Saturday, May 14, 2011

When Begin Was Ill

Yossi Sarid, leftist head of Meretz, writes following Ezriel Nevo's recollections in Maariv (here, in Hebrew) from when Menachem Begin became ill during the period of the Fist Lebanon War:-

In those days, there was no prime minister in Israel and the defense minister did what he felt was right. For the first time, one of the close aides has admitted his guilt: “[Begin aide Yehiel] Kadishai, [former cabinet minister Yaakov] Meridor and I spoke a great deal about it.

It is impossible to act as if there is a prime minister when there is not,” said the former military aide, Azriel Nevo, in an interview with Ben Caspit this week. “We should have been put on trial for hiding [Menachem] Begin’s condition and the public didn’t know that.”

Perhaps I have already recounted how one time another Begin aide came to me, locked the door, and confessed that Begin was ill and not functioning, Arik [Sharon] was going berserk, and the state was in danger. You are the only one who can break the conspiracy of silence, he said.

I did not. Were I to have raised the curtain then the other players would have acted dumb and recited: What do you mean sick and depressed? That’s just a wicked fabrication by someone opposed to the prime minister and his war.

nd the feelings of the public would have gone out to the tortured Begin, who was being forced to wage two wars at once, an internal and an external one. Who would have believed me?

This is the first time that a central insider has described the conspiracy. How Sharon was “purposely exhausting and killing Begin,” how “ministers and officers were dead scared of him,” how “information was hidden from the prime minister and the government,” and how the border of the war was being stealthily expanded. Even 29 years later, I was filled with dread and fury when I read this.

In those days of the shadow of death, I was a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. We too were taken for a ride. Arik did not lie, he merely spun misleading cobwebs around us. He left the dirty work of deception to people who were less sophisticated than he was, like Raful [former chief of staff Rafael Eitan], who lied without being aware of it. Nevo also testified to this.

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