The same Barak, the same Bibi

It's now clear that Barak never intended to go along with Netanyahu to attack Iran before the US election.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak.390 (photo credit: Ariel Harmoni / GPO)
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak.390
(photo credit: Ariel Harmoni / GPO)
It is now clear to many that Ehud Barak never intended to go along with Binyamin Netanyahu to attack Iran before the US election. Here we are, the moment of truth, a critical point, the crossroads of the big decision, and here is Netanyahu searching left and right, but Ehud is gone. He ran away (“barakh“ in Hebrew) again.
Suddenly, it is reported, Barak does not think we must, should or can attack Iran before the US election.
It reminds me of the Tze’elim II disaster, in which five IDF commandos were killed in a training accident in the Negev 20 years ago. There also, Barak – then the army chief – designed and conceived a crazy and unrealistic operation. There also, it caused tremendous harm and fuss, and there also, nothing happened in the end (and there was no chance of it happening in the first place).
This time, after he took Bibi by the hand and gave him a guided tour of all possible districts of panic and pain, Barak left the arena at the last moment, leaving behind a cloud of hot and stale air. Meanwhile, he made a living, for nearly four years, out of Netanyahu’s “Iran-phobia.”
But not to worry, in November there’s the US election, which will immediately be followed by Barak renewing his act, and the countdown will begin again. He still needs Netanyahu’s fur as a place to nest; otherwise, how will he stay defense minister? By the way, there is another version of events, seeping into Netanyahu’s environment recently: that Barak will do to Bibi what he did to Ehud Olmert, a typical sting operation – turn against him, stab him in the back and retire, in order to get into somewhere in the political center.
The behavior of Barak’s people, with regard to economic issues (especially Independence MKs Shalom Simhon and Orit Noked) is circumstantial evidence of this plan. And yet Barak and Netanyahu are still together.
During Olmert’s administration, the security establishment had difficulties persuading the defense minister to hold even one discussion on Iran. It did not bother him.
When Netanyahu arrived and got from IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi a comprehensive overview of what was happening, his eyes gleamed (it was Bibi’s wedding anniversary and he called Sara and told her he’d be late, and he returned the next day to continue the overview).
Barak saw the opportunity (he is good at this) and became, from that moment, the angry prophet of doom.
He simply took a ride with the ayatollahs. Fortunately for him, security officials under his command continued to object to the adventure, so his presence in this saga became especially critical for Netanyahu, for whom Iran is much more than a threat – it is a real existential threat. And the rest is history.
But there is also the hysteria. The new polygraph affair, manufactured by Bibi, would have almost been funny if I hadn’t remembered that it is the cabinet of the State of Israel that is the issue.
Following media leaks on the cabinet meeting on Iran this week, Netanyahu’s staff reported: “The prime minister is considering sending all participants to take a polygraph test.”
Considering? Why considering? Decide! Send or don’t send! Considering and reconsidering, struggling.
I wonder if Netanyahu would also volunteer to take a polygraph test. And whether the defense minister would finally meet the polygraph face to face (I don’t envy the polygraph machine in this case).
Allow me to bet that this is a shallow and hollow leadership exercise of the prime minister conducted in an attempt, perhaps, to get rid of this burden – the cabinet. What is it good for anyway, this large cabinet? It’s better to take the decisions in a smaller group of eight ministers, or maybe even in a group of three (Bibi, Barak and Sara).
When setting up a government of 30 ministers, the cabinet also becomes monstrous and complicated, and do not forget that every minister has his aides and advisers who are in the midst of things, and the military officers that participate, and the prime minister’s people. It ends up with a multi-participant meeting and it is clear that at the end something will come out.
It happened with Bibi, it happened with them all.
Let’s go five years back and remember that summer in which the Syrian nuclear reactor was destroyed. A very short time after the bombing, an arrogant figure appeared in Channel 1’s Mabat News studio, and when asked about “the incident in Syria” that until that moment no one in Israel had addressed, replied: “Yes, I was updated on this, and I backed it, but it’s too early to talk about it.”
This character was, you guessed it, Binyamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition, who related to the subject live on Israeli television – and his words could be interpreted as suggesting that it had been an Israeli operation.
So when Netanyahu recently scolded the present opposition leader, Shaul Mofaz, for leaking things, that was hilarious. This is the same Bibi who presented in the Knesset a classified and sensitive paper (“The Stauber document”); this is the same Bibi who it was revealed in Yediot Aharonot once kept sensitive and confidential information to himself after losing the premiership; this is the same Bibi who sends his national security adviser to a rabbi who is over 90 years old to get his approval to attack Iran; it is the same Bibi whose people are whitewashing “black material” with journalists, in an effort to discredit opposition politicians. Nothing is new under the sun!