Olmert: Israel a nation of grumblers

PM says Israelis complain in almost every situation; says "no nation gives its citizens all they want."

olmert pensive 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
olmert pensive 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Israelis have become "a nation of grumblers" who complain about most everything, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday afternoon, during roundtable discussions in the Knesset between representatives of the government and the social and business sectors. "It's possible to identify the fraction lines - when we changed from a positive people to a nation of grumblers who complain in almost every situation," Olmert said, speaking before his dramatic announcement on Wednesday night that he would not run for the party leadership when Kadima holds its primaries in September. Olmert said the state did not have the means and could not be expected to provide for all the needs of its citizens. "It must be understood that there are some things the state cannot do: It can't combat the Iranian threat while caring for the education of Jews in the former Soviet Union, and also providing fully for welfare, education and housing needs," he said. The premier said a list of priorities was needed when allocating the country's resources. "We need to define for ourselves what are the state's functions, what it does and what it should do," he explained. "I want to define realistic expectations. We're not the richest country in the world, or one that is easier to live in." Further, he said, "We're not inventing anything. Everything we're talking about here is part of the narrative of... issues being debated in other societies in Europe and America," Olmert said, but added that "there is no nation that gives everything its citizens want to be given."