November 25, 2006

Who Defends Israel?


There are few places in Israel more serene and relaxing than the spa hotel atop Mount Carmel. As I sit here on the terrace taking in the spectacular view toward Haifa bay, the silence is shattered by the thunderclap of F16s echoing through the mountainside. When this disturbance recurs hourly, some find it slightly unnerving. To me it is so very reassuring.
In the aftermath of this year’s Lebanon War, when the reality of Hizbullah’s threat as a lethal Iranian-trained and equipped force sunk in, the government of Israel immediately swung into action. “Defense” became the buzzword; the number one priority.
Sadly it was not defense of the state, but of a few selfish individuals. Chief of Staff Halutz was defending himself from being fired or forced out by the generals. Defense Minister Peretz was defending himself from a party coup as head of Labor and positioning himself for the next primaries. Deputy Prime Minister Peres was defending himself from corruption proceedings in the last Labor primary and positioning himself as next president to replace Moshe Katsav who, in turn, was defending himself against allegations of rape and wiretapping. Justice minister Ramon was defending himself on sexual harassment charges while Knesset Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi was defending himself from charges of fraud, breach of trust, election bribery, false testimony and perjury.
But none was busier with defense than the prime minister. Ehud Olmert set about limiting the scope and powers of an enquiry to defend himself from the possibility of facing prosecution. At the same time he was defending himself from allegations of election fraud through a suspect real estate deal, charges of unlawful political appointments and a bank share scandal.
So what about the defense of the nation? Was anyone minding the shop?
Fortunately, those outside the government do live in the real world. By this I mean the ordinary citizens of Israel and the IDF officers who are drawn from their families. They have little doubt that they will again be at war, and in a very short time. They accept the reality that this will not merely be a second round with Hizbullah in the North, but also in the Gaza we surrendered to Hamas, whose fighters are now armed with thousands of rockets smuggled through the Philadelphi checkpoint we surrendered to Egypt.
Moreover, the ordinary people seem to accept the high probability that Israel’s performance in Lebanon and the weakness of its leadership will encourage Syria to “have a go” and put its own Iranian training and equipment to the test. This will be no cakewalk.
So yes, I am very reassured by the sound of air force maneuvers, and I pray that we shall have restocked our weapons and ammunition in good time for the next round on those three fronts. And “pray” is the right word in the clear absence of any earthly leadership.
As I write these lines, much of the cabinet and their hangers-on are hobnobbing at the UJC conference in Los Angeles, at some fantastic cost in logistics and all the security paraphernalia that goes with such trips. While they pontificate half a world away, this morning’s Kassam strike kills a Sderot housewife outright and blows the legs off a young security guard.
More than just watching their own backs and enjoying the perks of office, the officials of this government don’t seem to have a policy for anything. Not for Hamas and their Kassams, not for Egypt and the rampant arms smuggling that goes on under its nose. Kadima’s platform of surrendering Judea and Samaria has been shattered by Nasrallah. The religious Shas party supports a government whose attorney general was prepared to defy police warnings and allow an abomination to be paraded in the Holy City. And the government’s other supporting prop, the Gil pensioners’ party, seems content to watch all this government profligacy go unchecked while new soup kitchens seem to open daily.
It’s getting chilly up here, so I venture inside for a hot cup of one of the spa’s exotic teas. I pick up a newspaper and read an absurd story of an “art” exhibition that has opened in the Welsh city of Cardiff. This gallery has nothing but bare walls. The 40-year old artist, Simon Pope, explains that the aim is to encourage people to walk through the empty rooms and conjure up memories of other exhibits and galleries they remember.

How well this sums up Israel’s present government – one totally devoid of policy or principle. And all that the nation can do is wander about conjuring-up memories of the great leaders we once had and their old-fashioned commitment to protecting the Jewish people in their own land.

November 23, 2006

Iran's Appetizer

All seem agreed that Israel is a mere appetizer for Iran's global ambitions as Islam's nuclear power. If the US is not prepared to take the required action, it must provide Israel with all the means necessary to do so. The only way to stop a glutton eating his way through to dessert is to have him choke on the appetizer.

Letter to Jerusalem Post

November 10, 2006

Far to Go

In an interview with Sky News, Ehud Olmert says he has “a lot of respect for Mahmoud Abbas” and can offer him a lot. He says that whilst he is not prepared to release one single prisoner to Hamas, to Abbas he is “ready to release many”.

As if those released terrorists will enrol in the ‘Abu Mazen Reform and Rehabilitation School’ after crossing to their freedom. We all know where these people go after they are released. Right back to Israel. Whether it is a restaurant, a nightclub or just a bus stop.

"The Palestinians do not know how many prisoners could have been released, how many of their kids could have been home," he adds. Some kids!

"I am ready day and night, I am ready anytime, any place, without preconditions to sit down and talk,” says Olmert, concluding: “ He [Abbas] will be surprised how far we are prepared to go!"

Into the sea perhaps?

November 09, 2006

Duh !

Will the Kadima government get anything right?

I know that intel ain't what it used to be in Israel, but most of us have known for months that the US congressional elections were going to take place this week.

And that Bush was facing an uphill struggle against the anti-war liberals of the Left, who would abandon Iraq much the same as they might also abandon Israel if it meant 'peace in our time' back home in the US.

So, of all the 52 weeks of a year of rocketing from Gaza, don't you think Olmert, Peretz and Livni could have chosen a more appropriate time to invade with tanks and artillery than this week?

As a result of this crass stupidity, millions of US voters went to the polls with the news that Israel had killed 13 members of a single family with stray artillery fire.

"Thanks a lot for nothing Ehud ! " must have been what Bush was mouthing in the Oval Office.

I shudder to think of what his newest Middle East advisor, James ('f*** the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway') Baker, had to say about it.

November 08, 2006

When G-d has no Proteksia

On my very first trip to Israel as a student, the very first words I learned in Ivrit were: shalom, toda and assimon. I clearly remember one particular early word, and that was proteksia.

In an op-ed this morning, the mayor of Jerusalem pleads for a last-minute reprieve from the spectre of homosexuals marching through his holy city. He claims that, after centuries of conquest and bloodshed, Jerusalem has shown itself to be a model of religious tolerance and co-existence between the many different faiths which hold it dear.

This march – if it needed to take place at all – should have been staged in Tel Aviv or Haifa. Those are Israel’s bastions of the liberal and enlightened. Most of their inhabitants - and particularly their university professors - don’t believe Israel needs Jerusalem anyway.

So, it amounts undeniably to a deliberate provocation of orthodox Jews.

In such circumstances, it would have been easy for the government to ban the march. Even the police recommended it should not go ahead. But the attorney general would not budge. Why? Because it would be an infringement of freedom of expression. A right, it would seem, that can only be expressed in Jerusalem.

Which brings me back to my early Hebrew vocabulary. I have since come to learn that proteksia is a euphemism for corruption; obtaining unfair advantage by money or official influence.

It is no secret that there is hardly a sector in Israel that is not rife with corruption from Sharon’s Greek Island affair to Olmert’s property and banking deals. It is said that half the employees at Ben Gurion’s new airport terminal are connected in some way to one family.

Against this ghastly backdrop, it would have been easy for Mazuz to take a more sensitive view on the meaning of freedom of expression. Had he done so, he would have been ostracised for a week by a few hundred sexual libertines and their enlightened supporters in the staffrooms of a few universities. It would have blown over in a week; two at the maximum.

Instead Mazuz deliberately chose the path of greatest resistance. He chose to violate a holy city and infuriate millions of Jews at home and abroad who still regard Israel as a Jewish state, true to the Almighty and His Torah.

How sad that in an establishment so riddled with corruption, this wretched government, with its record number of ministers, could find no proteksia for G-d.


November 06, 2006

Gay Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Just as Ariel Sharon’s military appointees have left the country defenceless and his vice premier has rendered the country leaderless, his attorney general Menachem Mazuz has made his own unique contribution to the erosion of the Jewish state by allowing gays to march in Jerusalem against the advice of police.

This means that 12,000 police will have to be deployed on Friday to protect this important demonstration of Israel’s graduation to the lofty standards of European culture and tolerance.

This means there will be 12,000 less police to secure our citizens against suicide attacks this coming Friday.

Lebanon should have taught us that Arabs are no longer stupid. We have to assume they will exploit this thinning of resources to open a crack our defences and do what they love to do most: kill Jews.

And, in case you think the suicide bombers have gone away, here's one that blew herself up just today approaching our soldiers in Beit Hanoun.

If heaven forbid there is an attack this weekend, by a killer who took advantage of the situation created by Mazuz, let him carry full responsibility for the consequences.

What else must we endure from this utterly discredited, inept and corrupt government?

November 05, 2006

What's in a Name ?

What is it about Liebermans?

In America, Joe Lieberman is a senator of the Left who's been disowned by his Democratic platform for supporting the Right-wing Bush administration.

In Israel, Avigdor Lieberman is an MK of the Right who's been disowned by his Nationalist platform for supporting the Left-wing Olmert coalition.

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