Is it wrong to hanker for someone a bit more stirring as President of the re-born, modern State of Israel? Someone with deep Jewish and Zionist credentials, proven grit, intellectual heft, and international stature?
Published in Israel Hayom, June 8, 2014.
The election campaign for President of Israel has been boring. The candidates are humdrum. Uninspiring is an understatement. Now the campaign has also proven to be sullied and sordid.
With Silvan Shalom and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer knocked out of the race by scandals – that clearly were dredged to the surface by targeted opposition research designed to kill their candidacies – we’re left with only one real contender – Ruby Rivlin – and a truly lackluster bunch of others.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Edelstein are right to consider postponing the election.
Is it wrong to hanker for someone a bit more stirring as President of the re-born, modern State of Israel? Someone with deep Jewish and Zionist credentials, proven grit, intellectual heft, and international stature? Someone who truly represents the passions and aspirations of the Jewish return to Zion after two thousand years, despite forced assimilation and persecution? Someone with a vision for a more unified global Jewish world? A real hero?
There is such man walking proudly yet humbly among us, and his name is Natan Sharansky. Former Prisoner of Zion, icon of the grand and successful Russian immigration to Israel, healer of Israel-Diaspora divisions, paragon of moral principles. There is no one better suited for the post at this time.
Sharansky often jokes that unlike most politicians, he went to jail (in the Soviet Union, on trumped up charges of treason against Mother Russia) before entering politics. Oh, how so bitterly true that meant-to-be-funny statement is in the current context. The joke softly reminds us that Sharansky is a cut above the current dreary cast of candidates in the “political probity” category too. This again makes him the candidate Israel urgently needs for President.
Netanyahu has royally screwed-up the handling of this campaign. Along with Foreign Minster Lieberman, and ministers Lapid and Bennett, he could have and should have coalesced behind a stellar candidate months ago, and run him or her successfully on the high road.
With the obvious deterioration of this foul-smelling race, and a good reason for a time-out, now they have a chance to rectify matters. Run Natan for President, and give us all a reason to smile with pride and optimism.