Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Tammuz 5766 - July 5, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: Olmert on the Job

by E. Rauchberger

After many long days of globetrotting and silence on security matters at home as Kassam missiles rained down on Sderot, PM Ehud Olmert now realizes that he has to get to work rather than letting the job rest entirely on the narrow shoulders of his defense minister, Amir Peretz, as much as doing that may be worth to him politically. Under the current circumstances the PM can no longer avoid responsibility, laying all the blame on Peretz.

Olmert has broken his deafening silence and has begun issuing threats to the Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. He convened the cabinet, consulted with his advisors and began giving orders on military measures. The political games have come to an abrupt end. Now he must demonstrate himself worthy of the title of prime minister or go down in history as a passing politician who accidentally plopped into the Prime Minister's Office and left as quickly as he came.

Although he still has not found the time to give Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal a ring, if he takes concrete action Moyal would probably be willing to forego the courtesy call.

Political expediencies cannot be taken into consideration during times like the past week, a fact even the opposition recognizes. The Likud recently rescinded a no-confidence motion over proposed appointments of deputy ministers, and Labor's internal battles quieted somewhat.

Following the attack on Kerem Shalom and months of missile attacks on Sderot, MK Matan Vilnai lodged criticism of Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who seized the opportunity to strike out at him to achieve political ends.

But apparently a little birdie told Vilnai that he had blundered, that this was neither the time nor the place to score political gains, for at a recent Labor meeting held at the Knesset he opened with brief remarks that gave full backing to the Defense Minister.

Dani Yatom as well, feeling an urge to support Peretz during these difficult times, then summarized Vilnai's remarks by saying that the whole party stood by the Party Chairman and Defense Minister.

Vilnai managed to hold his tongue in the coming days as well, but not Yatom. At a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee the next day Yatom criticized the IDF and the security establishment, trying to explain that there was no contradiction between lending his support and lodging criticism. How could the two go hand-in-hand? Ask Dani Yatom.

The Knesset: Hard at Work or Hardly Working?

The 17th Knesset got its start just three months ago and it appears that its members want to break all previous legislating records. In such a short period of time some 2,000 bills have already been tabled. For the sake of comparison the 15th Knesset tabled a total of 4,234 bills during its entire term.

The House Committee is considering a move to put a cap on the number of bills each MK or party can submit, similar to the quotas on questions, agenda proposals, no-confidence motions, etc.

In Israel over 95 percent of proposed laws do not make it past all of the legislation hurdles and into the law books.

Knesset House Committee Chairman Ruchama Avraham (Kadima) supports the idea of limiting the number of proposals MKs can submit. "It's a waste of paper, money and time," concurs MK Moshe Sharoni (Gil Pensioners).

Former Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin argues that such a quota would deny MKs a privilege and undermine democracy.

No decision was reached in the meeting but Knesset Chairman Dalia Itzik (Kadima) said any decision would have to have the consent of all Knesset parties.

MKs took advantage of the discussion to raise another serious problem: MKs' attendance in the majority of plenum sessions, which ranges from poor to very poor. MKs care about their image and the fact that the large hall is empty most of the time apparently troubles them. But rather than solving the problem by simply coming to the meetings and encouraging one another to attend, they are searching for more creative ideas.

Avraham proposed making a Knesset regulation requiring each party to maintain an internal rotation with at least one- third of party members in attendance at any given time.

David Azoulai said Shas had tried the idea on its own initiative with little success, since MKs always seem to have other commitments. Other MKs echoed his concerns that such a regulation would be infeasible.

In this matter too, like so often is the case, the Knesset decided not to decide, opting to postpone the issue until the Winter Session. And if somebody out there thinks they will reach a decision to require MKs to work a bit more seriously or to show a bit more respect for the office of MK and the task they were elected to carry out, he simply does not know the Knesset members.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.