Independence Day, to me, is a time of reflection.

It is difficult, I think, not to look back at how things were and how things are now, on any anniversary – let alone the anniversary of my nation.

But when I look at how things are now, I can’t help but feel a twinge of remorse.

I reflect upon the impossible feat that is the State of Israel, and I feel immense pride. The things we’ve accomplished here, against all odds, are truly marvellous. Against adversity, we’ve founded a thriving, colourful, open and liberal country. I feel proud to belong to the nation who’s accomplished this, and I feel proud that I was able to contribute to it, over the years, in my career of public service.

But I also feel like this accomplishment is under threat. Not from without, but from within.

In my time in government and in the Ministry of Defence, the guiding principle — the method, if you will — that allowed us to make rational, informed and professional decisions was the process of Thought, Debate, Decision and Action.

Thought — Research, gathering of information, bringing in experts, writing up reports — these were an integral and necessary precursor to any official debate in both the Ministry and Government.

Once that professional groundwork had been laid down, we were able to debate the pros and cons of a given topic – and to thereby make informed, thought-out decisions, which took into account the strategic, tactical, practical and ideological ramifications of acting upon them.

Looking at the events of recent days — the last-minute decision to take on the UN’s recommendations for African asylum seekers and then doubling-back on it, the last-minute decision to invite the Prime Minister to the Independence Day torchilighting ceremony and the subsequent declaration by the President and the Chairman of the Knesset to withdraw their attendance, last-minute policy changes in response to a tweet be Kachlon or Bennett — these are all clear indications, to me, that none of the phases of the method I have detailed are being utilised. There is no thought, no debate, no decision-making and no action — only reaction. Gut feelings and reflex.

Rather than national interest, Ministers are letting personal and small political interests guide them. How else can you explain ministers refusing to receive briefs from professionals prior to government meetings?

This is no way to run a country, and with every passing day, Netanyahu’s negligence in maintaining proper governance results in another chip in Israel’s institutions.

And no wonder. Any man, no matter how talented or gifted, cannot function with 20 police investigations on his record, several open cases against him and recommendations for indictments. Nobody in that position would have the mental and spiritual durability to disregard these things and devote his or her complete attention to strategic, long-term national thinking.

So professional briefings are done away with, proper debate is disregarded, the cracks widen enough for small-time politicians to push through – and we can see the flaming results before us.

This can’t go on.

Right or Left, we should all be looking around us and rushing to put a stop to the collapse of the institutions we’ve worked so long to erect, and which we celebrate today.

Netanyahu’s got to go.

About the Author
Shimon Sheves was General Director of the Prime Minister's office under the late Yizhak Rabin. He is currently the Founder and Chairman of HolistiCyber, which provides nation-state level cyber security solution.
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