The dust-up in Israel started small, as these things almost always do, then grew exponentially before exploding onto every newswire almost as fast as the anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic haters were twittering and alternately flooding the electronic air salivating at their fresh meat which was falling into their laps by the minute. The initial comment was made by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan commented at a Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial. The unkempt and unacceptable comment made all the worse by coming from IDF Deputy Chief of Staff was, “If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.” There were reactions to the statement but nothing for reporters to write home, or the office, about as the General backtracked off and claimed he worded his comments poorly. That would have been the end of it had it been allowed to die a natural death but such was not to be the case.
Prime Minister Netanyahu made a discreet demand that military officers, security officers and other ranking security personnel, and double for the general staff, need watch their comments and be wary that what they say could be harmful for Israel. He did not call General Golan out or place him on the carpet for a dressing down, just a quiet semi-public statement. Then the Defense Minister felt he should defend the honor of his general staff. The thing is that too many high ranking military and security personnel both still in service or recently retired have made references equating Israel to many unsavory references such a Nazis amongst others. Ya’alon calling for the Generals and other officers to speak their minds even if everything they say runs contrary to the ruling government positions. This was an assault made directly challenging the Prime Minister which would normally have that Minister not only removed from his position but removed from the Likud Party and any government position with the ruling coalition. Instead Prime Minister Netanyahu offered Ya’alon the position of Foreign Minister after removing him from his position as Defense Minister which was to be given to Avigdor Lieberman in exchange for bringing his Yisrael Beiteinu Party into the coalition strengthening their hold on power and making it a little more secure. Ya’alon refused the change of ministerial position and instead left the government but it was his parting statements made to the media which were the makings of a disaster and a scandal.
Of Ya’alon’s parting shots, the first was used as an initial shot across Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bow stating, “To my great regret, extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement.” This was his follow-up Benjamin Netanyahu claiming his having a, “lack of confidence” in the government’s ruling coalition, the Prime Minister’s decision-making and morals and fearing the coming cruel submission of the officers in what he had come to view as his own Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Perhaps that was where the problem really began, Ya’alon saw the IDF as his own personal friends and was more to serve him and be his political weapons to use to ascertain the leadership of Likud and being the new Prime Minister. He apparently had it all figured out except for the part where the military does not set policy, it carries out policies given them by the government and serves the people of Israel, all of them. But Ya’alon was nowhere near finished with the attacks. His next whine complained stating to the delight of all IDF and Israel detractors, “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and trickling into the armed forces, hurting it already,” We are not quite sure what Israel he resides within but the people we know hold no animus against anyone or any group unless some individual has committed an act of unfounded violence against others as such a person would be a pariah here just as it would in almost any civil society.
This was far from the first time a conflict was spawned by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan; as back in 2006, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan said it was “intolerable” that Israeli soldiers place Palestinian civilians in harm’s way instead of themselves: “In the presence of civilians we take risks upon ourselves, and rightly so. It’s unacceptable that in the name of preventing risk we would decide that now we are going to mow down an apartment building. You would kill women, children, those involved. It’s intolerable.” The item about Minister Ya’alon’s statement is that, as he was a member of the government and in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, everything he said was news worthy and considered important. When a Defense Minister supports statements made against the ruling coalition the media properly takes note and this makes the coalition weaker and weakens the Prime Minister. Such a statement would have been denounced even if stated by the leader of the opposition as such a statement against the Prime Minister meant to weaken his hold on power and directly challenging him is asking for the full weight to be brought against one. Now, in the end, Prime Minister Netanyahu survived this assault and potential hostile take-over of the government with graceful style and also strengthened the ruling coalition by adding the Yisrael Beiteinu Party to the coalition adding to the original slim margin making the defection of one minister less of a challenge. By also offering Ya’alon the position of Foreign Minister, Prime Minister Netanyahu was offering to lessen the blow of the removal from Defense Minister and was providing Ya’alon a promotion of sorts and a higher position according to many sources. This was not as much a declaration of disrespect of Ya’alon as he has now made it out to be but rather carefully guiding him within the Inner Cabinet from Defense to Foreign Minister which while bringing in another coalition member strengthens the coalition and this government definitely now is stronger for the shake-up.
Still there are some worrisome things worthy of note. The fact that the military had taken upon itself the mantle of ruling through media releases, embarrassing members of the Government and were very quickly running amuck was evidenced further by this entire incident. There had been previous attempts by leftists high in the military to rule or embarrass any government which was not to their liking and these moments had the gleeful coverage desired from the leftist media in Israel, Europe and beyond. One example as the chief of staff of then Israel Defense Forces, Gadi Eisenkot, in a lecture to high school students recently warned that “the IDF cannot speak in slogans such as ‘if someone comes to kill you, arise to kill them first’ (an edict taken from Talmud and reportedly used by rightwing supporters and not of the current government which has been quiet until recent about such statements, a potential mistake)” and said “I don’t want a soldier to empty a (rifle) magazine on a 13 year-old girl with scissors”. What is the effect of Eisenkot’s statement on an already anti-Semitic global public opinion, which daily charges Israel of a “disproportionate” response during the Third Intifada?
Such statements and other actions made by these upper echelon leftist officers follow the same path as did the Oslo Accords, the Roadmap and so many other attempts which take the form of placing Arab Palestinian demands and stipulations above the interests of the people of Israel and especially those residing in Judea and Samaria, then ceding lands to their control removing any Israeli claim no matter the correct and historically significant the Jewish claims to such lands and finally handing them excuses for murdering Jews before the international and often antagonistic media. Such insubordination while supported and loved by the members of the European Union and the individual governments as well as those who are backing efforts from the far left and right in the United States to tear down the relations and deep ties between the United States and Israel was a welcome series of events. The anti-Semites had a field day with comments such as those quoted above and will continue to take such statements to heart as they hurt any Zionist or Pro-Israel group. The IDF should have seen their ranking general staffs decimated as a cleaning out is in order should the Prime Minister desire to remold the military complex with generals more sympathetic to the Zionist cause and more in line with the government as many of these generals were likely left from when promotions to the general staff were made by left-leaning governments and are paying their empowering interests back in spades.
Whether the Prime Minister takes any moves to alter the General ranks is up to him and those he trusts. At least one excuse making, surrender firsters is no longer within the government poisoning it from within. We can all expect Ya’alon to continue and fulfill his threat to return and take power in the future, whether from within Likud or as head of a new faction was left unclear. It would not even be surprising to see his name as a new leader within Tzipi Livni’s ranks and her seemingly moribund Party. Wherever Ya’alon crawls off to, if it is outside of Likud or even if he remains in Likud it should be expected that he will join those unsavory post-Zionists who likely believe that Israel should be an open democracy as even should the Arab Islamists take control of the government they would be unable to remove the Jewish population and would rule in a similar manner as do current governments as the Constitution, a non-existent constitution which they likely were referring to the Basic Laws would still allow for freedom of speech, religion and all the other trappings of the Israeli multicultural society. There would be no problem if the Islamic State and Hamas came to power as the laws would constrain their actions. Yes, sounds simply Kumbaya and a few other campfire songs from summer camp back when we were all younger and dreams were large and Israel even less in size and was supported by the left as a socialist paradise. Israel is still a paradise with quite a few problems of which this is just one of the most damning to come to bear against our existence. We have survived as more diligent heads come from all sides with a clear vision of the threats; it is simply Ya’alon and a number of perfumed princes playing at general staff position who are necessarily a threat to each and every last one of us. That is our dog in this fight and we should never forget the extents that the leftists went to overthrow the elected government here and that was truly frightening. Slowly but inexorably many holding these positions are being removed from their seats of power and in time we may be in a different and better place and many here can hardly wait. Such is life here in Israel.
Beyond the Cusp