Hara-Kiri – Book Abstract

The book is written by one of  the prominent political journalists in Israel – Raviv Drucker (IDF Radio, Channel 10), who has  followed Ehud Barak's career up-close.

The author aims to deconstruct the ex-prime minister's colossal failure (in his opinion), arguing that Barak’s mistakes and poor personal management skills led to missed windows of opportunity and ultimately, to his downfall.

The book portrays Barak as a 'poll-addict', and this is the main context in which Stanley Greenberg is usually mentioned. Barak is seen as a leader who lent credence (the subtext of the book suggests that maybe too much) to a group of consultants and pollsters, who based themselves on the  'Greenberg Model'. This model is a poll- based 'package' designed by Stanley Greenberg and allegedly included (see specifics in the relevant parts of  the translation) a monthly  survey of 950 interviewees comprised of 600 veteran Jews, 150 Russian-Israelis and 200 Arab-Israelis, a by-monthly survey of Jews and a quarterly survey of 'message refinement'. The cost of the Package was USD $1.5 million.

Throughout the book, different focal points of Barak's career are highlighted, in which different pollsters (the official channel headed by Daphna Goldberg and  the Private Channel headed by Greenberg) influenced the  agenda, forcing Barak to erroneous decision-making. The author maintains that  the pollsters were the only figures in Barak's close proximity to whom he listened. His dependence, Drucker argues, pushed Barak's inherent negative characteristics (egoism, distrust to the level of paranoia, poor people skills) to the extreme.

Bolstering this 'poll frenzy' character of Barak, the author chooses to focus on four pollsters (Goldberg, Shadmon, Greenberg, and 'shvakim Panorama') and illustrates their involvement in Barak's daily management of state affairs. Greenberg is constantly mentioned (as reflected by this paper) as the one who was the most professional and prominent pollster. Greenberg's prominence is emphasized in two main areas: (1) The Message: The Greenberg analysis is  repeatedly described as the unequivocal purveyor of truth, no matter how  pessimistic or hard it might be for Barak to hear. Greenberg is illustrated as an upfront person; (2) Personal  Influence: Barak is described as greatly influenced by the Greenberg reports.