Wednesday, April 20, 2005

King of the Hill

Today's power pyramid in Israel is a little strange. There is the prime minister, who has all the power, and there is the President, who has no power. What is he good for then? A lot!

For some dark and deep reasons, the most ranked (but not the most powerful!) men in (any) country automatically become target for cult of personality. People like to have someone to look up to. Especially if the position was obtained through some obscure rules, rather then elections. Mystery. Almost divine intervention.

When the most ranked man is also the most powerful, problems emerge. Power + Cult of Personality = Dictatorship. USA for example is always sitting right on the edge of that cliff. If not for centuries strong democratic traditions, and "no third term" rule, money with face of Bill Clinton would be the least of our concern right now. Still shadows of president clans hunt American politics. Kennedy's clan. Bush's clan. Clinton's... wife. And so on.

Other countries fall right down the cliff on the very first step. Russia is a great example of how the most ranked/powerful man amplifies his cult of personality to stay in power. That would be difficult if Putin was a mere prime-minister with a powerless president looking over his shoulder.

In Israel President dodges the bullet of cult of personality for the prime minister, and the fact that he is powerless is the best invention of Israeli system, and the best obstacle against people that want to stay in power longer then they should.

16 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

I don't think cult of personality is precisely the problem in Israel. Enough people hate each other's parties to avoid that problem. Unfortunately, Israel has enough problems - such as pervasive corruption - that the cult of personality, if there's any, is probably the least of them.

Yury Puzis said...

I agree, it is not a problem in Israel. Not today at least, and in part thanks to the powerless president. But it is always a possibility. For example, after Rabin was murdered (93') leftists created cult around his personality. Bastards even changed the buitiful "Kings Plaza" name in Jerusalem into "Itzhak Rabin Plaza". Some king. Ariel Sharon was trying to immortalize himself too. e.t.c., it's countless.

Irina Tsukerman said...

I think all PMs in Israel are trying to immortalize themselves. Along with the rest of the Knesset. Perhaps that's why the political arena there is such a mess to a certain extent. : (

Yury Puzis said...

Very true...
By the way, I am just curious, have you ever lived in Israel?

Irina Tsukerman said...

No... Unfortunately, I haven't even *been* in Israel. All my information is based on the news, the analysis, discussion groups, e-mails from relatives, and hearsay! I'm hoping to visit sometime soon.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Have *you* lived there? It sounds like you know Hebrew.

Yury Puzis said...

I visited Israel 3 times. Only during the first visit I graduated from high-school and served in the army :) In fact, all the guys from the Genesis blog used to live in the same small town, nearly next door to each other. Anyway, I hope to visit again.
I is great to hear you want to visit. Some of my american jewish friends say they are too afraid.

As to information sources, what I see is that most news and analysis are in the range from misguided to biased (including the Israeli ones!). So much so, I ofter wonder if they even report from the same reality. Hopefully your relatives (I am guessing, they live in Israel?) give you more realistic picture...

Irina Tsukerman said...

It's really cool that you went to army there@ My relatives are VERY realistic, but unfortunately, most non-Russian speaking Jews don't really want to listen to them. How did you start blogging together?

Yury Puzis said...

Very simple really. We didn't met online, we been friends for a long time. Only now some (like me) don't live in Israel. So Woland came up with this idea to use blog for communication. Not everybody likes blogging unfortunately :)

Say, I realize New York is not my village (today Miami) but maybe you know some friends of mine. Does Igor or Diana Lazerson ring a bell?
Which city are you from originally?

Correct me if I am wrong, but seems like most american jews will support whatever is the current policy of Israel, even if it is opposite to the last. And it always is :)

Irina Tsukerman said...

I don't think I know Igor and Diana. Are they students? In which university?

Most American Jews support Israeli policies as long as those are the policies of giving in. As soon as Israel tries to assert itself, the support immediately goes down. : ( What are you studying?

Yury Puzis said...

They are out of school already, and I don't remember what was it's name unfortunately...

I study for MS in computer science... but if I didn't I would probably be studying history or something. What about you? Law school, like a good jew? :)

Irina Tsukerman said...

Here law school is after college, so right now I'm studying International Studies with concentration in Middle East, and then I'm going into law school. I want to do joint in International Trade Law and MA in International Affairs.

Irina Tsukerman said...

hey, how come you don't keep your blog anymore?

Yury Puzis said...

I do (well, in theory at least :) ). Writing something seriouse (which is the nature of this blog) always takes me a lot of time (not waiting to start, actual writing takes a lot of time). Since I am a little short-handed those days, I couldn't get to it. I know, I should be updating more often. Promise I will :)

Woland said...

I long thought that this post is "dead", forgotten. I see that I was wrong.

I think that there almost no politician that doesn't want to be remembered, or even worshiped like Atatürk in Turkey. I don't mind, as long it doesn't interfere with their judgment.

As for blogging, I face the same trouble as Y.P. does.

Yury Puzis said...

Good judgement of what? Of what's right and wrong? Of disposition of enemy forces? Of himself? Can you say that a person who wants to have "glory and fame" has good judgement?