Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Israel's deadly stupor

When I travel to Boston, I often see Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby at synagogue. This trip, I didn't make it to that synagogue. Too bad. I would have loved to get an advance copy of this column (although to tell you the truth, I don't think he even knows who I am).

Hat Tip: NY Nana
How could Israel have been so complacent? What could have accounted for such lethargy in the face of a deadly menace that was growing more dangerous by the day?

The answer, says the Winograd Commission, is that too many of "the political and military elites in Israel have reached the conclusion that Israel is beyond the era of wars." Unlike their forbears, who understood that the Jewish state would never have peace until its enemies decided to lay down their arms, today's Israeli leadership imagines that it can achieve peace by means of restraint and retreat.

"Since Israel did not intend to initiate a war," the report concludes, senior officials decided that Israel "did not need to be prepared for 'real' war." And that being the case, "there was also no urgent need to update in a systematic and sophisticated way Israel's overall security strategy and to consider how to mobilize . . . all its resources -- political, economic, social, military, spiritual, cultural, and scientific -- to address the totality of the challenges it faces."

Fed up with fighting, aching to live normally, Israelis lulled themselves into a stupor. They shook hands with Yasser Arafat and ran away from Lebanon and expelled the Jews from Gaza. They blamed themselves for their enemies' hatred and turned the other cheek to suicide bombings and Kassam rocket attacks. They tried to be Athens, one Israeli commentator wrote last year. But to survive in the Middle East, even Athens must sometimes act like Sparta.

"We are tired of fighting," Olmert moaned in a 2005 speech. "We are tired of defeating our enemies." But those who grow tired of defeating their enemies generally end up being defeated by them.

As America's beleaguered ally searches for new leadership, one voice worth heeding is that of Hebrew University game theorist and Nobel laureate Robert Aumann.

"We are like a mountain climber who gets caught in a snowstorm," Aumann said at this year's Herzliya Conference in January. " If he falls asleep, he will freeze to death. We are in terminal danger because we are tired. I will allow myself to say a few unpopular, unfashionable words: Our panicked lunging for peace is working against us. It brings us farther away from peace, and endangers our very existence.
Read the whole thing. I am proud to say that if you go here, you will see that I emphasized the same points about Israel being too complacent.

Labels: , ,


At 12:44 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


Thanks for the hat tip.

Jeff Jacoby is about the only worthwhile writer for al-Globe.I have subscribed to his column for a year or more.

A friend who belongs to KI sees him when they are both heading to their respective Schuls. He always smiles.

When I got the email this AM, I thought that I was reading one of your posts, especially about the complacency.

Olmert is one of Israel's greatest dangers IMHO.


Post a Comment

<< Home