Feb 4, 2007

job description of the Defense Minister

I do not understand the tension between the Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

There have been a number of recent incidents in which the relationship between the two has been strained due to conflict.

The latest is the decision regarding the purchase of a new missile defense system. Amir Peretz made his evaluation and decided to go with one of the options. His decision is irrelevant to me. I am not going to praise it or criticize it, as I have no way of knowing which of the four options were better or worse. I will assume (rightly or wrongly) that Peretz did his due diligence and made his recommendation based on professional factors.

Peretz announced his conclusions, selecting a system developed by the RAFAEL corporation. Immediately after his announcement, Olmert announced that Peretz has no right to make a decision on this matter and he would have the final say.

Of course, after all the back and forth between the spokespeople of each respective office, they each say their is no conflict or tension between the two.

This came after a scuffle over who has the right to recommend the new IDF Chief of Staff.

I do not understand Olmert's position. He says the Defense Minister has no right to make any of these decisions.

If the Defense Minister cannot select the Chief of Staff, or even make a recommendation on the matter, and cannot decide or even recommend a missile defense system, what exactly is his job description? What can he do as Defense Minister? Where do his responsibilities end and Olmert's begin?

If Olmert is not allowing the Defense Minister to make defense related decisions because he feels the DM is not qualified to do so, then he should fire him and appoint a DM who is qualified. If he thinks the DM is not qualified then what makes him think he is any more qualified to make such decisions? His military background is no more qualifying than Peretz's record.

Is it really not the Defense Minister's responsibility to make such decisions or recommendations? If not, what is his job description? What are his responsibilities?


  1. Exactly so. If you need to question every decision your defense minister makes, perhaps it is time to rethink that appointment.

    In the meantime, it would be nice if less time could be spent on petty infighting and more time on some of the pressing issues at hand.

  2. it is clear that olmer only let peretz have the defense ministry as part of his political calcuations. so why be surprised that olmert does not trust him to do an effective job. of course the only problem, as you point out, is that olmert himself is no more qualified for these decisions.

  3. maybe he just wants him to quit and is making it very hard for him to be there.... that sounds like the olmert we all know and love...


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