Time for a Change in Israel's Political System

The mantra for Israeli politicians: I'm important, not the country.

Tags: Ehud Barak
Ronn Torossian

OpEds ברק ויעלון בהרמת כוסית
ברק ויעלון בהרמת כוסית

As the CEO of one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the world, naturally I believe PR is vital for any nation.  Yet, what’s more important than PR is security.

I write this in reference to Ehud Barak – who has attempted to do strong PR for himself in recent days, but at the same time has done great damage to Israel. Of course, former Prime Minister Barak revealed that his desire to attack Iran was squashed by Israel Defense Forces chief Gabi Ashkenazi and ministers Dan Meridor, Benny Begin, Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Ya’alon, who refused to stand with him on three occasions he argued that Israel should destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Leaving aside whether Barak was right or wrong to urge an attack, his leaking of this information will harm Israel.

It will also leave politicians hesitant to speak openly – even in private meetings. As even a Haaretz columnist asked this week, “How can a minister speak openly and freely in the security cabinet if the new norm is speak and publish, because I’m important, not the country?

The challenge is that Israel’s political system is designed for people’s self-interests in so many ways. Hence, a trend of PR being the key decision maker for so much.  As former Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel stated in an Arutz Sheva interview, "We've been living for many years in a country where politicians use intelligence information for their own agendas."

Israel is a country whose Economic Minister is a felon who has been convicted of taking bribes – Can there be any question that there must be changes to the system? Today’s Education Minister can be tomorrow’s Defense Minister. Every time a government changes, one sees a new Tourism Minister, a new Culture Minister – these are real functions which any State needs to best function. 

Regardless of which political party governs, PR and media should be secondary to what is best for the nation.