Barak rises

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, January 14:

Look around: On the shelf are four truly realistic candidates to head the next government – Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ami Ayalon and Ehud Barak. All of the others do not stand a chance. How should we choose between them? The decisive criterion upon which they should be judged in the current state of affairs is their courage, their ability to make daring decisions. While everyone is wallowing in relatively secondary matters – corruption, the economy, Iran or the system of government – even though everyone knows what should really be done to put an end to the thickest cloud that weighs upon the state, the cloud of occupation, the important question is which of them has the courage to thrust his hand into the fire. With a degree of sadness, it must be said that the only one of the four who is endowed with real courage is Barak. Thus, his return to the political arena is good news, encouraging, and the stir the laconic announcement of his return aroused is unequivocal proof of this.

Israel has never faced a situation like the one it encounters today. A loss of direction has spread everywhere. With chronically apathetic and passive public opinion, a feeble leadership that has lost even the aspiration to bring about change, and an internal and external reality that is dangerous in an unprecedented way, we need to now put aside all of the other considerations. In normal times, a leader should be judged by his way of life, his interaction with those around him, his personal integrity and moral standing. But these are not normal times. Something truly big has to occur in order to generate the change.

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