Prof. Barbash’s decision in the end to decline from taking the post as head of the national campaign to manage the Corona crisis is indicative of Netanyahu’s failure to pilot the ship in stormy waters.
While some of the blame may be placed on Gantz’s shoulders – and I am no fan of his – Bibi’s failure goes much deeper than that. He did not listen to the advice given him by the former Health Ministry director, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, and opened up the country far too quickly without allowing time to measure the impact of each change.
Prof. Barbash understands what a mess the country is in. He wanted to help, but understood that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. How can you command a national strategy to fight the pandemic when you have to compete with a Cabinet headed by Bibi, the Corona Committee headed by Yifat Shasha-Biton, and the Minister of Health, Yuli Edelstein?!!! In theory all of these authorities, which are Likkud appointments, should have ceded power to Barbash, but none of them would appear to have been prepared to do so.
Our prime minister is an immensely capable individual and contributed greatly to Israel’s economy, her relations with other countries and her standing in the world. However, he also failed on many counts. He allowed the gap between rich and poor to grow. He neglected the needs of the health service and our educational system, and he caused immense damage to the relationship between Israel and liberal Jews throughout the world.
However, perhaps his greatest fault, which he has in common with many of his ilk, has been his inability to groom a successor seeing every rising star as a threat to his own dominance.
In any normal democracy a prime minister who is about to be put on trial accused of fraud, bribery and breach of trust would have handed in his resignation long ago. Instead he is using every legal and political strategy at his disposal to cling on to the reins of power. It is time for him to go. However, unfortunately, there is no one of calibre who has been groomed to succeed him.