Jewish Journal

Mister President

by Noga Gur-Arieh

June 22, 2012 | 12:51 pm

Most nations of the world have different opinions and perspectives on pretty much everything, but if there’s something I believe all western countries see eye to eye on, it is politics. Every four years or so, we all gather to choose our delegates to represent us at the decision-making parliaments. After that, we pretty much live off of the dirt as the media picks on them. Politicians are mostly perceived as populists who spread statements but do nothing, and for their entire period of time in office, we wait for them to fall. That is why we are full of appreciation for the few, true, politicians, who still serve for the people they represent and fight to make a difference. Israel lacks this type of politician, which is why we do anything to show our appreciation for the few who pop up every once in a while. The last time we’ve had a truly admired politician, the kind which people look up to and believe in, was the early 90’s. The politician was Prime Minister Izhak Rabin. Many disagreed with his way, but I believe all sides of the political scale would agree he was one in a million.

After that, things got pretty much downhill, and the peak was in 2007, when our respected president- Moshe Katzav, the number one civilian, was accused of rape and put in jail. There have been several cases of dishonesty and fraud, but I believe the case of Katzav was when we said: “no more”. This statement became reality when Shimon Peres was elected president. At a time of progress and constant change, when you count only if you have a Facebook account, we had an 84 year old president, a president who’s been around since Israel’s very first days. When he was elected he said that becoming a president wasn’t his dream growing up. He said his childhood dream was to become a shepherd or a poet, but now that he’s President, he’ll do his part with great honor.

Yes, our president is one of the last Poets, and had a childhood dream of becoming something that was modern during biblical times. But if there’s one thing I can say about Peres, it is that he is no laughing matter. Until elected president, Peres was referred to as “the politician who can’t win.” For years since the beginning of Israeli time, Peres was in politics. He was a Minister in the Knesset for 48 years, and was even Prime Minister for two years in the 80’s and for several months in 1995, after Rabin was murdered. But overall, he was unofficially named “a loser.” It seemed like he had lost elections (for Prime Minister, for the head of the Knesset, etc.) more times than any other politician. He was always old fashioned in comparison to his rivals. I remember the 1996 debate held between the two candidates for Prime Minister: Bibi and Peres. Bibi was a young, persuasive man. He looked straight into the camera and improvised when needed. Peres was having some difficulties understanding this format of television production, which was pretty new back then. He read from a piece of paper, turning to the host rather to the camera .Since charisma also plays a part when electing our delegates in office, it was a sure loss.

It took us and him almost 50 years to realize to what part he plays, where he fits best. It is the most respected part of them all. Peres is not a politician, he is a President.  He is the one we all look up to. He is a man with clean hands and good intentions. A Nobel Peace prize winner, he is the one we don’t even think of digging for dirt about. Our grandpa who opened his Facebook page a couple of months ago. The vary first Israeli president to be awarded the American Presidential Medal of Freedom. It took us that long to appreciate the man who never gave up, who kept on struggling to maintain his public role and to realize his agenda. He is the first Israeli politician to ever be admired by the entire nation.  Shimon Peres, our most respected President since the dawn of Israeli Politics, is THAT kind of a politician. The rare, hard to find politicians, whom we cannot stop looking up to. 

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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