Dror: Interview may have been a mistake

Winograd member says controversial statements were a misconstrued attempt to educate the public.

dror orlev lindenstrauss (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
dror orlev lindenstrauss
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The State Control Committee on Wednesday convened to debate the controversial remarks made by Winograd Committee member Professor Yehezkel Dror in an interview with Maariv. Dror defended himself at the session, reiterating that he had only wanted to help the public make the right decision as to who should lead Israel. In the interview, Dror had implied that furthering the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and keeping Binyamin Netanyahu out of the Prime Minister's Office were "worthy considerations." According to Maariv, Dror said: "If we think that the prime minister could further the peace process then that is a very worthy consideration. A peace process, if it is successful, will save so many lives that it is a weighty consideration." When asked whether Olmert should be allowed to see his tenure through to its conclusion, Dror said: "We must think about the consequences. What do you prefer, a government with Olmert and Barak, or new elections that will put Netanyahu in power?" At the outset of the deliberation, committee chairman MK Zevulun Orlev (NU\NRP) said: "I am practically positive that 90 percent of those who read the interview would answer in the affirmative if asked whether Professor Dror had expressed a political opinion." The interview, Orlev said, had "raised question and perhaps even sullied the Winograd Committee, which was allegedly skewed by political considerations, and this necessitates an inquiry." Dror responded: "All of my media appearances were geared towards helping the public consider its stance. It could be that I made a mistake, but it should be remembered that the interview Maariv [published] is a highly abridged version of a 10-hour-long interview. The interview is true but the partial headline is a distortion." Regarding his statement that choosing a prime minister who could further the peace process is a "worthy consideration," Dror said that "If, for the sake of argument, there is a man who bears a heavy responsibility and is an unparalleled heart surgeon then it would be worthwhile to allow him to continue operating. The statement was meant to explain that on the one hand there is also the value of responsibility." The public, Dror said, should not construe his words as the expression of an unequivocal support of Olmert and the peace process. The public, Dror insisted, "must be helped in their decision - and it is the government's obligation to improve itself." "To draw conclusions from newspaper headlines, without reading; without looking into the matter, is a sign of distrust, suspicion and borderline hostility," Dror said. "There is a difference between disagreements on fundamental principles and going up in arms over a headline in the paper." Dror claimed that he had no idea as to the political affiliations and opinions of his fellow Winograd Committee members. "We sat in the committee for almost six months and I don't know the opinions of the rest of the committee members and they don't know mine. Is a newspaper headline enough to defame a committee?" Likud MK Limor Livnat was unconvinced by Dror's account of his intentions. "The public understands perfectly well what you wanted to explain to it - that Olmert and Barak should be kept in power," Livnat remarked, and added that political opinions may have influenced the decision "not to refer to the political echelon in more lucid terminology."