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Jewish World Review August 27, 2001/ 8 Elul, 5761

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

Jackie & Raul
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Dear Bibi: Seek treatment, not power -- WE are a couple of Jews who are charmed, impressed, and delighted with Benjamin Netanyahu. That's why what we are about to write in this column is meant with love not with rancor.

We would like to publicly plead with you Mr. Netanyahu not to make another sound about trying to replace Sharon as Prime Minister of Israel. Nobody is better equipped to be a prime minister of a country than Netanyahu, but he wants the job now which would make him the right man but exactly at the wrong time. Right now, because he's a man without a job that befits his immense ambitions, his natural frustrations have created an unbalanced personality and his lust for personal fulfillment make him feel that Israel needs him as Prime Minister.

However, the real need is for him to see a good doctor.

People are stupid if they expect any politician to be a stable, balanced, objective person. The drive for power that propels anybody into that profession derives from an inner intensity that is obsessive at best and neurotic ever more often. That's why we shouldn't be surprised that Netanyahu could sincerely convince himself that Israel is now desperate for his return to power.

But if he saw a psychiatrist instead of seeing himself in headlines, he'd find out that the reason he's not the Prime Minister at the moment is precisely because he doesn't deserve to be. Nobody ever represented Israel better than Netanyahu on the great stages of the free world. Better than anybody else, he knew how to talk and look and act as if he's born for the part. He gloried in the role, glamorized the nation, and created more excitement and celebration than Israel ever enjoyed before.

Unfortunately, the job of the Prime Minister depends more on actions than on acting. In the midst of the turbulent crises constantly enveloping Israel, his brilliance as a performer could not replace his indecision and confusion because he had no clear sense of direction. He was like the captain of a rudderless ship. He knew where he wanted to go but he had no idea of how to get there. As a result, he presented the contradictory picture of a tough, brilliant man who was determined to accomplish something but didn't know exactly how or what.

Netanyahu mesmerized the population as nobody ever did before. He sounded like a man with a mission who knew how to dramatize a new vision.

Unfortunately, because he lacked a clear sense of direction, he slowly led to more and more confusion because a weary population desperately needed to feel that there was an end in sight and he couldn't seem to provide any answers as to how, when, or where it will happen. Despite all the adulation for this gifted performer, the people turned to Barak, who they thought was exactly the opposite kind of a personality, a man who made no pretense of style, no flair for flamboyance, no brilliant gifts of articulation.

In plain English, they were looking for a man of action, not a man of words. They thought Barak, a military hero, would somehow provide the answer to their draining, elusive, and torturous problem of constant violence.

But Barak disappointed Israel even more than Netanyahu. He took exactly the opposite approach than people had expected. Instead of the military hero, he acted like the neighborhood nerd who was willing to give away the store, the house, the farm, and the family in order not to have a fight. This time the country became so terribly disillusioned that they turned to the man they thought was the most inconceivable possibility for Prime Minister.

We went from a great performer to a klutzy performer to a man who can't perform at all. But just as Churchill saved England and Roosevelt saved America, Sharon will save Israel. Israel doesn't need a man of style, it needs a man of substance.

While Netanyahu was tough and confused, and Barak was a hero who was helpless, Sharon is consistent, undeterred, and unflappable.

This is the first time we had a man who knows where he's going and how to get there. He is a man with a clear goal. His actions come from a history of knowledge and conviction. He was the first one and the only one of our leadership to know twenty years ago what everybody else is learning only now - that Arafat is the uncompromising enemy of Israel.

Sharon will never be exploited by him into useless and fraudulent negotiations. He knows that the killing of our own people won't stop until the heads of every terrorist organization find out that they will pay with their own lives for every Israeli life they take. By instituting this new policy, there is at least a possibility that the Arab leadership would rather walk to the bargaining table than be carried to the cemetery.

That's why we are beseeching Netanyahu not run for Prime Minister but instead to go for help. He should find someone who will help him understand why a man who has suffered and sacrificed for his country as much as anybody would become so unbalanced by his need for power. He should immediately find the psychiatrist who could explain to him that he doesn't need power, he needs treatment. This is not the time to fight Sharon, it is the time to fight the Arabs.

Sharon is the right man at the right job at the right time.

JWR contributors Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder need no introduction. Comment on this column by clicking here.



© 2001, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder.