Middle Israel: Sins to atone for

The apologies and regrets that should be coming from the mouths of Israel's leaders.

amotz asa el 88 (photo credit: )
amotz asa el 88
(photo credit: )
Ariel Sharon: I should never have sent Jews to live in places from which I of all people ended up evicting them, their children and their businesses. All those years, I should have been more polite while debating those who proposed early in the day what I ended up executing at the end of the day. I should never have placed in the hands of the party membership that unpredictable, thankless and impressionable lot the power to reshape, let alone undo, my policy. I certainly should never have promised to respect their verdict, and they should not have believed me either. Now we are all wiser: I know not to ask them and they know not to believe me. I should never have allowed my child to enter politics. Everything he did for me I could have gotten from others, and what he has lost, how will he ever restore? I should have demanded of those mesmerized UN diplomats to have retroactively endorsed my invasion of Lebanon. Binyamin Netanyahu: I should not have resigned; not then, when it was all a fait accompli and I could only carry the media's attention for that long. Even the markets' initial excitement following my departure only lasted one evening. I should have maneuvered him into firing me; then everyone would have been on my side the public liked us as a duo. Did he not fire me because he knew that, or because he knew I couldn't sustain my urge to challenge him? I should have resigned; I should have resigned back when it all began, when the rancher shared his plan with Yoel Marcus before showing it to me. I should have taken a stand, appeared principled and emerged vindicated. Now I also have Uzi Landau to contend with; had I resigned back when he was fired, I would have stopped him in his tracks. Then again, there was still a lot to do in the economy, and also I actually did want Gaza relinquished. Whatever, but to see the following morning that mayor from Binyamina succeed me, the finance minister from MIT? Do I really have to drink this potion, every morning, once Army Radio, once Israel Radio, often both? Damn. I certainly should not have demanded the primaries' rescheduling. I should have waited patiently for the security situation to deteriorate, and let the people slowly draw conclusions for themselves. The Palestinians could always be counted on to kick the bucket, but the Likud's party hacks? What do they know? I go to their weddings, circumcisions, bat mitzvas and what not; I go through pain to confront the Histadrut, privatize the banks, sell Bezeq and break up the seaports, then I deliver the most structured, reasoned, illustrated, punctuated and impassioned speech on why he is leading us all astray, and finally all those hacks can only think of is their jobs. Maybe they just don't deserve me. Maybe I should be the one establishing a new party. R. Mordechai Eliyahu I should never have said disengagement will never happen. Now this will hound me the way Moses could never shake off that one time when he lost his cool and hit the rock. Then again, how was I supposed to know? I really thought it won't happen. I also should never have said soldiers should tell their commanders they can't carry out that order. Now everyone knows how small in number we are. Actually, this was also new to me; where was everyone? How could it be that I, from under my decorous turban and from within that majestically embroidered gown, would utter an order and of all those thousands of soldiers hardly a handful would care a fig? Frankly, that is already not my failure, but His. I should have visited those poor families who, because they believed me, did not prepare for their displacement. Maybe I should also have invited some of them to share with me my own residence. Then again, that would mean admitting the pullout actually happened. Limor Livnat: I should never have jumped ship; not that day, not that way. What ever happened to my weather vane? It used to be so reliable. Having pioneered what political scientists may well label, admiringly, opportunistic idealism, I now have a patent for idealistic opportunism. What was I supposed to do, resign back when it all began? We still had my reform to complete, and I still had to see how everyone else would behave and how everything else would unfold. That I can't regret. If you're in the leadership business, but aren't really a leader, then that's what you do: You wait to see where someone else is heading, and then you just hold on to his belt. There will always be several idiots who will mistake the one holding the belt for the one wearing it. Moshe Ya'alon: I should never have challenged them publicly. It's one thing to think, or even to say in a closed forum, that the prime minister's idea is dangerous; saying that to lawmakers is an entire differently matter. In a country where generals in the heat of battle crossed fortified desert passes and artillery-showered maritime obstacles in arguable disregard of their superiors, displaying this kind of attitude can get you fired. Maybe this prime minister has been reading too much history. Mahmoud Abbas: I should have confronted them from Day One. Now I don't know where to start. What am I supposed to do, jail Mahmoud a-Zahar? Provoke a civil war? What for, to satisfy Bush, Cheney and Rice? Will they come to defend me when the lynch mob gathers in Ramallah? Have they forgotten fearless Yasser Arafat's timeless statement at Camp David: "But they will kill me?" Ehud Barak: I should never have entered politics. I can't tell you what it cost me to endorse the octogenarian, and to do so as publicly, unconditionally and pompously as I just have. Wherever I go, people tell me all this violence befell us because of what I did at Camp David, and they recall vividly, and recount acidly, the chaos that characterized my premiership, my disparagement of rivals, my abandonment of allies, my economic shallowness and social hypocrisy. As the one who once apologized to one part of Israeli society, shouldn't I now apologize to the rest of it, Shimon? Shimon Peres: The funniest thing happened to me the other day. I was in an elevator when this passenger politely asks me to publicly atone, if not for having gone to Oslo then at least for having been bamboozled there and for the whole thing having blown to pieces, costing us lives, land, money and what not. I cracked up. True, the wall I didn't want is up, the withdrawal I wanted bilateral is unilateral, and the PA I designated for an honest, strong and reliable partner is corrupt, weak, hostile and even less reliable than Amir Peretz. Yet with settlements vanishing, the Likud splitting, my third premiership looming and the best part of my career well ahead of me why should I atone for anything?
Readers’ Opinions: Sins to atone for Which events of the past year do you think Israeli and world leaders should apologize for? What moves do you think public figures might be regretting or wishing they had played differently? On the occasion of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of introspection, The Jerusalem Post invites readers to come up with their own “atonements.” Blatantly offensive comments will not be published. Send us your comments >>