Friday, March 15, 2013

The New Israeli Cabinet

1. Well, you will happy to hear that the United Nations has at long
last decided to step up and defend mistreated suffering Syrian
civilians. The only itsy bitsy problem is that the ONLY
"mistreatment" of "Syrian civilians" that the UN Human Rights
Commission is concerned with is that of Golan Heights "Syrians" by
Israel. A new UN report condemns the "mistreatment" of "Syrians by
the Israeli "occupiers." The UN considers the Golan Heights, also
known as the Biblical Bashan and Gilad, to be "occupied." Thus the
"Syrians" living there, meaning mainly Druse, are victims of Israeli

Or to put this in different terms, with scores of Syrian civilians
murdered every day by the Asad junta, the only "Syrian" people whose
"mistreatment" the UN cares about the only ones who are NOT
mistreated, the only ones who are NOT suffering or being murdered.

2. Well, the new Israeli cabinet is more or less in place. And we
can now comment upon it.

I think the first important thing to do is emit a large sigh of
relief. It could have been FAR worse. Sure, there are still reasons
for worry and concern, there are some incompetent hacks in the
cabinet, and there are the usual empty silly meaningless cabinet jobs,
where a cabinet minister manages a de facto empty ministry (I call
them Potemkin ministries). In addition, there are other ministries
that should be shut down altogether because they do harm and simply
need to be eliminated. In fact, in a moment I will issue an open
invitation to Naftali Bennett to do just that.

But before that, the Defense Ministry is in the highly competent
hands of Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon. He is one of the better political
leaders in Israel and in fact I would prefer to see him replace
Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Gideon Saar, who was doing a fairly good
job in the last cabinet as Minister of Education and was fairly
aggressive against the tenured Left and other manifestations of
treason in pedagogic institutions, is now Minister of Interior, which
is also an important and powerful post. He is in charge of Israel's
local authorities (township governments), which are notoriously
corrupt. So he has the chance to clean up the muck. We will see if
he delivers. He can also evict the ISM "anarchists" and similar

The Education Ministry will be run by one of the more interesting
figures from Yair Lapid's party, although - like Lapid - he is a large
unknown. Shai Piron is an Orthodox rabbi with liberal and moderate
views, a humanist, and seems to be a decent guy. How he will handle
the Tenured Left remains to be seen.

Lapid will be Finance Minister, generally a thankless job in
Israel, the guy who gets blamed by everyone who thinks they deserve a
larger handout. Lapid is a great unknown, but he has a great
advantage in knowing nothing at all about economics and finance, but
realizing that he knows nothing. Most of the boondoggles in Israel in
economics were committed by politicians who imagined that they
understood something about economics. His predecessor Steinetz was a
professor of philosophy who also knew he knew nothing about economics,
and so did a reasonably good job, maybe B minus level, although might
have done better.

Gilad Ardan is one of the few Likud figures of intelligence and
he will run the Ministry of Communications, in charge of electronic
communications infrastrucure and its pricing. Steinetz has been
demoted to the Ministry of Energy, a largely empty and meaningless
post. Likud's Limor Livnat remains at the Ministry of Culture; she
has been snarling at the subsidiztion programs that prop up
anti-Israel leftist film-makers so she might do some good there.
Bennett will run the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, a word about
this follows.

Lieberman will remain the Foreign Minister, where he does not
really make policy but has the power to annoy the Left and the
anti-Israel urchins around the world. The semi-literate Amir Peretz
will run the Potemkin Ministry of Tourism, also an empty post where he
can do little mischief. Yael German, who had been a competent and
popular mayor of Herzliya, will run health. The other cabinet
ministers basically have honorary titles and little more than that,
sitting in empty Potemkin ministries.

The one true disaster so far in the cabinet was Netanyahu's turning
the Ministry of Justice over to Tzipi Livni, the head of one of the
two factions left over from Kadima, which misgoverned Israel under
Olmert and Sharon. The Minister of Justice is a powerful role and
participates in selection of judges. The judicial system in Israel is
already a disaster and allowing leftist birdbrained Livni ("Tzipi
Livni" in Hebrew means White Birdie) to select judges is the worst
decision so far by Netanyahu (well, other than his intention of
turning the whole Negev over to the Bedouins). Bibi could have given
her some meaningless post like minister of tourism or minister of the
retired, but folded. Disaster is likely to follow.

Another piece of good news is that none of the religious or
Chareidi parties will be sitting in the cabinet, for the first time
since - well - since ever, as far as I recall. That means the new
government can kick the butts of the Chareidim and slash back the
extortion granted to them, end their wholesale exemptions from
national or military service, and take them off welfare. We will see
if the government delivers.

I have saved Naftali Bennett for last. As you recall, I
supported Bennett before the election and still favor him and his
party. Bennett is not just a principled Zionist, he is also a
free-market-leaning entrepreneur, someone who has spoken out against
"corporate welfare," handouts to corporations, tax exemptions and

I have an open friendly challenge for Bennett. As the new
Minister of Commerce and Industry, the test of your success in the
post should be that when you LEAVE it in four years or whenever the
next election is held, this Ministry should not exist any longer.
Your challenge is to shut it down altogether. The Ministry is an
anti-productive, anti-competitive, dirigiste monstrosity, a
bureaucracy whose motivation is to preserve as many monopolies as
possible, to obstruct imports, and to "plan and control" as much of
the economy as possible in bolshevik Gosplan manner. In addition, the
Ministry has made profits in corporate Israel something that
bureaucrats ladle out, not something that hard work and
entrepreneurial imagination earn. The Ministry is also the main force
for interfering with imports and protecting special interests from
import competition.

Naftali, prove that I was correct in placing my faith in you.
Prove your commitment to principle and productivity.

After 65 years of interfering with the economy, close down this

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