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About Ari Bussel
In the series "Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this "point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.
Past Articles
Israel, December 1, 2009
Blaming America
Exporting Terror
The Report
Repentance
Cry Palestine, Stand Proud Israel
Fighting for Israel, But Why?
Stop Blaming the Messenger
A Changing Reality
Fighting for Our Country, Fighting for our Lives
The Second Disengagement
Social Bookmarking

Ari Bussel
Israel, December 1, 2009
December 2, 2009
 

Israel’s Prime Minister has a viral flu, prompting his doctor to order cessation of activities for a second day in a row. The prevalent attitude is expressed in the following remark: "What type of flu does PM Netanyahu have? The Shalit Flu (about to exchange close to a thousand terrorists to bring a soldier back home to his family and country), the Swine Flu (to which several high-risk patients with other illnesses succumbed in recent days) or the Iranian Flu?”

 

Shalit, Swine Flu, Iran – and Israel’s Prime Minister is busy, so it seems, in a move to freeze all settlement construction for the next ten months. This move, hailed as historic of unlike proportions by both the Foreign Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister (both from the same party, both appointees to their positions as a payment for joining the coalition government).

 

The ten-month "postponement” decision is so important that it was ordered by a small cabinet of ministers rather than being decided in a vote following a discussion by the Government at large. A lawsuit is pending before the Israeli Supreme Court challenging the validity of any subsequent action based on this decree.

 

Immediately following the decision, the Defense Minister ordered the addition of several dozens construction supervisors, essentially tripling their number, and the issuance of decrees to stop construction. I find it most encouraging that every top minister, from the PM to his group of closest ministerial advisors, saw fit to target only one type of construction: Jewish.

 

In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority has embarked on a grand new project – surrounding the existing Jewish habitats in Judea and Samaria with new Arab construction, illegal settlements of their own, to the tune of more than 50,000 "state-sponsored” units.

 

Unless PM Netanyahu’s move is designed to deflect attention from other actions, one must conclude that today’s European Union resolution introduced by Sweden to be considered next week in Brussels to recognize eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state is both warranted and justified. Priorities are set, action is put in motion and consequences are therefore logical.

 

Following the Goldstone Report, there is clearly a need to take corrective action. Since the only party responsible is incapable of doing anything, others take an active role. The EU will pave the way to the establishment of a state for the eternal refugees, currently without leadership, facilitating in its wake the demolition of the Jewish State. Israel has yet to internalize these ever-increasing attacks on her.

 

Israel will have to make tough choices, top officials keep reminding the Israeli citizenry. At least two are the fate of approximately 25,000 Iranian Jews still in Iran and how to fight multiple fronts when priorities must be established. Why talk about a looming war and Armageddon when December 1st is a beautiful, sunny warm day in Israel, and what one hears are the voices of children in kindergartens and schools and witnesses the amazing strength of the Israeli economy?

 

Things are good in Israel, very good indeed. There is a construction boom, with cranes seen atop the urban landscape everywhere. In recent years there have been massive infrastructure construction projects, primarily new and improved roads, overpasses and highways. Since the economic meltdown of a year ago, people moved huge amounts of cash, earning zero interest, parked at financial institutions of murky future, into real estate.

 

Liquidity was turned into tangible assets, all aiming high, into the skies. Massive new buildings, 15, 20 and more stories high, are springing to life everywhere. These will necessitate additional infrastructure to accommodate all the families that are going to move in – from kindergartens to schools, roads leading to and from these new communities to new bus routes, and water and sewage, at time that water is becoming more and more precious.

 

Most noticeable, probably, is that with added height, mass and density, Israel’s cities are becoming more vulnerable. Hamas had a capability display, launching an Iranian medium- to long-range missile into the sea. This arms flexing was immediately followed by a statement – for those who might have intended to ignore the obvious – that Tel Aviv is now in range.

 

Has Israel forgotten what it meant to be in the line of fire of Saddam Hussein’s Skad Missiles in 1991 or Hizbollah’s missiles in 2006 or Hamas rockets in 2009? It is better to bask at the warmth of the sun, at the beginning of December, and look at all that is flourishing here in Israel. The alternative? Get ready. The attacks will undoubtedly begin. The past would seem so distant, the future grim. Practice, train, evaluate and try to improve readiness now. This should be the recipe followed; it is not.

 

The scenario:

 

Hizbollah in the North;

 

Hamas in Gaza with very active offshoots in Judea and Samaria;

 

Syria still with her claim the Golan Heights, annexed by Israel in 1981 are rightfully hers (not to mention parts further in the body of Israel);

 

the Israeli Arabs and their recent "national aspirations” amounting to nothing short than an uprising; and

 

Iran whose president vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

 

The scenario of all the above acting in unison, with some seasoning from Turkey, Russia or others getting involved, is what frightens some in Israel.

 

One interpretation of "touch choices” was to indicate to the populace that Israel may be unable to fight in all fronts simultaneously.

 

I contend that Israel will fight and succeed, once she is dealt such a blow that she returns to her most basic animalistic instinct – the need to survive and prevail. Israel in recent decades has not been fighting to win. She has become entangled too much in wonder and criticism, in thinking about everyone else before her own self-being. She has become so distracted and unfocused that the image of a victor became separate from the grim reality. She has become weak.

 

Once Israel decides she fights to win, tough choices will be made, but win she will. The country will be covered with rockets, the 80,000 now in ready-bunkers in Lebanon with an additional continuous stream of weaponry arriving from Iran via Syria, by air, land and sea, and those that are in Gaza with replenishment via the Sinai Peninsula.

 

Israel may be hit with both chemical and biological agents – Iran has used chemical weapons before and the introduction of biological weapons has been studied and perfected by many. Wave after wave of homicide bombers will be unleashed on Israel, though the consequences to the perpetrators and their cohorts be horrendous. Unlike the years of the bloody Intifada, Israel will not civilly tolerate these barbaric acts any more.

 

Israel may even be subdivided into impassable parts, if an atomic or a dirty bomb is set to go off in the center of Tel Aviv, toppling down the Azrieli Center (Tel Aviv’s "Triplets Towers”) and the adjacent military Headquarters. Israel is a tiny country, but it will find ways to survive and rebuild.

 

The nuclear and other threats are topics of discussion in Israel, although it seems that the discussion does not percolate deep enough for people to change their daily routines, stop the continuous bickering and get ready. At present, no one is willing to make any "tough choices.” The anger is directed internally, toward the new celeb-cause nicknamed the "Settlements.”

 

For the next two weeks, I will be reporting from the ground in Israel, providing observations and impressions, highlights and perspectives of a country in one of the most dangerous turns of its existence. Join me on this tour, as I witness the growth of a country alive and well, as the clouds are gathering with The Storm of the Century.

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