here's wishing you a great no news day. Yours sincerely. Leon.

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