Tomorrow Israel's parliamentarians will convene to elect the next president of Israel. After Shas's council of elders decided last week to throw the party's support behind Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres's candidacy, Peres's election seems to be a foregone conclusion.
That this is the case is a troubling demonstration of the corruption of Israeli politics. Indeed, more than anything, Peres's frontrunner status in the three-way race is a testament to his success in undermining the honor and honesty of Israeli politics.
Peres is a dishonorable man. Notwithstanding his contributions to the state in his younger years, Peres's behavior over the past quarter-century, both in and out of office, has redounded to the diminution of Israel's standing in the region and the world and to the endangerment of the lives of Israeli citizens.
In 1981 Peres, then opposition leader, nearly placed Israel in danger of nuclear annihilation by working to undercut then prime minister Menachem Begin's plan to attack the French and Italian-built Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak.
Begin was forced to delay the air strike which denied Saddam Hussein the wherewithal to obliterate the Jewish state for a number of months after Peres, who had been leaked knowledge of the planned attack, confronted Begin and implicitly threatened to leak the ultra-secret operation to others.
One of the factors that weighed on Begin's decision to attack was the fear that were Peres to win the then approaching 1981 Knesset elections and replace him as premier, Peres would enable Iraq to acquire the means to wipe Israel off the map and assert its hegemony over the global oil market.
IN 1986, as prime minister, Peres likely became the the first leader in history to willfully incriminate and abandon an agent of his government who had endangered his own life to defend Peres's country's national security. Jonathan Pollard is today serving the 22nd year of a life sentence in US Federal prison.
Pollard has been subject to discriminatory treatment by the US justice system. No agent in the employ of a state allied with the US ever received a comparable, or even similar sentence for his offense. But then, no country has ever treated its agent as wretchedly as Israel has treated Pollard.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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