Why I became a politician
I do not see being a politician as the goal, but as a means to an end – and that end goal is to contribute to our national effort and to improve this country for its citizens.
Binyamin Netanyahu, Yair Shamir Photo: Courtesy
After the registration of our party’s candidate list with the Central Election
Committee, I am now officially a politician.
However, I do not see being
a politician as the goal, but as a means to an end – and that end goal is to
contribute to our national effort and to improve this country for its citizens.
I had the opportunity to enter politics many decades ago, but felt I could make
the best contribution to my country in a decision- making position once I had
gained experience in different areas.
I have been an Israel Air Force
(IAF) commander, chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and El Al and CEO
of Elite. Currently I am chairman of a venture capital fund, and I volunteer as
director of the National Roads Authority (NRA), a member of the Board of
Governors of the Technion and Ben-Gurion University, chairman of the board of
the Shalem Center and founder of Gvahim, an organization assisting educated olim
reach their potential in Israel.
I accepted each of these positions only
after being provided with assurances that I could make the changes necessary to
the company, industry or field. In the IAF, I oversaw the change to from analog
to digital and greater usage of hi-tech in our military. In El Al, I oversaw the
necessary privatization of our national airline, and ensured that it would not
fly on Shabbat. When I was involved in Elite, I joined a struggling company with
barely any profits and left it a thriving, thoroughly streamlined multi-billion
At the Shalem Center, I am proud to be overseeing the creation
of the first liberal arts college in Israel, which will create a new cadre of
future Israeli leaders. When I was invited to head the NRA I made sure my role
would also include all transportation infrastructure, and a high-speed train to
the South will improve many of the housing and living standards issues that have
plagued Israelis in recent years.
In our small country, everything is
interconnected; Improving our education system helps our hi-tech industry, which
has had a profound effect on our defense industries.
transportation lowers housing prices and leads to higher standard of
HOWEVER, I consider my work with aliya and absorption to be one
of my greatest contributions. It is my firm belief that we should not give up on
aliya and must maintain the “ingathering of the exiles” as a central goal and
pillar of Zionism.
At Gvahim, we found a way to surmount the challenges
facing Western- educated olim. I firmly believe that we have to help olim
fulfill their professional aspirations in Israel, and provide them with a strong
social anchor for a successful aliya.
It is my hope that this experience
in a variety of fields vital to Israel’s interests, including infrastructure and
transport, defense, economic, education and immigration, has granted me
sufficient knowledge to tackle our pressing national issues.
politician, I will always strive to remember that I am employed by the people to
work on behalf of the people, and not the other way around.
become a dirty word for some in Israel. This is because there appears to be much
cynicism among the political elite, and too much feeling of entitlement. To be a
public servant should mean something and a politician should stand behind their
words, not meaningless slogans utilized merely to win an election.
is one of the main reasons I decided that Yisrael Beytenu should be my political
home. It is a party which has long-term political goals which do not change from
election to election and are decided not according to electoral interests, but
I believe this sums up the merger on a joint list
with Likud in the upcoming elections. The National Camp in general, and Yisrael
Beytenu in particular, have shown great courage and an immense sense of
responsibility to attempt something which will move our country toward necessary
and vital changes, even if it may be a gamble politically.
mistake: Whether it is reforming the political and electoral system, equalizing
the national burden or changing the housing eligibility criteria, change is
I look with great disappointment at what is
happening on the so-called “Center-Left.” Not because we disagree on issues of
security and diplomacy, but because it seems that this side of the political
spectrum is rife with politicians who can not seem to transcend their egos to
form a joint bloc to really give the electorate a firm and informed choice in
Those who talk of electoral reform and equalizing the
burden have to demonstrate that the issues are more important than being at the
top of a list for the Knesset.
American founding father Thomas Jefferson
once said: “Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness
begins in his conduct.”
As Israelis, we need to demand that our
politicians put national interests ahead of political interests.
cannot afford to tarry, there are great challenges ahead of our nation, whether
they are in the fields of security, economy, education, diplomacy or
immigration, and they must be dealt with during the next Knesset. If we, as
politicians, can put the national interest above all, then there is no challenge
too great for our nation. That is the greatest test, and that is why last night
I became a politician.
The writer is a candidate for the 19th Knesset
with Yisrael Beytenu.