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Monday, July 21, 2008

The last laugh?

Before he gets around to suggesting that Israel will eventually kill Samir al-Kuntar, Daniel Pipes has some sobering words that ought to give pause to all Israelis.
PRIME MINISTER Ehud Olmert endorsed the deal on the grounds that it "will bring an end to this painful episode," a reference to retrieving the bodies of war dead and appeasing the hostages' families demand for closure. In themselves, both are honorable goals, but at what price? This distortion of priorities shows how a once-formidably strategic country has degenerated into a supremely sentimental country, a rudderless polity where self-absorbed egoism trumps raison d'ĂȘtre. Israelis, fed up with deterrence and appeasement alike, have lost their way.

Appalling as the cabinet decision was, worse yet is that neither the Likud nor other leading public institutions responded with rage, but generally (with some notable exceptions) sat quietly aside. Their absence reflects a Tami Steinmetz Center poll showing that the population approves the swap by a nearly 2-1 ratio. In short, the problem extends far beyond the official class to implicate the population at large.

On the other side, the disgraceful celebration of baby-murderer Kuntar as a national hero in Lebanon, where the government shut down to celebrate his arrival, and by the Palestinian Authority, which called him a "heroic fighter," reveals the depths of Lebanese enmity to Israel and immorality, disturbing anyone concerned with the Arab soul.
Yes, folks, WE have a problem. WE have lost our will to live. WE have lost our will to be a nation. Instead, each of us is out for himself or herself: Where can I go on vacation? How much can I cheat the government? How big a party can I throw and how big a car can I drive (at $7 per gallon for gas)? Yes, it's the politicians, but we all get the politicians we deserve. Did you vote in 2006?


At 6:23 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - Mordechai Kedar has made the same point. Israel has government that lasts on the average - three years, which realistically precludes a sense of firmness and long range planning. Israel is like the dying French Fourth Republic. Only no DeGaulle is waiting in the wings to save it.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


My beef isn't with how long the government lasts. Nearly every government that has fallen since I have been here (1991) has deserved to fall because it broke its promises or because it was incompetent (only exception - Shamir in 1992).

My problem is that we don't have leaders. We have people who read the polls and attune themselves accordingly. And we have people who are dishonest.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

A long-lived government would help to promote long range planning and coherent policies. And it would help to produce a better class of people who could be leaders. The only problem is fixing Israel's political system goes against the interests of the very people who benefit most from the status quo. So Israel is set to limp along from crisis to crisis.


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