In a passionate key note address which closed the Herzliya Conference, Olmert admitted that many mistakes were made during the war, "The number of foolish mistakes, terrible decisions, and strategic and tactic miscalculations that the government made is truly disgusting," said Olmert, "And as head of the government and following in the footsteps of my predecessors, I am the first to acknowledge and accept full irresponsibility for each and every misstep.
"Make no mistake, "Olmert reiterated, "No matter how bad or how egregious my governments mistakes were, I wish to emphasize once more that under no circumstance do I accept any responsibility for any of them or anything else that happened during the Second Lebanon War or, in fact, anything that happened during my whole tenure up to now or in the future."
Olmert went on to explain that accepting responsibility would be contrary to everything he and his generation were brought up to believe in, "Like the majority of my peers - in politics, in the press or in the courts - I was raised on the tenets of privilege and unaccountability. These are values I believe deeply in and therefore I am greatly offended by the numerous calls for my resignation.
"Resigning as the result of incompetence would be like spitting in the face of our forefathers and trampling all our traditions!" Olmert thundered, "Did Rabin resign when the Peace Treaty he signed blew up in our faces? Did Peres? Do the editors of the newspapers resign when they mislead the public? Do the Supreme Court Judges resign when their decisions costs hundreds if not thousands of lives?
"Of course not," said Olmert, "Such a notion would be ridiculous. I mean, if every one of us had to resign every time he displayed some degree of incompetence, why, could we even call that country our own? Would such a country still be the Israel we know and love? Did Moses resign after mucking about in the Sinai desert for forty years?
"What I am saying is," said Olmert,
"That incompetence and irresponsibility are part of our heritage and I personally am not going to be the first one to defile this great Israeli tradition," said Olmert.
The Prime Minister also accused the media of misrepresenting the facts and inciting the public against his government, "Objectively speaking, the residents of the North have much to be thankful for," said Olmert, "One of the largest expenses for Israeli families is summer camp, and that summer we managed to get all the camps completely cancelled – that's a savings of thousands of shekels right there, and I'm not counting the savings on income tax, which the residents did not have to pay because they couldn't go to work, thanks to the war.
"Also, everybody knows that the family is the building block of the nation, so everything we can do to get families to spend time together – quality time I might add – should be seen as commendable. And that is exactly what we did for two whole months! In fact, I am sure that the families in the North are probably the most cohesive ones in the country, thanks to the war" said Olmert, "Of course, I do not expect anybody to thank me – this is a thankless job - but to go so far as to completely ignore our achievements? That is just a bit too much.
Addressing his government's dire political situation and also his own precarious perch on his seat, Olmert said, "In times of trouble and great political upheaval, I always ask myself, 'What Would Rabin Do?'
" Just the other day I opened Rabinian 2," said Olmert, "Which, you may recall, describes those tempestuous times in which St. Rabin the Impeccable was besieged by his foes and his house was beset from within and from without and it was then that he sent for the Prophet Carmi Gilon who sayeth unto him, and I quote (verse 7), 'Thy government has sinned greatly and the God of Peace is angered. If thou wish to escape the wrath of thy Lord God, many sheep must be sacrificed to Him that Bestoweth Peace upon all.'
"To which St. Rabin answered, 'May God have mercy upon me and my government, but whom shall we sacrifice? No sheep are left in the fold.'
" And it was then" Olmert said, "That, as we all know, The God of Peace performed His second greatest miracle – the Miracle of the Sheep*:
'Verily, sayeth the Prophet Gilon, Look about ye and shed the scales upon your eyes for behold, the Lord of Peace giveth you sacrificial goats in abundance and yea shall beset them and slaughter them and your reign shall be long, for the settlers have sinned against the Lord of Peace and they worship the false god of Zionism.'
To which St. Rabin bowed his head and said. "Amen. May His will be done."
Therefore I say to you now, what was good for Our Rabin, is good enough for me, but where he had one Avishai Raviv, I will have ten and where he had one Yigal Amir, I will invent a dozen. And the people will pity me and the press will protect me and the findings of the Winograd Commission will be like dust in the wind and with any kind of luck I will even manage a second term, just you wait and see!" said Olmert.
* The first and greatest miracle, for those of you who are secular and do not have a copy of the Third Testament in your homes (may St. Rabin have mercy on your souls), was The Miracle of the Hairy Terrorist.
Hat Tip: "Living in Denial" from Gentile Warrior and Kadima Holds Fast to Failure from Israel Jewish News.
Related: The article from INN.
Saint Rabin, as portrayed by yours truly