It’s a ritual that Israel observes before every election. One or more highly-qualified exemplars of what an Israeli parliamentarian lose out in their party primaries or decide, in disgust or exasperation, not to run again. This year’s latest victim is Isaac Ben-Israel, MK for the Kadima Party.
In an interview with Ari Shavit in this morning’s Ha’aretz (which doesn’t, for some reason, appear on the website of the paper’s English edition) Ben-Israel explains why he’s not seeking reelection, and why he’s disappointed with Kadima. “The real strategic threat to Israel is the state of its political system. That threat is more dangerous than the Iranian bomb and the economic crisis,” he declares.
Ben-Israel (whose name in Hebrew is Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael) has one of the best brains ever to grace the Knesset. He came to the legislature after a long career of IDF service as a pilot, in air force operations and intelligence, and weapons development; he has headed the Israel Space Agency and the security studies program of Tel Aviv University. In the midst of all that he managed to get advanced degrees in physics, mathematics, and philosophy.
So what? The Knesset has plenty of generals. It’s even got another philosopher, the Likud’s Yuval Steinitz .
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