(Government Press Office)
9 January 2007
Haaretz - http://www.haaretz.com
Ma'ariv - http://www.nrg.co.il
Yediot Aharonot - http://www.ynetnews.com
Globes - http://www.globes.co.il
Hazofe - http://www.hazofe.co.il
Jerusalem Post - http://www.jpost.com
Haaretz argues that the country's leaders are not suited to their task. According to the newspaper, the lack of public responsibility among elected officials, foremost Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, can go only so far. Peretz must leave his post, and someone worthy should replace him immediately, regardless of the results of Labor's May primaries.
If the prime minister had some leadership qualities, he would have replaced the defense minister a long time ago. Given that Peretz is not regarded as a successful defense minister it can be assumed that if Olmert were to present Peretz with an ultimatum and ask him to take a different portfolio, Labor would not leave the coalition.
However, that is not how scores are kept in the government. Barak announced he is a candidate for defense minister so he wouldn't be seen as a threat to Olmert; Peretz announced he would not step down so that he could maintain his power before the Labor primaries; and the entire government is sitting and waiting for the five members of the Winograd Committee to do the work the government was elected to do.
This cowardly behavior, which lacks any semblance of statesmanship, is sufficient to show all of them as unworthy of serving in the government. It is impossible to negotiate with the Egyptians, the Palestinians or the Chinese, and to make promises regarding military preparations against the Iranian bomb, when a minor thing that needs fixing is not being fixed.
Yediot Ahronot says that the county's institutions are crumbling one after the other, and are losing both their credibility and their ability to properly function. But a dangerous line is crossed when policemen are attacked, as policemen were recently by a pair of car thieves they had caught in the act. The editors advocate severe sentences for those who attack police officers.
Hatzofeh notes Finance Ministry Budget Director Kobi Haber's appointment of a special team to fight economic crimes. The editors point out that the police already have a similar unit and question the need for another one.
The Jerusalem Post takes issue with the moral stance of the Israeli government regarding the release of the kidnapped soldiers. Recently, says the editor, officials in Prime Minister Olmert's office have promised a "very, very large" prisoner release, despite the fact that security officials argue that these prisoners "always return to terrorism" and warn that, judging from the current increase in terrorist activity, a new "intifada" is about to break out.
The "no capitulation to ransom" Olmert stance of July 2006 and the "large prisoner release" Olmert of today cannot both be right. While there is no easy choice between victims, current and future, and while this most acute of dilemmas is anything but black and white, Olmert's original stance is the more morally persuasive.
Yediot Ahronot, in its second editorial, describes Ehud Barak as "used goods." The editors ascribe to him exceptional leadership qualities except one, "He is not a mensch, a human being." The paper says that Barak's supporters now claim that he has improved in this department.
Yediot Ahronot, in its third editorial, laments that the underworld has taken control of recycling business and urges the police to put a stop to it.
[Eitan Haber and Nitzan Kedar wrote today's editorials in Yediot Ahronot and Hatzofeh, respectively.]
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