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Israeli Politics – Facing the Sea of Reeds in Terror

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Last week, we dealt with the issue of Iran from the optimistic Iranian point of view. Now we deal with Israel facing the problem of Iran and the consequences of pulling out of Gaza, and we see a whole different outlook. It is the outlook the Children of Israel had when they “raised their eyes and behold! – Egypt was journeying after them, and they were very frightened;” (Exodus 14:10)

It is a state of utter fear and despair.

Yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor News Online dealt with the extension of Iranian power to the Mediterranean from a different point of view from last week’s items in the Sunday Telegraph and Scotland on Sunday, referring to the solidifying of Iran’s ties with Syria, and its solidifying its power over Hizb-Allah as a “Mideast ‘axis’ against the West.”

“’The alliance that is emerging in this part of the world is a creation of Iran,’ says Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst. ‘It wants to bolster its position by allying itself with countries or groups that can temporarily enhance its regional role and influence.’”

The article quotes Israel’s UN envoy Dan Gillerman, “A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority.”

This is more the way westerners tend to see Iran. There is no mention of the Twelfth Imam coming out of hiding or of the messianic politics of the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. The entire article is a strategic analysis of the various Moslem and Arab terrorist groups in the region and their ties with Iran and Syria. The Christian Science Monitor has chosen to eschew any religion in viewing threats to its largely secular readership.

Ari Shavit, who is emerging as a contrarian voice as the semi-official mouthpiece of the government, wrote in Friday’s Haaretz magazine section that “We Could Lose the Next War.” His article is an analysis of the views of Knesset member (MK) Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) who is on the sensitive and powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. According to Shavit’s background on Shteinitz’s “his philosophy of parliamentary activism made the committee industrious and energetic. He forced the defense and security establishments to bow, to some degree, to the superiority of the Knesset.”

Yuval Shteinitz’s two big concerns, according to Shavit, are the Egyptian military and the condition of the Israel Air Force. He views Israel’s defense establishment as being a very high quality outfit but arrogant and overweening, and unwilling to subject its ideas to rigorous analysis once they have been adopted. According to Shteinitz the IDF operates in large measure by inertia. In his eyes, it is moving in incorrect and even dangerous directions. He compared the situation to the period before the Yom Kippur War, when he believed the defense establishment led Israel into a situation that endangered the existence of the state and the nation.

In the interview, he illustrated this with the Iraq War, saying that Israel did not have true intelligence about Iraq. Apparently the inner circle of Saddam Hussein had not been penetrated, the Israel government did not know if he had ballistic missiles or even if he had operative chemical weapons. He viewed the Iraq War as a colossal intelligence failure.

Shteinitz argued that the army leads the government and not vice versa. The media also cooperates, by being closely attached and going along with those in uniform. The result is that the discourse on national security is militarized. This process causes the defense establishment to insulate itself within its conventions, self-confidence, and arrogance. He said that, tactically, the IDF and the Shin Bet security service have done wonderfully. But Shteinitz said that Israel is losing in the war against Palestinian terrorism.

“Today no one will say that the Israelis are ‘searing the Palestinians’ consciousness,” Shteinitz said. “We lost the war against Hamas.” He asserted that “if Israel does not change its security policy from the foundations up, it is liable to lose the next war.”

Shavit had trouble with this assertion. He told Shteinitz that this was outside any reasonable context, contradicting the whole discourse on army and security affairs and the accepted assumption is that the era of conventional wars has passed and also that Israel is wildly powerful militarily. This is a view commonly held by many English speaking readers of Haaretz, not to mention many Israelis as well.

To cut to the chase, Shteinitz argued that because of Israel’s small size, it was susceptible to an attack on all of its airfields at once, which would be the reverse of what happened in 1967, when Israel struck all of Egypt’s airfields in a surprise attack under Egypt’s radar. He illustrated his point this way.

“’Today you need a distance of 50 kilometers to operate an airfield. Israel does not have any airfield like that. All our airfields and our air control units and the power stations and the sensitive strategic sites are within a few dozen kilometers of the border. As such, they are vulnerable to surface-to-surface missiles and to long-range rockets, which are liable to knock them out of action and paralyze the Israel Air Force’”

A very pleasant thought to keep in mind as one goes to synagogue for the Sabbath.

Finally, we come to a ynetnews article, “sense of forfeiture near Gaza.” This article details how the Israeli residents of what are now border towns are reacting to the less than energetic response of the IDF to a daily bombardment of Qassam missiles from Arab Gaza which are sapping their morale. The IDF has not taken effective action to stop the bombardments, nor has it done anything to reinforce the homes of the residents in these border towns despite repeated promises to do so. We see in this article the price of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and of the retreat from Israeli territory there.

“’We are like geese in firing range,’ residents told Israel’s leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot (ynetnews is owned and operated by Yediot Ahronot). ‘No one cares what’s happening here. No one. The state has abandoned us.’”

This feeling is similar to what residents of Gush Katif felt when the government insisted on destroying their homes and livelihoods, and it is similar to the feeling that is slowly seeping throughout the all Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria slated for destruction by the government over the next two years in its “convergence” plan.

In the book of Exodus, Moses said to the Children of Israel, “Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of the L-rd that He will perform for you today.” (Exodus 14:13)

Will we see such a salvation soon?

Author’s note: The three above referenced stories were received in my e-mail box from IMRA on Friday, 21 April 2006.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Israel can win any conventional war with any and all regional opponents.

    The problem is a potential nuclear Iran governed by radical Muslim lunatics.

    A surprise first-strike from Iran with nuclear missiles would pretty much render most of Israel uninhabitable for generations.

    Of course, Israel would respond with a devastating nuclear strike of their own, turning most of Iran into glowing green glass.

    Not good…

  • http://lindsay.puellula.com/Blog.html Lindsay Ashford

    Considering that Israel nearly lost the 1973 war, and would have lost it without a massive airlift of supplies by the United States, it is not at all inconceivable that Israel could lose the next war.

    Eventually, Israel is going to have to understand that belligerence and arrogance towards its neighbours is not sustainable over the long term. Like every other country, it is going to have to learn to cooperate with its neighbours. Assuming that the United States will bail it out every time is dangerous. One day, it may find itself standing alone.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    RJ, Lindsay,

    Shavua Tov,

    Such interesting and opposing reactions.

    In essence Israel has lost its independence. It is presently a dependency of the EU and the United States. That is reality. This means that the Israel government will do as it is told.

    I may not like that reality, but it is reality. The other reality, though, the one that is not covered in the pages of the Christian Science Monitor or the New York Times, is that Israel is collapsing from the inside, like rotting back-stairs.

    The main problem with the present “leaders” of Israel is that they do not have a backstairs criminal “deal” with Hamas like they had with Fateh. Such a delicious irony. The Israeli government practically set up Hamas to compete with Fateh. But they never figured out to make the kinds of contacts like they hasd had with Fateh.

  • MAOZ

    Ruvy, Shavua Tov!
    You close with Moshe’s words to the Children of Israel.

    But we’d best not forget what comes right after that: G^d says, “Why are you standing there crying to Me? Go forward into the sea!”

    I have no doubt whatsoever that HaShem is ever ready, willing and eager to help us. But we have to do our part, too: hishtadlut.

    Kol tuv.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    MAOZ,

    I didn’t want to quote the entire response from Torah, just a portion of it.

    Our hishtadlut (effort) will have to be more than mere prayer and psalms. We need to be willing to overthrow these fools. This is not impossible, but not so easy – either to organize or to accomplish. Also, assuming that we can do that, and then having done that, we need instiutions in place quickly. This is not impossible, but not easy.

    Just a few thoughts.

  • http://Ruvyisright nehad ismail

    I agree with Ruvy but for Israel to thrive and survive well and achieve political and economic independence it has to reach a real peace agreement with the Palestinians and the entire Arab World.
    Dealing wiht Hamas correctly and realistically is one step in the right direction. Hamas is not blameless and it has made many mistakes. For full details please visit NEWSBLAZE.COM and see my article about Hamas.
    As for Iran, this calls for united international effort to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons.

    nehad ismail
    camberley, england

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Nehad,

    Thank you so much for your comments. For those who would like to look at Nehad’s article, go HERE.

    In a sentence, Nehad argues that Hamas must change, and that the Powers must encourage this change to bring about peace in the region.

    All this is a kind sentiment, but Hamas draws its ideological foundations from the Moslem Brotherhood, and indirectly, from the Wahhabi who are the “parent” of the Moslem Brotherhood.

    They are believers. And there is no deal to be made with them. In time, they will turn out to be the same kinds of thieves that Fateh were, but without the calling cards and cachet of international recognition and sympathy for its aims that the PLO had. The decision of the Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to oust the PLO was based on disgust with their thieving ways. But as recent fighting has shown, the decision may not have been not finalized…

    Nehad,

    The path to peace here will be through religious reconciliation that will likely result in Arabs needing to oust the Wahhabi influences in Islam. These influences include Hamas. That is on the Arab side.

    On our side, it means putting into a power a religious regime, not a secular one, and operating this country as a Jewish State, not a secular one. There is more, but time does not allow me to detail these ideas just right now. I have detailed them elsewhere in different comments to different articles.

    But all of these ideas go against the interests of the Powers, who do not want this region to be independent or economically self-sufficient.

    Shavua Tov (have a good week).

  • http://Ruvy#7thanksandIagree nehad ismail

    Religious tolerance is the key to mutual understanding. In a nutshell the extremists must be isolated and the reasonable majority must make its voice heard. Thanks Ruvy for highlighting this point.The sensible people must work together to achieve the common goal of live and let live in peace and prosperity.

  • http://newsblaze.com David J

    Ruvy and Nehad. most interesting dialogue and the article about Hamas in newsblaze.com has some very good points.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Look, the Palestinian people had their first “free and fair” election in, like, ever, quite recently, and they chose a party of anti-semitic, pro-terrorism nutcases to rule them.

    The idea that there is some sort of “silent majority” of rational, pro-peace Muslims in the Arab world is a bit of a stretch, given the evidence…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Do note, RJ, that I do not use the term Palestinian to describe the loacal Arabs. The best you’ll get out of me is “South Syrian.” See my comments at Mark Schannon’s piece about South Syrian Arabs at each others throats

    They chose the best they could from the trash available. Eassentially Hamas smelled better than the PLO. Hamas was not known for beating up reporters, raping girls and all the other lovely practices of the PLO.

    Let me be clear. I’m no sympathiser of Hamas – but given dog shit and horse shit to choose between, the Arabs chose what was less smelly and messy to THEM.

    Had the PLO won these facrcical elections, the world media coverage of all this would be very different. The PLO are the “good” guys in the western media. They have money and connections. The Hamas, originally nurtured by the Israelis in the late 80’s as competition for the PLO, don’t.

    And from my point of view, it is far better to have Hamas in power. It rubs the noses of the secular Israeli establishment in the shit they themselves created. They can’t get away from the truth. The “Palestinian” movement’s goal is the destruction of Israel. And Hamas won’t let them forget it.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    CNN.com’s version of an AP rip and read on fighting in Gaza ended with a very bottom line statement:

    “We have one enemy,” Abu Samhadana said. “They are Jews … I will continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend my people.”

    That says it all, folks. That’s why I like Hamas. The secular Israeli sestablishment can never get away from stuff like that. The boys at Hamas lay it out just like they mean it to be, unlike the PLO, which lies to the west, and steals from its own.

  • Bliffle

    Sounds pretty grim.