Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | December 4, 2006

Ministry of What?

Whew! I must have just woken up from a very long, very bad dream. I dreamed that the President was accused of rape and sexual harassment, the Justice Minister was on trial for sexual harassment, and Israel went to war with Hizbullah (I mean, really! I had to dream that! How absurd to think that Israel would conduct an actual war with a terror organization!). I dreamed that Israel went back into Gaza, that Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, that Palestinian factions were firing Kassams at Sderot. I dreamed about strikes at the airport and general public-sector strikes. I dreamed that every time I turned around, Israel was in deeper and deeper, bother domestically and internationally, that poverty was getting worse and worse, that budget cuts were becoming increasingly harsh and once again taking a toll on the weakest sectors of our society.

Clearly, it must have all been part of some bizarre nightmare, and none of those things actually happened. Obviously, our national budget is balancing quite nicely, and we have some extra money in the coffers to play around with. I mean, what other plausible explanation could there possibly be for the government to give the go ahead for the creation of the Ministry of Magic Strategic Threats, a ministry which even the Attorney General admits that, “there exists a lack of clarity on the role of this ministry, and this considering the government’s decision that ‘the establishment of this office is not intended to reduce the authority of another minister in the domain of his or her ministry.” Twenty staff positions have been approved for this new ministry. Apparently, it takes that many pencil pushers to decide what this office is supposed to do (or maybe it’s just nineteen, and the twentieth individual will be in charge of taking food orders and making latté runs for the others).

Perhaps I’m the naive one who doesn’t understand how politics works (hey, I thought the government was supposed to serve the citizens, not themselves!), but it seems to me that creating an entirely new ministry (especially one with such a bogus-sounding name) in order to show appreciation to the head of a large party for his role in strengthening a weak, corrupt, dysfunctional government is, hmmm, how shall I put this – a bit out of line. It would be out of line under any normal circumstances (though what passes for normal in this country stretches way beyond anything that my imagination can muster), but given that the politician in question is Avigdor Liberman, well, shit! The man and his party practically advocate transfer of the Israeli Arab population (offering financial incentives for them to leave qualifies, does it not?), and their platform is nothing short of racist and divisive – not really a recipe for success when society is already falling apart, I should think (but then again, what the hell do I know, anyway?). With this snarky little move, our politicians have proven once again that saving their own (very expensive) seats is more important than ensuring the integrity of our government. How do these people sleep at night, how do they look themselves in the mirror every morning, knowing that they’re wasting funds that could be spent in a thousand different ways to improve the lives of regular Israelis?

How do the Labor politicians sleep with themselves, knowing that they’re also sleeping with Liberman? To be honest, I never expected that Olmert would amount to much as Prime Minister. I never had high hopes for him (little did I know just how badly he would manage to botch things or how quickly he would manage to do so, but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish). I sort of had a feeling that he would fly in whatever direction the wind took him, never letting his principles get in the way of his political career. As a result, while I am disappointed in his behavior, I can’t say that I’m surprised. He’s an opportunist who got lucky beyond his wildest dreams when Arik Sharon was struck down, and he’s damned if he’s going to give up his seat without a fight. Then there’s the Labor party, associated with the political left and a proponent of workers’ rights and welfare issues. I didn’t vote for them, but considered doing so. I essentially agreed with their platform issues, and for the most part, liked their key politicians. Despite their relative appeal to my sensibilities, the idea of voting for them just didn’t feel right, and in the end, I went with my gut and felt good about doing so. Thank bloody god! Apparently, unlike the majority of the Labor party members, my principles are important to me, and I’d have been quite perturbed if I’d voted for a party that forsook its ideals and instead opted to get in bed with the devil, just so they could keep the bed.

What I want to know is, why is it that when all of these people start playing around in bed together, I’m the one who wakes up with a bad taste in my mouth…


  1. And did you see this bit? “The government also decided that the Nativ organization, which operates in the former Soviet states and forms links with Jews intending to immigrate to Israel, would be moved from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Strategic Threats.”

    Is this because the government sees these Russian Jews as a threat, or is it because it sees Nativ as a threat?

  2. Maybe it’s a typo – it’s actually the “Ministry of Strategic Treats” – and they’ll distribute Krembos (or lemon sours, depending on if it’s the Hebrew version or the English version) at strategic locations around the country to make the locals feel better about what’s happening to Israel…

  3. and here i was thinking that ‘labor party’ is a good combination.

  4. I think a Ministry of Special Treats would be fantastic… I would consider working there. Could we have weekly meetings to determine what treat to have!! Take treat polls… ooh, I could waste serious time and money at that! 🙂

  5. I hate politics. I just get so angry with politicians INACTION just so they can keep their jobs. If they did what they were suppose to do, like make their country better and work properly, then they would be out of a job………

  6. Cool, good old (hmm.. not meant old… but … ) Liza is back.

    Although I was thinking that the first right for strange ministry names goes back to Shimon Peres – who got the title “Minister of Negev and Galil development”… that on top of the infrastructure and industry ministers that somehow do (or actually do not) the same things but for the whole country.

    I promised myself not to get angry because of political issues but here I get mad again…

    Da Liberman!!!

  7. I wonder; is it ever a good idea to elect anyone to high office bearing such a disturbing resemblance to Mr Burns…

    …or maybe I’m mistaken, and such an action is in fact eeeeexcellent…

    But this is a low blow, and unbecoming to a blog where such good politically metaphorical writing has made a welcome reappearance, not that I haven’t enjoyed a personal angle into life in Israel!

    But you’re definitely on to something here; ministries we’d all love to see! Ministry of Strategic Treats! Brilliant! Personally my vote would go for Pineapple Lumps rather than Krembos, but that’s just me…

  8. finnspadre,

    Pineapple lumps? Does that actually exists? sounds really quite unappetizing…

    I always loved the Ministry of Silly Walks myself…

  9. Oh dear me yes NRG, they are a New Zealand delicacy; a pineapple-flavoured marshmallow nugget encased in chocolate… Unfortunately, like Guinness, they don’t travel so I hear, so you’re going to have to go an awfully long way to try one. It’s definitely a one-thing-to-try-before-you-die kind of thing; I can highly recommend it!

  10. as long as you’re sure I won’t actually die as a result of eating one…

    I’m open to new things. How far do I have to travel? Did I mention that I really hate marshmellow anything?

  11. Well, then… sounds like it’s time for a revolution!

    Ben Gurion Lives!

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