A Long Collection of Short Topics

I don’t want to be one of those writers who keeps writing long past the point at which he should have stopped. This piece will be my last regular blog. It may be the outline for a book. In any event, it summarizes the issues that have occupied me in recent months.

Psychology, strength, and deterrence

Human psychology is not as simple as it may look. There is a dark corner, sometimes more than a corner, of the human soul in which kindness is contemptible, and brutality is respected. Human sensibility is a product of evolution, and evolution teaches people (and other animals) that it is best to be on the stronger side, the winning side. Hamas employed this principle when it kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and then produced propaganda showing him entirely dependent on his captors, weak and without agency. They didn’t need to torture him – just present him, an Israeli soldier, as a weakling.

Especially in the Middle East, where the ascendant ethos is that of nomadic peoples, honor is a key element determining how a person or a tribe or a nation will be treated. Honor comes from defending what is yours without compromise, whether that be land, property, or – even in this supposedly enlightened age – the personal honor of women. The tribe that allows its land to be encroached upon, its property to be stolen, its murder victims unavenged, its religion and history mocked, and its women defiled, loses its honor. And without honor, a people is a target. It is like having a sign on your back: take whatever you want from this creature.

All these and more are done to Jewish Israel every day by her Arab Muslim enemies. It is not accidental. Crime is often jihad. The Arabs believe we have stolen their honor and they are taking it back, attacking our holy sites, stealing our cars (today’s camels), fighting for possession of our capital, colonizing Area C and the Negev, burning our fields and forests, and of course murdering Jews whenever possible.

Israel’s enemies have failed to defeat her, so far, in direct military confrontation. But they have succeeded in gnawing away at her honor.

Deterrence has two components: the power to defeat the enemy and the will to use that power. Israel clearly has the power to depopulate Gaza and to destroy Iran as a functioning nation. Israel’s enemies still have a degree of fear of her military capabilities. But as her honor disappears, they begin to doubt that she has the strength of will to use them, because the very definition of a people without honor is one that allows itself to be preyed upon.

The motivations of countries

Countries are sometimes analogized to people. It’s said that there are “friendly” countries and “unfriendly ones.” Moral concepts are applied to them: countries are said to be “good” or “evil.” This is a mistake (what philosophers call a category mistake), in this case a form of anthropomorphic fallacy. The idea of friendship and systems of morality developed in an evolutionary way from the interactions of people in human societies. But countries aren’t human beings, and the world stage on which they interact is not a human society. Of course countries have leaders, and moral concepts can be applied to them. There can be morally good or evil leaders. But morality is not relevant to the effectiveness of leaders, as leaders.

Countries act (or should act) in accordance with the true interests of their people. It’s the job of their leadership to see to it that they do. That is the content of the contract between the people and their government. Effective leaders align the policies of their countries with the interests of the people. Ineffective ones do not; and really rotten ones pursue their own personal interests and those of their friends, at the expense of their people. I believe that the government of Israel is ineffective.

Offense or defense?

Israel has developed an official military doctrine that calls for her army to take the initiative, and because of Israel’s limited strategic depth, to act preemptively, and to take the fight to the enemies’ territory. But in recent years it seems that her actual strategy has been precisely the opposite. Instead of preemption, she has allowed her enemies to attack, and only then responded. Since the disaster at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, her ground troops have only rarely entered enemy territory, and even then did not seek to penetrate to the enemy’s headquarters and destroy it. She has developed elaborate defensive systems at great cost, such as the anti-missile systems Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as powerful laser weapons capable of countering multiple forms of attack, including mortar fire, low-trajectory rockets, and drones. She has invested huge sums of money in barriers on the borders of Gaza, Lebanon, and Egypt, and even on the non-border with Judea and Samaria.

This strategy has been comfortable for Israel’s governments, which prefer not to take the risks inherent in more proactive policies, which include casualties among our soldiers and condemnation and possible sanctions from European nations and the Biden Administration. But there are several important problems with this policy. One is that it is only temporarily effective. Improvements in defensive weapons are met with improved methods of attack. Israel’s enemies are never conclusively defeated, so after every punishment they come back stronger, with new ideas and capabilities. As is often said, they can afford to lose wars, rebuild, and try again, while Israel can’t afford to lose even once. The case of Hezbollah is particularly problematic, where the lack of a preemptive response to the buildup in Lebanon has allowed a merely dangerous situation to expand into an existential threat.

But of equal importance is the psychological factor: we are forced to hunker down in our ghetto, behind our walls, domes, and lasers, while our enemies throw death-dealing weapons at us. It becomes customary, and then even acceptable to try to kill Jews; after all, they only succeed a few percent of the time, so why worry? What is being missed here is the loss of honor inherent in letting one’s enemies shoot without an equivalent response, and the encouragement to our enemies to keep trying.

The same has been true – although here the situation is improving – of our response to terrorism. Until recently, when rules of engagement were changed, deadly force was rarely used against those throwing firebombs, or dropping rocks from buildings (or the Temple Mount), or throwing them from moving cars. These are all instances of attempted murder with deadly weapons and should be treated as such. When terrorists do survive their murderous attempts, their imprisonment constitutes a mild punishment, and they receive generous salaries from the Palestinian Authority. Unfortunately, the government has chosen to allow the PA to continue paying terrorists, even absurdly loaning it money to compensate for legally mandated deductions from tax receipts due to the PA.

It has been suggested that Israel return to the strategy of reprisals for terrorism, as was carried out by the famous Unit 101. It is very unlikely that today’s Israeli government would do such a thing.

Antisemitism

The proper response to antisemitism – both the large-scale antizionism of the UN and other institutions, as well as the everyday form that that is exploding throughout the diaspora – requires consideration of the principles discussed in the first section of this article. Insofar as Jews and Jewish communities are perceived as weak and as victims, they will be victimized. Personal and communal self-defense will not only deter antisemitic acts, but will act to change the image of the Jew from that of an acceptable victim to that of a person deserving of respect.

This can be very difficult in the diaspora, where Jews are a small minority, and the legal and social structures are unfriendly to the idea of armed self-defense. One can note that leaders of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Kahane and Irv Rubin, were murdered (Rubin’s death was officially labeled a suicide in prison, like that of Jeffery Epstein).

Indeed, a powerful argument for Zionism is the difficulty for a small minority in a hostile diaspora environment to effectively defend itself. Although a Jew in New York City may not be able to carry a firearm, countries – even the Jew Among Nations – can be armed to protect themselves and their people.

Much of the response to antisemitism has traditionally been Holocaust education, which often has precisely the opposite effect from what is desired. The Jews are presented as weak, unable to defend themselves, begging the nations to protect them or take them in. The Nazis – although condemned as evil – are presented as strong and competent. Normal people exposed to this, while horrified by Nazi brutality and pitying the Jewish victims, are nevertheless, in the darker corners of their brains, feeling contempt for the victims, who “allowed” themselves to be murdered. There is also a feeling of satisfaction that they are not among them, which leads to an identification with the victimizers.

Antisemites simply enjoy hearing about the Jews getting what they believe they deserve, find support for their beliefs – Hitler wouldn’t have done what he did without a reason, would he? – and get ideas for the best way to finish his work.

The best educational response to the Holocaust is not to try to evoke pity and tears, but to teach the history of the founding of the state of Israel, and how the barely surviving remnants of the European Jewish people defeated their enemies against great odds, so as to ensure that there would never be another Holocaust.

The Jewish problem

The Jewish people established a sovereign entity in 1948 for the first time since the short-lived Hasmonean dynasty of 142-63 BCE (or perhaps the even shorter-lived Bar Kochva state from 132-135 CE). During most of Jewish history, they lived in various lands under the domination of rulers who varied greatly in the degree of tolerance shown to their Jewish subjects. Always a minority, they suffered from the whims of the local populace, and they generally had to entreat the rulers or princes to defend them when necessary. Often this required the payment of ransom or protection money. When rulers tired of them, the Jews were expelled from the province, often violently, or just murdered.

The lessons they learned from this existence were not suitable for a free people in a sovereign state. In the period leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel, and in the war and difficult times that followed, they had to be unlearned. The Jewish people needed to relearn how to fight, and how to govern themselves. After the state came into existence they had to learn how to negotiate as a sovereign state with other such states, and not as a weak minority with a far more powerful ruler. And they had to learn how to rule a state that had in it a large and somewhat hostile minority, a minority that shared its nationality with the external enemies of the state.

Some of these new lessons were learned well, and some not so well. We’re too willing to try to solve our problems by paying ransom: to Hamas, to the PA, and to our own Arab minority. And where a primarily defensive strategy is appropriate for a small minority in a hostile environment, a sovereign state like ours should adopt a more proactive, preemptive approach to overcoming our enemies.

Another problem that comes from our history is what Kenneth Levin called the “Oslo Syndrome:” our own internalization of antisemitic ideas, which leads us to try to stop attacks against us by becoming “better” people, by those same antisemitic standards. So we accept the Palestinian complaint that we are oppressors and make dangerous concessions to them; and then we beat ourselves up even further when they respond with more violence. Jewish Oslo syndrome sufferers obsess about what they see as the moral weakness, even as the evil nature, of the state that is the homeland of the Jewish people, and are found among the most vicious and mendacious anti-Zionists. One feels that no other group has quite as great a percentage of internal antagonists than the Jewish people. Is there an Arab version of the Ha’aretz newspaper or of its columnist Gideon Levy? I doubt it.

The Palestinian Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs are not considered a serious threat by our military establishment, but in my opinion they are the greatest threat facing the state today. Our external enemies can be defeated militarily – even Iran will be, if it doesn’t collapse on its own – but the Arabs living between the river and the sea present a challenge that is much more difficult. They are intertwined with us physically, but in their minds they are committed to the Palestinian Narrative, a story in which the Jews have stolen their land and their honor, which can only be redeemed violently. Those that are pious believe in addition that there is a religious imperative to return the land to Muslim sovereignty. Of course many of them are not committed to violence themselves, and many – especially the Arab citizens of Israel – believe that their economic and social interests are, at least currently, served by the state of Israel, and would strongly resist an attempt to place them under the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

Nevertheless, virtually all of them (exceptions include some Christian Arabs) – including the Arab doctors and nurses in our hospitals that we depend on for our lives, as well as the construction workers that build our homes – believe that the Jews are temporary usurpers here, and support the struggle to remove us and establish an Arab state in place of Israel. This belief is essential to Palestinian culture, whose only specifically Palestinian (as opposed to Arab) components are those that arose in opposition to the Jewish state.

That this is true of our Arab citizens can be confirmed by the content of the remarks made by the Arab members of Israel’s Knesset, the writings of Arab Israeli intellectuals, and the violent anti-Jewish riots in Israeli towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations that took place last May.

The residents of Judea/Samaria and Gaza are even more forthright, demonstrating their point of view with mass celebrations whenever there is a deadly terrorist attack in Israel, as happened three times in recent weeks.

The Palestinian Narrative and Islam, in that order, are the greatest obstacles preventing coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the Land of Israel. Unfortunately there is no easy way to counteract these ideological-religious entities, which appear to be getting stronger with time. Therefore, the possibility of coexistence is decreasing.

Israel and the USA

The US is going through a very difficult period, in which economic injuries caused by globalization, mechanization, and huge debts, have combined with social upheavals to create a period of instability unlike anything that I experienced in my lifetime. The social problems were exacerbated by external hostile actors that manipulated social media to promote extremism of both the Right and the Left. The icing on the cake has been the election of a senile president along with an incompetent vice-president, leading to a situation in which one feels that the country is going to hell in a self-propelled handbasket.

Whatever else can be said of the Biden Administration, policy-making positions that affect relations with Israel have been filled with people who are either outright opponents of the Jewish state (Malley) or naïve about the realities of the region (Blinken, Nides). So far Biden’s people have avoided the kind of clash that characterized the Obama Administration, but that may be just because they are afraid to shake Israel’s coalition so hard that Bibi Netanyahu, Obama’s bête noire, returns to power.

Israel has always held to the concept that she and she alone could be responsible for her defense. No one came to the aid of the Jews during the Holocaust, and we could not assume that other nations would be there for the Jewish state in her hour of need, either. But despite this, we’ve allowed ourselves to become massively dependent on the US for military hardware that can’t easily be replaced from other sources. Our own military industries have been weakened as a result. Although we proudly say that no American soldier will ever fight for us, what’s the difference if we can’t fight without continued American logistical support?

The fact that the younger demographic of the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly anti-Israel – and the aged leadership will soon be gone – is not encouraging. Combined with the instability, which appears to be getting worse, it should be obvious to everyone in Israel that continued dependence on the US is a bad thing.

The future

Unless something unexpected happens to the Iranian regime, a war between Israel, Iran, and Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and perhaps Yemen, appears inevitable. This will be a very difficult war with a great deal of damage to the home fronts of all participants. I expect also that Hamas will take part, and possibly elements from the Palestinian Authority. It’s also likely that there will be major disturbances by the Arab citizens of Israel, in the primarily Arab and mixed towns.

Israel can defeat Iran. But her continued existence will depend on what she does about the Arabs between the river and the sea.

Posted in American politics, American society, Iran, Islam, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Israeli or Jewish History, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, The Diaspora, The Future, The Jewish people, US-Israel Relations, War, Zionism | 5 Comments

Israel Must Become an Unaligned Nation

Israel needs to change course, or she will lose the War of Independence she has been fighting since 1948.

It’s not possible for Israel to endure as a satellite of a country whose regime opposes our survival as a Jewish state. The Biden Administration’s policies are no different than those we struggled against during the Obama presidency. There is a de facto freeze on construction east of the Green Line, for Jews. For Arabs, the sky is the limit, all paid for by the Europeans. We are losing Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, which – whatever you think about their spiritual and psychological importance for the Jewish people – are strategically essential for the defense of our country.

The Palestinian Arabs smell blood in the water and believe there is a possibility to realize their dream of finally kicking the Jews out of our tiny slice of the world between the river and the sea. The Biden Administration has restored funds that Trump cut, both to the Palestinian Authority and to UNWRA, which maintains and grows the army of more than 5 million Arabs with their unique hereditary refugee status (like no other refugees in history). In the last two weeks, 14 Israelis have been murdered in a terror campaign. Just like last year at this time, it appears that both the PA and Hamas are interested in provoking an uprising among Israel’s Arab citizens.

Iran is galloping toward nuclear weapons, with the assistance of the Biden Administration, which is positively lusting to sign a deal that will a) legitimize Iran’s violation of the non-proliferation treaty it signed, b) criminalize any Israeli military action against Iran, and c) provide billions of dollars to finance strengthening Iran’s encirclement of Israel with heavily armed proxy armies.

There are plenty of problems in the country that are the fault of our various governments, both the current one led by Naftali Bennett, and the previous ones of Binyamin Netanyahu. But the greatest threats – the existential threats – are war with Iran and her proxies, and large-scale insurrection by the Arabs living between the river and the sea (which would probably occur concurrently). Both of these possibilities have been facilitated by the West, and in particular by the last two Democratic administrations in the US.

The Trump Administration broke with the US policy since the 1970s, which had been to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war. Trump understood and acted on the truths that a Palestinian state whose western boundary approximated the 1949 armistice line would become a threat to Israel’s heartland, that the Jordan valley and the Golan Heights are essential to make the state defensible, and that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel. He put the brakes on the unlimited expansion of a “refugee” population that would accept no solution other than “returning” en masse to Israel, and converting it into an Arab-majority state. He made the Palestinian Authority accountable for its policy of paying the terrorists that murder Israelis. And finally, he exited Obama’s nuclear deal and initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign that – had it not been cut short by his removal from power – was the only policy short of war that could have stopped Iran.

Although Biden’s administration may have some of its teeth pulled by the upcoming midterm elections, we need to recognize that the US Democratic Party as a whole has become far more anti-Israel than it was even during the Obama period, and this is even more pronounced for its younger members. It’s impossible to predict the outcome of the next presidential election (2024) and even if a Republican wins, it’s not clear that his or her policies will be pro-Israel. Anti-Israel attitudes in general are increasing in the US, and it is unlikely that we will see an administration as friendly as Trump’s in the future.

Like methamphetamine users who steal from their families or sell their bodies in order to obtain drugs, Israel has bartered her future in order to support her addiction to American military aid. I’ve argued that it’s unnecessary, that it skews our military procurement toward “free” systems rather than what fits our needs best, that it cripples our own defense industry, that it corrupts our military establishment, and – most important – that it gives the US far too much leverage over our political and military decisions.

So we agree to stop construction in communities in Judea, Samaria, or eastern Jerusalem. We don’t enforce our laws and court decisions concerning illegal Arab building. We accept limitations on our trade with China. We are pressured not to sabotage Iranian facilities or assassinate their personnel, and even not to comment on Iran so as to protect the nuclear negotiations. During the Obama period, deliveries of critical weapons were held up, and the FAA declared our international airport off limits in order to pressure us to agree to a cease-fire with Hamas.

Our defense officials tend to follow Washington’s lead, because US aid is something like a quarter of Israel’s military budget. It is very hard to say no in such circumstances. In 2012, Netanyahu and Ehud Barak came close to bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities; opposition from the US and from our own military and security officials torpedoed the plan.

This problem has been with us for decades, since Jimmy Carter sweetened the Camp David deal between Israel, the US, and Egypt, with big chunks of military aid for the former antagonists. Today our dependence on the US, which may have once been a minor concern, has grown into a major one. As Iran comes closer and closer to its nuclear weapon and as we are on the verge of losing control of much of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, we are feeling the pressure of the American “golden handcuffs.”

As a tiny nation in a world of competing imperial powers, our survival depends on our being able to maintain a degree of distance from all of them. While we have to be careful not to make enemies of any of them, it is also a mistake to put all of our eggs in one basket, to the point that our fealty is taken for granted – especially when the empire in question has interests that more and more diverge from ours.

I would like to see our government begin a gradual phase-out of American military aid, along with a study of what kind of systems we need the most to maintain our deterrence. Maybe instead of buying astronomically expensive F-35s with American money, we should be building more drones and missiles ourselves? This is a decision that should be made here – and not in Washington.

Although we are a small country, we have technological know-how that could be leveraged by cooperation with other unaligned countries, like India for example. There is already some progress in this direction.

It also wouldn’t hurt to improve our relations with China; a repressive, nasty regime, but one that unfortunately may become the dominant one on the planet in a decade or two.

Posted in American politics, China, Iran, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Terrorism, US-Israel Relations, War | 10 Comments

Summer Weather Comes to Israel

The weather has finally turned warm here. It seems like we skipped spring and went straight to summer. Along with the heat and the haze come incitement and terrorism, which will very likely develop – as it did last year at this time – into war and insurrection.

Last month saw three high-profile terror attacks inside the Green Line, in which 11 people were murdered (including Christian Arab and Druze police officers, and two Ukrainian workers). Fatah* and Hamas praised the terrorists, and as usual sweets were distributed in Gaza and weapons fired in the air to commemorate the success of the “operations.” Significantly, two of the three terrorists were Israeli Arab citizens.

The events of last year began with demonstrations at the Temple Mount in support of the Arab families in the Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood who were to be evicted for non-payment of rent (they are still there, thanks to the Israeli Supreme Court). When police entered the Mount to confiscate stockpiled weapons, violent clashes ensued. Hamas issued an “ultimatum,” and then began launching rockets at Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired 4,350 rockets; 680 of them fell short, landing in Gaza and causing numerous casualties there. 12 Israeli civilians were killed by rockets, and one soldier died when his jeep was struck by an antitank weapon.

During the 12 days of war, violent clashes between police and Arabs in eastern Jerusalem continued. At the same time, an unprecedented wave of what could only be called pogroms swept over Israeli towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations. In Lod, Ramle, Acco, Yafo, and Haifa, Jews and Jewish property were attacked:

In little more than a week, Arab rioters set 10 synagogues and 112 Jewish residences on fire, looted 386 Jewish homes and damaged another 673, and set 849 Jewish cars on fire. There were also 5,018 recorded instances of Jews being stoned. Three Jews were murdered and more than 600 were hurt. Over 300 police officers were injured in disturbances in over 90 locations across the country.

… although some commentators have push [sic] the ‘both sides’ line, no mosques were damaged, one Arab home was firebombed (by Arabs that mistook it for a Jewish home), 13 Arab homes and cars were damaged, and 41 Arab bystanders were hurt by hurled stones. There were also two attacks by Jewish extremists against Arab bystanders …

This was an attempt to incite a full-fledged insurrection against the Jewish state. The police were unprepared for the scope of the violence and in many cases Jewish residents were left to fend for themselves or flee (to find their homes ransacked on their return). To many who remembered life in the diaspora, the feeling of helplessness was familiar.

This year, as Ramadan begins and Passover approaches, the situation is similar to that before the previous outbreak. Hamas and the PA have been inciting their (apparently easily suggestible) clientele with the traditional calls to “defend al-Aqsa” against Jewish desecration. Recently Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem), the site of nightly violent demonstrations, to show support for the police, who are doing their best to keep them from getting out of hand. Hamas called the visit – of the Israeli FM to a location in Israel’s capital city! – a “dangerous escalation,” and threatened unspecified “consequences.”

Several nascent terror attacks have been nipped in the bud by the actions of security forces. In one case, three terrorists on their way to carry out an attack were intercepted by the special counterterrorism unit of the border police (Yamam), who engaged in a firefight, killing the terrorists. Four of the officers were wounded, one seriously.

The policy of the government seems to be to avoid escalation, while the PA and Hamas want the opposite. It won’t take much to set it off, and the expectation is that if there is another explosion, it will be characterized by rocket attacks – possibly with more and better long-range rockets than last year – as well as terrorism from Judea and Samaria and riots by Israeli Arabs. Each time this happens there are new touches. The weather has turned hot and dry, so we can expect fires to be set in the forests around Jerusalem and the agricultural lands in the Negev.

Also each time this happens, the propaganda assault against Israel takes off: the exaggeration of casualties in Gaza (and the attribution of self-inflicted ones to the IDF), the stories about security personnel “murdering children in cold blood” (an 18-year old shot with a flaming firebomb in his hand), or the reports of “extrajudicial executions” (of terrorists on murderous rampages). We will see the usual comparisons to Nazis and perhaps now also to Russians.

American officials will take time off from appeasing Iran to demand a cease-fire, especially if it appears (as is highly unlikely) that the IDF intends to actually harm Hamas in Gaza. The PA will get a pass for its incitement, and continue to receive funds from the US and Israel to pay the terrorists that murder us. Terrorism, rioting, and anti-Jewish pogroms will be attributed to poverty and discrimination, and we’ll be told that more money needs to be invested in Gaza, the PA, and Arab towns inside the Green Line.

My personal feeling is this: let it come, and let us for once strike back like we want to win, and not just return to normalcy. What we have now isn’t normalcy, it’s attrition. They are wearing us down, in Judea and Samaria, in the Negev, in the Galilee, in the mixed towns, and around the border with Gaza. Let it come, and let us take the opportunity to begin the long, difficult process of reasserting our sovereignty – over all of the Land of Israel.

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* Fatah was founded in 1959 by Yasser Arafat and several others with the goal of “liberating Palestine.” By 1967, under the tutelage of the Soviet KGB, it became “the dominant force in Palestinian politics.” In 1969, Arafat became the chairman of the PLO, an umbrella organization of Palestinian nationalist groups. When Israeli leaders stupidly agreed to recognize the PLO as the “legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” (instead of an outlaw terrorist gang) in the Oslo Accords, the PLO became – in its incarnation as the Palestinian Authority (PA) – a quasi-government which came to rule those parts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (from which they were ousted by Hamas in 2007) with large Arab populations. Essentially, the PA is the PLO, which in turn is Fatah. Mahmoud Abbas, the “president” of the PA – he calls it the “State of Palestine” – is also the chairman of the PLO and the head of Fatah.

This is important, because Fatah explicitly promotes violent action against Israel, and many terrorist acts have been carried out by its operatives. Thus the acceptance of the PA as a partner in any way, or cooperation with it, or providing financial support to it – all of which Israel has done and continues to do – is equivalent to cooperation with terrorism.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Terrorism, War | 1 Comment

Israel Isn’t Switzerland

As Ramadan begins and Passover draws near, Israel faces pressure on almost all fronts. Last night in a firefight near the Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarem, three terrorists associated with Fatah were killed. Four members of Israel’s Yamam counterterrorism unit were wounded, one of them seriously. The terrorists were on their way to carry out an attack, possibly against Israeli military installations or civilian homes. Army radio reported that one of them left a “will” in which he claimed a connection to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization in order to provoke Israel to retaliate against that group, which would in turn respond by launching rockets from Gaza. Security forces say they have foiled several other planned attacks by Arab citizens of Israel and residents of the Palestinian authority areas.

Following three murderous attacks in the space of one week, there have been violent demonstrations in Jerusalem and in various locations in Judea and Samaria. The terrorists are trying to escalate the situation as much as possible, while Israel wants to avoid a general conflagration. Many disturbances and non-fatal attacks on soldiers, police, and civilians are not reported in the mainstream press even here in Israel, and information is disseminated by Telegram and WhatsApp groups.

This is in keeping with the general progression of the conflict, which I and many others see as the continuation of Israel’s War of Independence. In recent years, Israel has moved from the offensive strategy that produced the military (but not always political) successes of 1948, 1956, and 1967, to an overall defensive posture. Rocket attacks and terror tunnels from Gaza have been met with economically unsustainable missile defense systems and an astronomically expensive underground barrier. Recently new defensive laser weapons have been developed, with science fiction-like capabilities to shoot down drones, rockets, and possibly ballistic missiles.

Surrender to extortion is another kind of defensive weapon. Israel has arranged for large sums of money to be transferred to Hamas in Gaza from Qatar, and has made large “loans” to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Purportedly this is done in order to “improve the Palestinian economy,” on the grounds that “poverty breeds terrorism;” but a) this is demonstrably not true, and b) much of the money is used to produce weapons and pay terrorists, and to personally enrich the leaders of Hamas and Fatah. One wonders how either Ben Gurion or Begin would respond to this strategy.

So why do we do this? Why don’t we just crush Hamas, and expel the terrorists and their sympathizers both in the territories and among our own citizens? Why don’t we stop trying to “improve the economy” in Gaza and the PA, and do the opposite in order to encourage the populations to emigrate? Why don’t we apply the death penalty and family expulsion to terrorist murderers? Why do we cooperate with the PA, which is identical with the PLO, which in turn is dominated by the antisemitic, murderous Fatah organization? Why don’t we subsidize builders that do not use Arab labor? Why did we withdraw from Gaza? What came over us to make us sign the Oslo Accords? There are several answers to these questions:

It is easier to pay than to fight. Politicians always prefer to kick problems down the road, because by the time an issue becomes inescapable, they will have banked the rewards of “public service” and someone else will deal with it. Especially when all they have to do to postpone a crisis is to spend someone else’s money.

The West treats us like Switzerland. European and American regimes threaten and sometimes even sanction other countries for “violating human rights,” which includes any form of discrimination, the death penalty, anything that can be called “collective punishment,” and so on. But what works for countries with a strong common national identity and friendly neighbors does not necessarily work for us. Often Western countries apply a double standard and judge Israel by criteria applicable to, for example, Switzerland. And we accept this.

We ourselves believe that we are Switzerland. Some Israelis, including many of our politicians and officials of the legal system, act as though we are not really threatened by our hostile neighbors and from a minority within the country that is ideologically and religiously committed to our removal from this land. This leads to our inability to fight terrorism effectively, and produced the Oslo Accords, one of the most suicidal initiatives in history since someone pulled that wooden horse through the gates of Troy.

The first and third of these are our own fault. When the new state was declared, the goal of creating a “New Jew” free of diaspora timidity was ascendant. The New Jew, among other things, was aggressive and not afraid to fight for his or her historical homeland. The New Jew was self-sufficient and didn’t shirk from hard work or hard choices. Some things about the New Jew were less attractive, such as a lack of understanding of the importance of religion (or respect for our own). But in general the New Jew was well-suited to the struggle to re-establish a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. New Jews like Moshe Dayan and Arik Sharon won Israel’s first few wars for us. Unfortunately, the diaspora caught up with some of our leaders, like Ehud Olmert, who once admitted that he was tired of winning wars. Did he think we would survive losing one?

We can’t face our enemies, or even our “friends” – unfortunately the quotation marks seem more appropriate every day in connection with the EU and the Biden Administration – if we don’t change our own attitude. Certainly they would treat us with more respect if we restored the offensive element to our military doctrine, instead of cowering behind higher, deeper, ever more sophisticated barriers and under iron and photonic domes.

But one thing we can learn from the double standards applied to us is that it is not all our fault. Many in the West, and among our more open antagonists in our own region, are antisemites who hate and fear us, but at the same time hold us in contempt. There is little that we can do about the hate (the fear should be encouraged), but we can gain respect by dropping the pretense that we are a kind of Switzerland. If we want to live in the Middle East, then we have to behave like a Middle Eastern nation – one that doesn’t shrink from using whatever means necessary to reach its national goals.

Posted in Europe and Israel, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Society, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, US-Israel Relations | 4 Comments

How to Survive in the Middle East

Last week, after a terrorist attack in Beer Sheva that took four lives, I (rhetorically) asked our leadership if they had a plan to deal with Arab terrorism, something more long-range than beefing up the police presence over Ramadan. Since then, there have been two more attacks, one in Hadera and one in Bnei Brak, bringing the total number of murder victims to eleven in one week.

The Beer Sheva terrorist was a Bedouin Arab, a citizen of Israel. The Hadera murderers were also Israeli citizens, from Umm al Fahm in the “Arab triangle” east of that city, who identified with the Islamic State. The terrorist who murdered five on Tuesday in Bnai Brak was from the Jenin area in the Palestinian Authority. He was in Israel illegally, working on a construction project. Some reports say that he was associated with Fatah, the party of PLO/PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Diversity in terrorism.

Three of the murdered and one of the seriously injured victims were policemen. And of those, one was a Druze and another was a Christian Arab.

These terror attacks are the tip of an iceberg. Part of the rest of it showed itself last May, when during a war that was provoked by Hamas rocket attacks, we experienced a murderous uprising by Arab citizens:

In little more than a week, Arab rioters set 10 synagogues and 112 Jewish residences on fire, looted 386 Jewish homes and damaged another 673, and set 849 Jewish cars on fire. There were also 5,018 recorded instances of Jews being stoned. Three Jews were murdered and more than 600 were hurt. Over 300 police officers were injured in disturbances in over 90 locations across the country.

That wasn’t a peaceful demonstration. It wasn’t even a riot. It was a rebellion, an attempt to open a second front during a war. And it wasn’t “clashes between Arabs and Jews”:

By contrast, although some commentators have push [sic] the ‘both sides’ line, no mosques were damaged, one Arab home was firebombed (by Arabs that mistook it for a Jewish home), 13 Arab homes and cars were damaged, and 41 Arab bystanders were hurt by hurled stones. There were also two attacks by Jewish extremists against Arab bystanders, in Bat Yam and Herzliya. Bat Yam saw a large and violent demonstration by far-right Jews.

More of the iceberg, which has been growing for years while Israelis and their leaders have kept their eyes shut, has recently become visible. That is the astonishing fact that a great deal of the Negev and the Galilee have become no-go zones, controlled by Bedouin crime gangs:

Residents of the Negev (and parts of the Galilee) have felt, for years, that the government has abandoned them to the violence and crime of the Bedouin community. According to some estimates, some 100,000 acres of Israeli land have been ceded to the Bedouin—security forces will not or cannot exercise control in those areas, and the Bedouin have, some say, created a state within a state. … today the amount of weapons that the Bedouins in the Negev have right now … they have more weapons than two divisions of the IDF right now in the middle of the Negev. They smuggle weapons and drugs of more than 4 billion shekels a year between the Negev and Egypt …

Israel has very strict firearms laws. An Israeli citizen generally cannot possess a rifle, and must demonstrate a need (living in a dangerous area, a job as a security guard, etc.) to obtain a permit for a pistol. The amount of ammunition one can have is also limited. Yet the Bedouins and the criminal gangs in Israeli Arab towns are armed to the teeth with weapons stolen from the IDF, smuggled from Egypt or Lebanon, or even homemade. The murder rate among Israeli Arabs reflects this, being 12 times greater than that of Israeli Jews. Possibly the next time there is an uprising like the one last May, these guns will be turned against the Jews.

The trends are not encouraging. Our Muslim Arab citizens increasingly believe that the State of Israel is illegitimate, built on land “stolen” from them, and is a temporary edifice that will soon be liberated and replaced by an Arab state. Although it is true that only a small minority would engage in terrorism,

According to statistics published by Professor Sammy Smooha of Haifa University, 77.1 per cent of Israeli Arabs view Zionism as a colonial and racist movement, and demand that Israel be replaced with a binational state. 70.5 per cent of Israeli Arabs demand the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a move that would turn Israeli Jews into a minority. According to a 2017 study carried out by Smooha, Arab-Jewish relations have deteriorated since the previous survey done in 2015. In 2017, only 58.7 per cent of Israeli Arabs recognized Israel’s right to exist, as opposed to 65.8 per cent in 2015. In 2017, 44.6 per cent accepted Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state as opposed to 60.3 per cent in 2015. The acceptance of Israel retaining a Jewish majority declined from 42.7 per cent in 2015 to 36.2 per cent in 2017. …

The perpetrators of … violence operate in a society that is to a large extent sympathetic or supportive of their goals, if not always their methods.

The above is true not only of the “Arab in the street,” but especially so of their representatives in the Knesset and their academic intellectuals.

This situation has arisen because of a basic misperception of who we are – or rather, who we must be – in order to survive as a Jewish nation in the Middle East. The same misperception also weakens us in our relations with other nations, both our “friends” in Europe and North America, and our enemies. Israel cannot continue to survive as a “villa in the jungle,” in the words of Ehud Barak. We cannot establish a Scandinavian country here. Israel is part of the Middle East. We must put limits on who can live here and who can have political power.

In the Middle East, religion and ethnicity, tribal characteristics, are of great – no, overwhelming – importance. The idea that these can be ignored and a democratic and egalitarian state maintained here, given the demographic reality of today’s Israel, is delusional.

As everyone knows, in a non-totalitarian state, most people don’t obey laws because of fear of the police. They do so because they accept the principle that laws exist for the common good, and the legitimacy of the state that enforces them. If this were not the case, there would need to be almost as many police as citizens (as was close to the truth in communist East Germany). But most members of the Muslim Arab minority in Israel do not accept these propositions. Although we need to act with greater harshness against terrorism – a good start would be a death penalty for terrorist murder – we would need to become a police state like East Germany before we could suppress what is a genuine popular movement among one-fifth of the population. And keep in mind that this popular movement also has a great deal of external support (as well as help from the masochistic, autoantisemitic Left within the country).

We will not convince the acolytes of the Palestinian Movement to turn around and support the Jewish state. No amount of money or benefits to this segment of the population, or the participation of their representatives in the government will help (indeed, they have had the opposite effect). The only way to defeat this movement is to remove its supporters from the country. It would be good if this could be a gradual, nonviolent process effected by incentives, as suggested by Martin Sherman. But if that is impossible, then we must force them to leave.

Either we will face these facts and deal with them head-on, or we will not survive in the region.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Jew Hatred, Terrorism | 6 Comments

Israel and America, Far Apart

Today and tomorrow, the foreign ministers of Israel, the US, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco are meeting at Kibbutz Sde Boker in Israel’s Negev desert. The topic is said to be the soon-to-be-signed nuclear deal with Iran. According to Israel’s ambassador to Bahrain, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will “hear a strong position on Iran” from the other participants. If recent history is a guide, the Biden Administration will not be interested in what they think, and will convey to them as politely as possible (Blinken usually plays the Good Cop) that they’d better not rock the boat.

I am guessing that the deal will include a secret side agreement that the US will not allow its client states to take action against Iran. Ron Dermer, Israel’s former ambassador to the US, argues (podcast, about 28:00) that if a deal is signed, the US will likely act to restrain Israel from all activities against Iran, including her operations against Iranian bases and weapons shipments in Syria, on the grounds that these will cause the price of oil to go up.

The Saudi foreign minister did not attend, because Saudi Arabia, which chose not to join in the Abraham Accords, still does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. The reason for that is usually said to be because the elderly King Salman bin Abdulaziz does not wish to, even though the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is secretly cooperating with Israel against Iran. I suspect, though, that the real reason is that MBS wants to hedge his bets.

Meanwhile, the attacks against Saudi Arabia by the Iran-sponsored Houthi rebels in Yemen were sharply escalated this weekend when they hit Aramco oil facilities in Jeddah, doing significant damage (and incidentally causing a spike in oil prices). The US issued a condemnation of the attack which said that America would “continue to support [its] partners in defense of their territory.” Although the statement mentioned that the Houthis get their weapons from Iran, it only called on the Houthis to cooperate with the pusillanimous UN to “de-escalate the conflict.” Compare this tepid response to 1990-91, when in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and threats against Saudi Arabia, President GHW Bush crushed the Iraqi military and sent troops to Saudi Arabia to protect the regime and insure stability in the oil market.

It’s possible to see the attack as a message from Iran to the Americans to hurry up and surrender the last shreds of their honor, agree to the remaining Iranian demands – including promises to rein in Israel – and sign the deal. How expensive can the administration let gas and heating oil get, with midterm elections coming? Brent crude is now hovering around $120/bbl., about twice what it was at this time last year. And just a couple of years ago, I thought that American energy independence was going to put an end to the effectiveness of the “oil weapon,” first wielded against Israel in 1973. How quickly things change.

The US is pressuring Israel to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. One might ask why this tiny country is so important. It’s not, really, even if a few Jewish oligarchs can land their private planes here. Former Ambassador Ron Dermer thinks that the intent is to drive a wedge between Israel and Russia. Russia controls the skies over Syria, and has been allowing Israel to bomb Iranian bases and weapons shipments there. This is extremely important, because 1) Iranian militias in Syria can open yet another front against Israel in the next war, and 2) the shipment of kits to upgrade the 130,000 rockets aimed at Israel from Lebanon into missiles accurate to within a few meters is an existential threat to the Jewish state. Israel can provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine – Israel has set up a complete field hospital there – but there is a line that can’t be crossed. The Iranians would be happy to see an end to Russia’s cooperation with Israel. Perhaps they even suggested this to the American negotiators, whose lust for an agreement seems to know no bounds.

The perception of American interests held by the Biden Administration have diverged far from the interests of Israel. I think that PM Naftali Bennett and (especially) his Foreign and Defense Ministers, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz respectively, are having a hard time internalizing this.

I am always cheered by signs of Israeli-Arab cooperation in the struggle against Iran’s attempt to turn the entire region into an Islamic caliphate ruled from Tehran, but the meeting at Sde Boker would have been more meaningful if it had included a representative from Saudi Arabia rather than one from the US.

Posted in Iran, Middle East politics, US-Israel Relations | 1 Comment

What’s the Plan?

If you live in Israel, you know what happened in Beer Sheva on Tuesday. You know that a terrorist who was an Israeli citizen from one of the larger Bedouin towns that sprawl over Israel’s Negev desert, a former teacher (!) who spent four years in prison for his activities on behalf of ISIS, brutally murdered two women and two men because they were Jews living in Eretz Yisrael.

The terrorist, Mohammad Jalab Abu al-Quian, stabbed a woman at a gas station and then drove to a nearby shopping center, running over a bicycle rider on the way. He got out of his car and stabbed three more people before being shot dead by two armed citizens. Four of his victims died, and the fifth was very seriously injured. The nightmare took eight minutes.

Here are the names of those whose lives he took:

1) Laura Yitzchak, 43. Mother of 3 girls. Resident of Be’er Sheva.

2) [Rabbi] Moshe Kravitzky, 50. Father of 4. Managed a Colel Chabad soup kitchen in Be’er Sheva. Chabad Shaliach [he was the bicycle rider].

3) Doris Yahbas, 49. Mother of 3. From Moshav Gilat.

4) Menachem Menuchin Yechezkel, age 67.

As always happens, Gazans distributed sweets in honor of the successful “operation,” like it was a military triumph, instead of a vicious murder spree victimizing the softest of soft targets.

In recent weeks, there have been several attempts to murder police officers and random Jews in Jerusalem. And there are the daily cases of drivers been attacked with large rocks and firebombs.

I have a question for the Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, his cabinet, and indeed every member of the Knesset:

What is your long range plan to deal with Palestinian Arab terrorism, both by Palestinians from the territories and Israeli Arabs?

I am not talking about your plans to increase the police presence over the Pesach and Ramadan holidays. That is the shortest of short-term plans. I am not talking about your plans to improve the economic conditions in Gaza, the PA, and the Negev, a slightly longer-term plan which will probably lead to more, not less, terrorism.

I want to know if you have any idea of what to do about the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, who have been so radicalized by Hamas and the PLO that teenagers are capable of murdering Jewish babies? And I want to know if you understand the dangers of the continuing Islamization and Palestinization of the Arab citizens of Israel, which was demonstrated in May 2021 by the Arab pogroms against the Jewish residents of Lod, Acco, Bat Yam, Haifa, Yafo, and Tiberias?

Lately our leadership has been concerned with the war in Ukraine and a possible influx of refugees from there, Jewish and non-Jewish. It has been concerned with the betrayal of Israel by the Biden Administration, which seems to be prepared to go to almost any length to make a deal with Iran that will provide the evil regime with a Niagara of dollars and a free pass to deploy nuclear weapons. These are not small issues.

But the war between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs has been going on for far longer than the Ukraine war, and started long before the Iranian revolution. Unless there is a massive escalation into what would become WWIII – something that I doubt will happen – the war in Ukraine will be over soon. And either Israel will find a way to deal with Iran in the next year or two, or there won’t be a State of Israel to worry about.

Some will say that more people are killed in road accidents than are victims of terror. Some will say that most Arab citizens of Israel are loyal to the state, that only a minority took part in the 2021 riots, and that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are viewed as corrupt and dictatorial by the residents of the territories. These things are all true. But it is also true that virtually all the Arabs living in Israel and the territories share the view that the Jewish presence between the river and the sea is illegitimate and temporary. And I think that in a situation in which they see the possibility of success in ending the Jewish occupation of the land – all of it – virtually all of them would support the effort to do so.

Today there is no such possibility on the immediate horizon. But in the context of a major war with Iran and her proxies, a war that will treat our home front very harshly – and a war that I believe to be inevitable – the glimmer of possible victory might appear visible to them on the horizon. If that happens it will make the Second Intifada and the May 2021 riots look small, as the “pragmatic” Arabs, including the doctors and professors that we are so proud of as examples of successful coexistence come together in support of the Palestinian national objective: the reversal of the Nakba and the “redemption of all of Palestine.”

The problem of Palestinian Arab terrorism will not go away by itself. The incitement that feeds it, coming from the PLO, Hamas, ISIS, and Iran, is greater today than it ever was. And today it feeds itself, too, via social media.

In 1993, Israel’s leadership, under pressure from outsiders who understood the situation even less well than they did, tried to solve the problem by an attempt at reconciliation and compromise. But they were fooled. They entirely misread the Palestinians, who have never lost sight of their national goals, which definitely do not include living at peace along with a Jewish state. The consequences of that mistake have compounded themselves over the years, and today the threat is greater than ever.

Our 1993 leaders had a plan, and it failed. Very few Israelis still think that a solution can be found via reconciliation and compromise. The rational thing to do in response to failure is to develop a different plan that takes into account the lessons learned. Such a plan would have to recognize the Palestinian narrative and objective that drives terrorism. It would have to comprehend that you can’t reconcile with those who hold onto an overwhelming sense of grievance. It would have to replace the idea of compromise with one of victory.

But today’s leaders have no plan at all.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Terrorism | 3 Comments

The Ambassador from Obamastan

It was profoundly depressing to listen to the new American ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, speak on a webinar produced by Americans for Peace Now. Both the tone and the substance of his remarks were discouraging.

The tone expressed the arrogance that we learned to expect from Obama Administration officials, of which Nides was one. Jonathan Tobin said that American ambassadors to Israel often act more like “imperial proconsuls,” sent to give orders to the colonials, and that fits Nides. Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria “infuriate” him. Infuriate! The Palestinians, on the other hand, are merely less than perfect:

The Palestinians aren’t perfect either … these martyr payments [sic!] … have caused an enormous amount of problems … I’m working with minister Gantz and with the Prime Minister and the Palestinians to figure out how to stop it because it gives the haters – and there are haters – an excuse “well, we can’t do THIS, because they’re paying for people who kill Jews.”

So, wait. The trouble with the Palestinian Authority paying terrorists to murder Jews is that someone might cite this as a reason to withhold concessions to the Palestinians? That’s actually the problem, not the fact that they are murdering Jews? And anyone who thinks this way is a hater? I had to listen to this several times to believe that he actually said it. I was hamum, as they say in Hebrew, thunderstruck.

Nides doesn’t seem to realize how patronizing he sounds. In regard to Ukraine, he said “[Bennett and Lapid] have done everything we asked them to. They haven’t made a move without being in contact with us.” That makes me feel so … sovereign.

That’s the tone. But the substance is actually more pernicious, if possible.

Unsurprisingly, Nides wants a “two-state solution,” since that is the policy of his administration. He sees his job as removing the obstacles to achieving it, which he seems to think are primarily on the Israeli side. He is incredibly naïve about the attitude of the Palestinians, which he describes as though all they want is a little America in the “West Bank,” with 4G (or 5G!) cellular service available to everyone, with Google and Amazon opening facilities in their country, and of course “freedom” and “dignity.”

Somehow he has failed to notice that these admittedly imperfect Palestinians overwhelmingly – both the leadership and the street – reject the existence of any Jewish state between the river and the sea, and consider a two-state arrangement as only a temporary expedient on the way to “redeeming all of Palestine.” And somehow, the folks at Peace Now didn’t bring this up. They also failed to mention that a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is, by simple geography, a deadly threat to the survival of Israel.

Nides is one of those who speak in clauses, sometimes changing track in the middle of a sentence, so it can be hard to get a coherent quote out of it. But listen to what he said about Jerusalem:

He [Biden] is fully and completely supportive of a two state solution with a divided … you know, how that’s divided, the capital, and all the conversations around, you know, what the territories look like… my job is to knock down things that make that possibility impossible … if they lose hope …

A divided what? As if we don’t know! And I like the addition of “if they lose hope,” a nod to the view that Palestinian terrorism is a result of despair, when in fact it is encouraged when they think they are winning.

I say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that is true, however I also say that the final status of Jerusalem will have to be decided by the parties. The reason that we [prior to Trump] never moved the embassy was to leave that open as a final status issue to be decided by the parties …

It’s clear that we are back in Obamastan now, where the aspirations of the Palestinians have equal or greater weight than the security of the Jewish state; and where Israel must pay the price for the failures of the Arab leadership. I expect to see renewed pressure to freeze construction of any kind in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, and possibly a return to “peace processing,” whose goal is to create a sovereign Palestinian state with its capital in a divided Jerusalem.

I know I must sound like an endless loop, but we got ourselves into this situation when we allowed our country to become a satellite of the US. Jonathan Tobin suggests that the Foreign Ministry should call Nides into its office and give him a dressing down, explaining that he is not an “imperial proconsul” and that Israel is a sovereign state. But who’s kidding whom – that is very unlikely, because we are a satellite. Thanks to our over-reliance on American military aid, we are vulnerable to sudden cut-offs of critical items, as when Obama stopped supplying US-made Hellfire missiles during one of our periodic wars with Hamas in Gaza, because he thought – after hearing casualty figures provided by Hamas! – that Israel was killing too many people in Gaza. And the recent hold-up in the allocation of funds for the Tamir interceptors used by the Iron Dome system should make us think.

There is no quick solution. We can’t cut off our “golden handcuffs” all at once. It will be a long process of developing home-grown sources for military hardware and other strategic goods (food can’t be ignored, either. I was shocked to notice how much of the stuff in my local supermarket was imported from Europe). We have now been blessed with a large supply of natural gas, which is an extremely important piece of the self-sufficiency puzzle.

But we won’t arrive at our destination if we don’t start our journey, and so far, I see no movement.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, US-Israel Relations | 4 Comments