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July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
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No Strategy Without Vision

Without a vision, strategy is impossible. Tactics become farcical.

Netanyahu shaking Arafat's hand upon handing the Palestinians most of Hebron.

Netanyahu shaking Arafat's hand upon handing the Palestinians most of Hebron. Without a vision, strategy is impossible. Tactics become farcical.

Without a clear worldview, it is impossible to coherently deal with the challenge of the strategic changes taking place throughout the world – and particularly in the Middle East. Before our very eyes, a worldwide and local revolution is unfolding; their significance is greater than both World Wars combined.

The entire Middle East is rapidly returning to its natural state: the constellation that prevailed before World War I and the puppet states created by the victors as a substitute for the colonialism that had fallen out of favor. The entire area between the Euphrates and the Nile is now turning into one large Gaza, longing for the new Saladin, who will gather the spoils and institute hegemony over the greater Arab nation. Will it be Iran, backed by its nuclear program and Hizbullah? Or Turkey, backed by its political power and “connections” with the West?

Everyone stirs the pot, everyone is involved, and everyone has vested interests: the Russians, the Europeans, even the Americans. They are all deep inside the conflict. Only the country in the very heart of the chaos has no goal and no strategy. Israel does not care at all who wins in Syria. It is as if we are the United Nations.

The lack of understanding what we are doing here, the “just looking for a place under the sun” strategy leads the experts and strategic decision makers in Israel to contract their thinking into old and irrelevant dogmas, into lack of creativity and absolutely no prescience. It dooms them to an inherently rearguard war, defense instead of attack, and lowering of all flags.

“In Israel,” Henry Kissinger once said, “there is no foreign policy, but only internal policy.” All we are asking is to let us live in peace. But what can we do? Israel is not located on a pastoral island. The Jewish nation has always been and will always be the beating heart of humanity. Sixty-five years of flight from our Jewish destiny and vision have not concealed the strategic intersection at which Israel is situated, physically and metaphysically, geopolitically and spiritually from the eyes of the world.

Without a vision, strategy is impossible. Tactics become farcical. Red lines are drawn time and again, only to be re-drawn. When the rocks began to fly in Judea and Samaria, the red line was the use of firearms. “If they use the weapons that we gave them, we will immediately return and conquer all the territory,” Yitzhak Rabin explained.

When the red line of Katyusha rockets dissipated, Tel Aviv became the new red line. And recently we were told that the S300 Russian missiles are the new red line.

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks in the UN and marks out a red line against Iran’s nuclear threat. But if you don’t have vision and a strategy against the rocks, there cannot be any red lines: not for rifles, mortar shells, rockets, advanced missiles – or even a growing nuclear menace.

At the beginning of his previous term, Netanyahu announced that the top priority for his new government would be the elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat. This is still his top priority.

The vision that brought us to this Godly piece of land, the vision that continues to enliven us in the face of the tremendous challenges at our doorstep is tethered top to bottom to one point that is both physical and metaphysical: The Temple Mount. When we turn our backs on the rock of our existence, everything else becomes secondary, insignificant, directionless and, as a result, indefensible.

At the beginning of April, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement whereby sovereignty on the Temple Mount (and in Jerusalem) is hereby transferred from the Jordanians to the Palestinians. I asked the prime minister: if somebody would sell one of our leaders’ daughters to a third party, would they also be silent?

What has taken place in the almost three months that have passed since that time is even graver than silent agreement. The Muslim wakf has advanced to a new stage in its actualization of Islamic sovereignty over the very heart of Jerusalem. It has empowered itself to decide which representatives of Israeli sovereignty, the Knesset, will or will not visit the Temple Mount. But instead of directing the police to enforce basic Israeli laws, the prime minister has directed them to enforce the demands of the Muslim wakf and to prevent a Knesset member and the Knesset Internal Committee members from visiting the Temple Mount.

“He who rules the Mount rules the land,” wrote the poet of accusation and faith, Uri Zvi Greenberg.

When we surrendered sovereignty in exchange for quiet, we always lost both: we lost sovereignty and we got war. “You were given the choice between war and dishonor,” said Churchill as his countrymen rejoiced over Chamberlain’s Munich Pact. “You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Churchill was referring to dishonor in a conflict zone far from Britain’s borders. What awaits us when we choose the greatest dishonor of all: the surrender of the Temple Mount?

This column was translated from Hebrew and originally appeared in Makor Rishon.

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