Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of August 24, 2000
By Uri Dan
One righteous man arose from this
governmental Sodom - Shimon Batat.
If Flavius Josephus had wished to add a tragicomic chapter to his monumental work, The Jewish War, he could have used the revelations of the deputy manager of the Prime Minister's Office, Shimon Batat, which were published in last Friday's edition of Ma'ariv.
Shim'on Batat got up and declared that the Emperor is naked or, as he put it, "Barak is acting like the leader of an Afghan anti-tank section." At present, no Roman legions besiege Jerusalem while the Jews attack one another, as Flavius Josephus, commander of the revolutionary forces in Galilee, described in his recounting of the destruction of the Second Temple. However, Lieut. Col. (Ret.) Batat, who was once a member of the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, gave an excellent description of the comedy where the state's opponents, and even its enemies, are already fighting within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has the cheek to declare that he "does not recognize" that the remains of the Temple are located on the Temple Mount, but he is generously prepared to discuss the arrangements for Jews to pray at the Western Wall. Egyptian President Hossni Mubarak has declared that if Barak does not relinquish sovereignty over East Jerusalem, there will be no agreement. King Abdullah of Jordan says he does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The EEC is waiting for Barak's concessions. The US supports the division of Jerusalem, a move initiated by Barak himself.
While this siege continues, a battle is taking place in the Prime Minister's Office between the internal advisors (civil servants), and Barak's secret advisors, who during the Camp David summit became a propaganda ministry.
When, at the summit, Barak expressed his readiness there to uproot thousands of settlers from the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria, and share the Temple Mount with Arafat, the Jews in his office were ready to eat each other alive.
According to Batat's testimony in Ma'ariv, external PR man Moshe Gaon prepared the slogans for brainwashing the public, and National Security Adviser Danny Yatom blocked all opposing views from experts. It comes as no surprise that Reuven Merhav, of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, was flown in to serve as Barak's ad hoc advisor. He arrived with a new map of Jerusalem and three alternatives, all of which gave at least partial sovereignty to the Palestinians, in his pocket, to the amazement of those present.
IF BARAK had acted like a serious prime minister, instead of like the "leader of an Afghan anti-tank section," this new international siege of Jerusalem that he initiated would have dispersed, and it would still be possible to break down the wall of threats Arafat and his supporters have created.
It is no wonder that every shadow of a threat leads to a retreat by Barak. His external PR people make sure to clean up after him and announce "tremendous progress," "a breakthrough," and other well-worn catch phrases about "our children's future."
This is at a time when not only the future of our children, but also that of our grandchildren, is in danger, if Barak fails to take note of Shimon Batat's warning. Most of the press knew of the chaos Barak had created in his office, but preferred to keep quiet.
General Staff officers and senior officials in the GSS and the Mossad have known for months that there is something unhealthy about Barak's management and leadership. But no one has dared to say a word, since most of them are slaves - to their salaries, cars, mobile phones, secretaries, social benefits and pensions. They are slaves to their status symbols and to their careers.
But then one righteous man arose from this governmental Sodom, and refused to keep quiet any longer - Batat. It may be he was not right about everything he said, because of his lack of experience. But he tore the official veil of secrecy away from Barak's circus, and exposed him in all his nakedness. It was as though he shouted: Hey, Ehud, you're walking on a tightrope without a safety net, and the rope (the nation) is about to break.
Batat's cry shook the foundations of the Prime Minister's Office. They knew right away that this cry harmed Barak, who had often prided himself on his excellence. Instead of repairing the foundations, they hurried to carry out damage control. Barak angrily phoned Batat and demanded that he "find a way" to correct his remarks. PR man Eldad Yaniv and Yatom themselves hurried to Kol Yisrael to announce that Batat would shortly be "expressing his regret" for what he had revealed. Yatom even accused him, to no avail, of "lies and slander."
Instead of attempting to correct what was fundamentally wrong, Barak and his PR people preferred to paper over the cracks. Batat's immediate superior, a faithful and honest person himself, Haim Shaked, had his head chopped off because of a headline attributed to him in Yediot Aharonot, which confirmed Batat's guilt.
If Barak wants to get back on the right road (and he still can), he must examine Batat's "J'accuse." There is still no medal in Israel for civil courage. Barak, who takes such pride in his five decorations, ought to establish such a medal, and award it to Batat. This would distinguish between the common wage slave and the uncommon civil servant; between a wretched political poodle and a government wolf; between a political beast and a human public servant.
(c) Jerusalem Post 2000
Uri Dan is an author of The Mossad: Secrets of the Israel Secret Service and other books on the Middle East.