August 26, 2009
How Peres Transformed Israel's Presidency
Kevin Peraino, Newsweek
In Israel, the office of the presidency is similar to the modern monarchy in England. The president, like the royal family, is largely ceremonial. Real power lies with the prime minister and Parliament. The president travels the world, greets foreign dignitaries, and, to some extent, plays the role of national entertainer. Like British sovereigns, when things go badly, he acts as a whipping boy upon whom Israelis vent their frustrations. Presidents who are accused of misbehaving"”like Moshe Katsav, who will likely go on trial later this year on rape charges"”are flayed by Israel's version of Fleet Street like their naughty royal counterparts. Amid the running soap opera, one occasionally hears murmurs that the office is obsolete and embarrassing, and should be abolished.
TAGGED: Shimon Peres, Israel