Jun 29, 2020

Yuli Edelstein is barely keeping his head above water

I kind of feel bad for Yuli Edelstein. For the first time he took a real job in the government, after much cajoling and pressure, rather than the important Speaker of the Knesset position he held for a long time but wasn't available to him in this government, and he is floundering.

Edelstein is a good guy, a good politician, as far as I can tell. The Speaker of the Knesset position is considered very important and senior, but it isn't the same as running a ministry.

It is possible I just don't know what they do as Speaker of the Knesset, but it seems to me that make sure proper decorum is followed in the Knesset and that the functioning of the Knesset is efficient is not quite the same as running a complicated ministry that affects the lives of all Israelis. Most, or many, of  the ministries in the government also affect institutions throughout the State. I am convinced that as important as a position as Speaker of the Knesset is, from the perspective of work and responsibility it pales compared to a senior ministry. Correct me if I am wrong.

Edelstein wanted to stay in his long-held position of Speaker of the House. he seemingly did a good job there and appeared stately. There was really very little he could do there that would make him look bad to the people of Israel, and he mostly stayed out of the political fighting - and when he finally didn't, during the 3 election rounds this past year, that is when people got upset at him and he was pushed out.

So Yuli Edelstein was persuaded to take the Health Ministry, against his better wishes. But he took it. I don't blame him for Corona. This is an unknown disease with no cure, no treatment, no vaccine and no precedent. Yet under his watch, the Health Ministry is floundering. they cannot seem to pass sensible decisions for new sets of rules. I don't envy any of the politicians or professionals tasked with the job of trying to keep Corona at bay while also encouraging the economy and getting people back to work and back to their lives. It is an impossible task. CoronaVirus is making a bold comeback.And I think Edelstein looks kind of hapless in his new role. In this role he has to actually work hard, and not just tell MKs when to speak and when to be quiet. I don't know that he would have been so hapless in any ministry - I am sure he is quite capable, but the Health Ministry at this time seems to be drowning him.

None of this is Edelstein's fault, but he is not getting any sense of control over the situation, and I think his reputation will be hurt for it.


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