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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.