Olmert vs. Jewdar: The Final Confrontation

Jewdar joins with much of the Jewish world in greeting Ehud Olmert’s recently announced decision to step down with a huge sigh of relief. To be sure, we were considerably more sanguine when he took office in the wake of Ariel Sharon’s stroke. Most Israeli prime ministers have been larger than life–Rabin was a war hero, Begin was a guerilla leader, Shamir a Mossad agent, Ben Gurion the founding father, Golda the balabusteh (and played by both Ingrid Bergman and Tovah Feldschuh, and how often are those names paired together?); even Netanyahu had a certain oily, used-car salesman charm. But among these colorful characters, Olmert stood out precisely because of his blandness. He seemed a wonk, and not even a brilliant wonk like Peres. Of all his predecessors, he seemed the most like Levi Eshkol, the number cruncher hand-picked by Ben-Gurion to be his charmless, and hence challengeless, successor. Like Eshkol, he seemed safe, the sort of fellow who, if he didn’t accomplish great things, would at least not do anything too awful, either. Also like Eshkol, he presided over an unlikely political coalition in a time of crisis; unlike Eshkol, his dearth of competence and surfeit of venality and ego led him, and Israel, from disaster to disaster.

To be sure, these were not all of his own making. It’s not like everything was great for Israel before he took office, and to be fair, with neighbors like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria, it’s pretty hard to keep your yard clean. Nor should he be held accountable for the grotesque assortment of scandals that plagued Israeli officials during his tenure. But aside from Olmert’s own corruption, there was, quite simply, his baffling incompetence. The 2006 war was a disaster, and what makes it even more of a disaster is that after all that, we still ended up trading sick, murderous fuck Sami Kuntar to Hezbollah for corpses. Meanwhile, Gilad Shalit is still living in some Hamas hellhole because the Olmert gov’t won’t release prisoners with Israeli blood on their hands (you know, like Sami Kuntar) into Gaza, which is essentiall the world’s biggest prison anyway. And even refusing to play nice with Hamas might be fine, if they at least did something to raise the stock of Abbas, but Olmert won’t even do that seriously. Now we have the final farce: his efforts to win his place in history with a last minute deal to give up the Golan Heights.

Jewdar is all for peace with the Palestinians, but no Syrians live in the Heights, tens of thousands of Israelis do, and as far as we’re concerned, there’s no reason to dispossess them for the sake of granting legitimacy to a murderous regime. And whatever one’s feelings on the matter, we certainly don’t think that a crook like Olmert, desperate to win his place in history, is the man to entrust with a deal like that.

Even Olmert’s vices turned out to be petty–fancy hotels, Cuban cigars, first class airfare. You can imagine him using his Shin Bet security detachment to reseal the macadamia nuts bags from the hotel minibar so he doesn’t have to pay for them.

Israel being Israel, everything old is new again, and Likud and Labor are putting up Netanyahu and Barak (we wonder if Bibi will take a page from the GOP playbook "Barak sounds like Barack whose last name is Obama which sounds like Osama!"), Kadima, or whatever remains of it, will probably offer Tzipi Livni. We’d be perfectly happy with her as Israel’s second female PM, but whoever wins, one thing we’re sure of is that Tovah’s never going to be playing Olmert on Broadway.

What do you think?

About The Author


The Tel Aviv-born, Milwaukee-bred Jewdar has a bachelors' from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters from NYU, and an Honorable Discharge from the US Army, where he spent two years as an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division. He's the co-author of "The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies", the Humor Editor of Heeb Magazine, and a watcher of TV. Smarter than most funny people, funnier than most smart people, he lives on the Lower East Side with his wife and two sons.

2 Responses

  1. Puck

    Good riddance, I’m afraid he lost it for me after the trading murderers for corpses ‘thang’, fucking ridiculous.
    *boos loudly*


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