Our leaders’ lifestyles tell us something important about their priorities
Eyal Megged Published: 02.23.10, 00:41 / Israel Opinion
Reports on Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s latest and grandiose real estate purchase reminded me of a sticker I recently saw on a vehicle: “We need a righteous leader”. What does “righteous” mean? I asked myself. First and foremost, it is someone who does more for others than for himself; one who sacrifices his own comfort and who is willing to suffer for the sake of others.
Can we point to even one member of our leadership who meets these criteria or at least approaches them? One person who at least looks like he’s suffering? Or even one who pretends to be suffering? You can search high and low and you won’t find one.
Moreover, if we keep looking we will likely find just the opposite - arrogance, haughtiness, pretentiousness, and greed, which not only reflect the aspirations and preferences of most of Israeli society, but worse than that, dictate them.
Hence, it is not at all ridiculous to preoccupy ourselves with the lifestyles of our top political brass; to show interest in the people they interact with and whose proximity they seek, and in the way they spend their leisure time. We are not only allowed to show interest in the priorities in the lives of our leaders – the people who to a large extent determine where we are headed and may affect our personal fortunes – we must show interest in these issues.
The Ben-Gurion model
We are not being voyeuristic when we peep into their homes; we simply get an idea about what’s important to them in life. It’s our full right to raise an eyebrow and scratch our heads when we are informed of Barak’s dramatic move – relocating from the Akirov Towers to the Assuta Tower. It is our right to ask why an apartment worth NIS 30 million (roughly $8 million) is no longer sufficient for him and his partner. After all, this says something about them, doesn’t it?
We may be fed up with again making note of the model set by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion or President Yitzhak Ben Zvi, but there is no choice but to recall the former’s modest home on Sderot Keren Kayemet and the latter’s hut on Alharizi Street. We need to make note of it, as those who live modestly show us that needs other than their own top their priority list. A modest and even austere lifestyle attests to complete devotion to the fateful matters these people were entrusted with.
The complete loss of aesthetic sensitivity among our leaders is very worrying, as it attests to other things that have been lost, including a lost sense of judgment. To our misfortune, insensitivity and foolishness go hand in hand.
Click to view image: 'Akirov Towers,Tel Aviv-Barak first real estate'
Click to view image: 'Eyal Megged Photo: Eli Elgarat'
Click to view image: 'Barak. Suffered criticism for ostentatious asset P'
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