Throw The Bums Out


When he was president of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, Avishay Braverman had a vision: Relocate thousands of Jews to the desert to relieve overcrowding in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Now, as a Labor Party Knesset member, he’s got another vision, this one for a post-Hezbollah war Israel: Throw the bums out.

Saying the recent war "exposed the weakness of our leaders," Braverman recently called for reform of Israel’s political system to allow the best and the brightest to enter politics.

In a recent interview before speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations here, Braverman said that the pain and suffering of the war provides "an opportunity to use this crisis to prepare better for the enemies around us. We have to become stronger from inside and from outside."

To help do that, he said there should be no more than 14 cabinet ministers instead of the current 26. He said they should be professionals from the business world and the military who have managerial ability. And the prime minister, he said, should be limited to two terms in office.

"Let new people come into politics," Braverman said. "There is a reservoir [of talented people] who could come in. … We have to open [the system] to other people."

Braverman, who entered politics last November after spending 16 years as president of Ben-Gurion (which honored him here late last month) and 14 years as a World Bank economist, said he and fellow Labor Party member and former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon would be working together to change the political system before the next Knesset is elected. The Labor Party, which was the second most popular party in last March’s general election, chose the wrong ministerial seats in the current government, he said.

"We want to have a Labor Party that is strong on security and that will deliver on social promises and be reliable," Braverman said. "I wrote [the Labor Party’s] social and economic platform with other top economists in Israel. If I and Ayalon take over Labor, Kadima will disappear because the business sector and the middle class will again join the Labor Party."