It’s tempting to believe that non-politicians are the antidote to bad politicians, but it’s also wrong.
In 2011, the Israeli pop singer Roni Superstar released a song called “Adoni” — literally “my lord,” or colloquially, “sir.” For sarcastic overtones, “His highness” will also do. Here is my free translation:
“His Highness will tell me what he knows/ His Highness will make sense of what I ought to think… His Highness wishes to be Prime Minister… His Highness thinks he is so smart…”
The otherwise banal song kept surfacing in my mind during the last election cycle. Something about it seemed apposite.
Just before the party lists closed, there was frenzied speculation over which generals would go where. Would former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon merge with Benny Gantz, and would ex-Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi join them? Each man wanted to enter politics on the condition that he would serve at the top: either he would have a shot at running the country, or vault into the role of a top minister. Winning the election was practically an afterthought.
Why did the generals think starting at the top was a reasonable expectation? Probably based on two main presumptions.
One is the myth that generals enjoy mystical credibility among Israelis, a belief that comes very close to entitlement. The other is that outsider politicians are all the rage, and not only in Israel. Voters are sick and tired of the old politicians; therefore, a candidate who is not tainted by “the system” automatically scores points. Both approaches are based mainly on empty clichés.Read More