Over the years many who vie for leadership positions representing Israel before the world and at home have increasingly fallen onto negative trending behaviors. Despite the difference in the rhetoric from the differing positions upon the political field from conservative to liberal, socialist to capitalist, Zionist to post-Zionist, traditional to post-modernist, all end up responding to the challenges of leadership with very similar and consistent manners, persona, reasoning, excuses, explanations and definitions. All of them appear to wilt before the pressures imposed from abroad and at home regardless of their promises that they possess an inner strength which is unassailable which will sustain them in standing in the fights imposed upon Israel by those who wish to see her destroyed. This timidity which has gripped with a special ferocity those who have held the highest of offices has been most evident in their shrinking from defining purposeful borders that include the lands for the necessary depth to provide sufficient defensive strength. This disease has crept and permeated Israeli leadership with a weakness that has led to the point that retaining all of Jerusalem has become called into question.
The examples of this affliction have been evident all the way back to General Dayan’s decision to allow the Muslim Waqf to retain unchallenged, total rule over the Temple Mount instead of placing the holiest piece of ground on all of the Earth under Israeli and Jewish control after the liberation of the Old City and Temple mount parts of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. This act of cowardice was excused as being a token of respect to Arab and Muslim sensitivities when in reality the reason was making a sacrifice to Baal to appease the Arabs and Muslims in hope that by doing such it would soften the effect of their military embarrassment and protect Israel from a prolonged civilian backlash which might otherwise grow throughout the Arabs and Muslims who had come under Israeli rule as a consequence of the war. The hatred has grown and spread throughout much of the youth which guarantees a future of increasing belligerence despite the efforts to bend over backwards to respect and honor Muslim and Arab sensitivities over the years and all much of the Israeli political class offers nothing new and support continuing on the failed paths of the past. Sure some talk a great line, but let us look at the record against the rhetoric.
The political leaders for years spoke of plans to build and settle the lands gained in defense of Israel from threats and attacks by her Arab and Muslim neighbors. These promises continued and without missing a step the leadership of Israel under Prime Minister Menachem Begin forced Jews from their homes in order to assure that every square millimeter of the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt despite agreeing to accept the poison pill called the Gaza Strip which Egypt unloaded upon Israel to be a permanent injury from which Israel would never find any reprieve. This was Menachem Begin, the most conservative and most ardent Zionist who was the strength of Israel that evicted Jews rather than push for a more favorable peace when presumably negotiating from a perceived advantageous position. What was the reason for this lack of toughness from the man elected due to his fierce forcefulness? The world and particularly the United States were supportive of having the deal include the complete return of all the land to Egypt, well; all the land except that troublesome little bit called Gaza. Why did Menachem Begin not demand that Israel retain a small strip of the northernmost lands of the Sinai Peninsula where Jews had built their futures, their homes, their synagogues, their stores and were making a life for themselves yet he complied with accepting the trouble that is the Gaza Strip? Why did Begin not insist on retaining the small strip of land where Jews were living or demand that Egypt retain the Gaza Strip and be responsible for the problematic population within? Where was the spine we were told was among the strongest of all within Israel?
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were both considered to have folded to demands made by the PLO and Yasser Arafat which were backed not only by the Soviets but also by European leaders and the United States. It has often been pressured from the Europeans and the United States that have pressured, threatened, cajoled and coaxed numerous Israeli Prime Ministers from Simon Peres to Benyamin Netanyahu and everybody in between into surrendering positions and favors to the Palestinians whether it be the PLO or the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas, despite the seemingly obvious difficulties and threats such compromises would produce. Eventually, Israeli leadership is going to have to stand firm against outside pressures, both obvious and those couched in the disguise of internal political committees and organizations such as the leftist, anti-Zionist NGOs which are almost fully financially supported by European governments and nongovernmental forces and individuals. With the financial difficulties threatening to collapse the European Union, it is hopeful that their support will soon come to an end thus collapsing the internal NGOs due to loss of funding.
The United States may also find themselves weakened considerably as their financial situation continues to worsen and will only be further intensified and deepened as social spending continues to grow with the addition of the new federally managed health care recently enacted and currently still being implemented. As these financial woes weaken Europe and the United States, Israel will be forced to seek new allies from among the growing new economically powerful nations such as India, Brazil, China and others as they step forward and economic power shifts. The United States may very well find a solution to their pending cataclysm, but that remains to be seen and there are those who are less than optimistic of their future. The initial steps have been taken by Israel and have shown some progress such as their gaining admission into Mercosur, the trade alliance established by rising South American countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Israel has also made inroads to trade with both India and China all while maintaining their trade relations with much of Europe and the United States as well as other Western nations despite the efforts of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movements.
Despite these economic accomplishments, they will all amount to nothing if Israeli leadership does not gain a level of independence and freedom from intimidation by those who while claiming to champion support and fairness for Israel are actually working with a different set of priorities and an adversarial view of their relations with Israel when compared to their other relations in the Middle East and North Africa. For an example of an entity which espouses exactly this relationship concerning Israel one need not look any further than the State Department of the United States. The American State Department has from the outset, even before Israel had even been founded and was still part of the British Mandate, adopted the British outlook which was pro-Arab and did everything in their power to support the Arab interests while setting as many traps and pitfalls in the path of the Jews and especially the Zionists in an attempt to delay, or possibly prevent, the formation of the Jewish State. This was most evident when the vote came before the United Nations in November of 1947 where the British voted against even the patrician plan to form an Arab and a Jewish State simply due to their opposition to any state for the Jews. The United States voted in favor of the establishment by the United Nations in the General Assembly and recognized the Jewish State of Israel the following May by order of President Truman who acted against the advice of the State Department, the Military, most of the members of his Cabinet, and numerous other people and organizations all of whom were extremely vocal in their disagreement with the President’s position. So, in many ways things have not changed in many ways though Israel has gained support over the years especially in the United States Congress and amongst the American public.
Despite the gained favorability Israel has gained in many parts of the world, these are strange times and things are never static. It is possible that Israel and the Jews will find things becoming fraught with danger going forward as populations change and politics turn more corners as it always does. Israel may find that her only friend may be found solely in individuals while governments of the world almost universally turn against Israel for reasons of survival in a world with very different appearances. This trend is easily noticeable simply by looking to Europe and especially evident in the United Nations. In November of 1947 Israel gained approval for independence by a super majority of the General Assembly of the United Nations and just this past September that very same General Assembly gave almost universal approval and recognition of statehood to the PLO alongside of Israel allowing for the boundaries of said State to be determined in some unspecified manner which may not even require the input, let alone approval, of Israel. The enforcement of these unstated boundaries are equally undefined but very well may find many to aid in their establishment by whatever means or force required.
The future for Israel promises to demand much stronger and vigorous leadership than she has displayed for some time. With statements made by some who are currently vying to lead her plainly shows that such leadership is not currently in the offing with but a few rare exceptions. Unfortunately, none of these exceptions have even a prayer’s chance of becoming Prime Minister in the current political landscape in Israel. This has begun to show some possibility for change which may prove to be the needed answer. The world is approaching another period of great upheavals and a changing of the centers of power with uncertain results which are quite impossible to predict at this early stage. These changes will be economic and political with a strong possibility of also changing military supremacies though these changes might be a lagging result. The threat of an exploding proliferation of nuclear weapons will make for a decentralized threat assessment as any nuclear power nation carries a certain level of threat independent of their military strength as nuclear weapons alone carry an enormous threat of power when combined with a credible delivery system. Obviously any nation which develops and builds a substantial base of nuclear weapons will have to be considered a viable threat to the world, and as such, to Israel as well. Strong and definitive leadership with a level of credulity will be essential in the new world that is coming whether we wish it or not. One can only steel oneself for the new world’s threats which will seem to come from every possible direction. Add to this situation the likelihood of nuclear terrorism and you have a world gone mad. Perhaps madness will be the new normal. G0d only knows as the news lately sure seems to back that up.
Beyond the Cusp