Act your age

What makes you think you have something to contribute in your golden days that others, 30 years younger, cannot do better?
Former defense minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, on December 22, 2017. (Flash90)
Former defense minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, on December 22, 2017. (Flash90)

Politics aside, I would like to ask our politicians a question. Most of us common folk are forcefully retired at the age of 67, or 64 for the weaker sex. We take our experience, our energy, our potential and talents, we wrap them in a non-recyclable plastic bag, and throw them into one of those large frog repositories – our domestic garbage containers are not large enough to accept them. We do this for the public good, to make way for the next generation to enter in our stead. New talents with fresh minds and alternative approaches – what could be better for the country?

Teachers, directors, university professors, doctors, bankers. All put out to graze at an age decided upon by Those Above. AKA members of Knesset.

But MKs have no retirement age. They can go when they please, unless ousted by tired constituents. My question is not about the obvious injustice of this. The gods feasting in Olympus are far too supreme to be bound by the coarse rules of mortals. My question is – why do you want it? What makes you, Mr. Ehud Barak, (one of our most decorated soldiers and total failure of a politician), feel that the country needs you? At the age of 76, what can you contribute that others, 30 years younger, cannot do better?

The present Knesset has 19 members who would be retired according to the law. Including our very own prime minister, who seems determined to outdo Yosef Burg, the legendary MK who served for 40 years straight, mostly in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (The story is told that Mr. Burg asked his small grandson what he would like to be when he is older. “I want to be a Minister of Internal Affairs just like you, saba,” the child said eagerly. “Why would they need two?” wondered the indefatigable Mr. Burg.)

Mr. Moshe Bogie Ya’alon, you are 68 years old. Yes, you have given your all to the country. You fought in many wars, and when there was no more place in the military for you, you fought in the political arena which you ultimately lost. You just declared that you are founding a new political party. Why, Mr. Ya’alon? Are you bored? Is it arrogance — or the fear of becoming irrelevant? Your actions are splitting the very camp you claim to represent. Maybe you are working undercover on behalf of Mr. Netanyahu as you steal votes from the central left and thereby strengthen the right.

Rabbi Litzman – you have battled bravely for your Haredi community, but at the grand age of 70, you really have to accept that attitudes have changed. It is counterproductive to call the LGBT community “sinners,” as you have done in the past, smoking kills, army exemption causes the biggest rift in our nation. You are entitled to your views, but your inability to read the public mood is almost frightening. Nonetheless, you will not step down, fearing that younger candidates with more liberal opinions might take your place.

To the 70 years-old-plus in public office — I am not claiming that we cannot benefit from your experience and wisdom. Yet how many of us at your age wake up in the morning without a groan or a grump? Which septuagenarian is not on some medication, beginning to lose their hearing, jaunty step and steady hand. Does this detract from your ability to serve in the Knesset, claiming that your mind is still as active as it was 60 years ago? I contend that it is not. It is harder to adapt, to absorb new concepts, to understand the mentality of the 21st century.  Yesterday, Tsipi Livni (aged 60) said, “Each of us has to put our ego aside for the common goal that is a revolution – that will be the test.”

And basically that is what it is all about. Ego. Pride. Power. A place in history. All in the guise of toppling the present government and creating a new better one. Please, leave the revolution to those with dreams and a future. Yours is the glorious (or questionable) past. Write your memoirs. Play with your grandchildren. Take care of your health. Israel thanks you for all you have done. Now back down gracefully.

About the Author
Judy was born in England, but studied in the Hebrew University, after which, she taught English and worked as a translator. She was raised in Bnei Akiva, and has seven children, all of whom served in IDF and are married. She is one of the founding families of Hashmonaim, a village near Modiin, and has strong views on our rights in the Land of Israel, religious presence in the Land and our obligation to serve the country.
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