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Saber Rattlers


         The scent of approaching Kadima primaries has turned the heads of this party of corruption into saber-rattling hawks. Keen politicians sense the fact that the public has turned sharply right, so now they are trying to prove that they are the biggest bullies in the neighborhood. As we know, Israel’s politicians have few inhibitions and even less national responsibility if their personal careers are in jeopardy. The most preposterous and dangerous of them all is Shaul Mofaz. Within the space of a week, Mofaz has already bombed the Iranian nuclear installations and gone for an all-out war in Gaza. He is preposterous because it is difficult to imagine a feebler politician than Mofaz. He is dangerous because he used to be a military man, and somebody may actually take him seriously.

 

         It was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who brought Mofaz into the Likud as soon as his military career ended. Sharon wanted a political puppet, and he made the perfect choice. Mofaz the military expert became the rubber stamp for all of Sharon’s dangerous misadventures. Never – not even once – did Mofaz compromise his government position by sticking to his security principles. Besides Sharon himself, Shaul Mofaz, the defense minister of the Expulsion, bears the greatest responsibility for the fact that Ashkelon is being hit with Grad missiles. He is the last person who should be pontificating on security issues in general – and on returning to Gaza in particular.

 

         It is hard to forget the good-faith letter that Mofaz sent to Likud members before the primaries two years ago. “I am a Likudnik with every bone in my body,” Mofaz wrote to the members. “I will never leave the party.” The only problem was that in the few days it took for the letters to arrive in the mail, polls showed that I had pulled ahead of Mofaz in the Likud primary race. When the Likudniks opened their letters, Shaul Mofaz was already on his way to Kadima.

 

         The letter would be no more than a pitiful memory if not for the fact that Mofaz is now playing with our lives. He is liable to push the IDF into an unwinnable war in Gaza just so that he could win the primary election in Kadima.

 

         If you have children in the army, you should ask yourselves if you are willing to endanger their lives just to increase Mofaz’s chances of winning the Kadima primary, or Ehud Barak’s chances of winning the Labor primary.

 

Dawn of Reality


 


           In stark contrast to the saber rattling politicians that we heard this week, Effi Eitam was a breath of fresh air. Eitam said that he opposed a military operation in Gaza. He reasoned that a corrupt prime minister does not have the ethical backbone and public support that he needs for such an undertaking. Eitam also explained that it is absurd to risk Israeli soldiers’ lives in Gaza just to hand the area over to Mahmoud Abbas when the fighting subsides.

 

         Eitam’s words are an important sign that the ability to criticize the government and to think independently is beginning to crack the thick orange shell of the religious Zionist establishment. If Eitam is willing to make that type of statement, it is clear that there are a lot of people in the Orange Camp who are at least as ambivalent as he is about the Gaza operation.

 

         It is important, though, to clarify our position. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s corruption is not the reason that he should not lead the IDF into Gaza. The reason that he does not have the public legitimacy to do so is due to his direct involvement in expelling the Jews from Gush Katif. The legitimacy of a decision to go to war is determined first and foremost by its goal. There are goals that are not legitimate, and Eitam mentioned one of them (capturing Gaza in order to give it to Abbas). But additionally, the legitimacy of a decision to go to war is determined by the record of the nation’s leader. A leader who took the IDF out of Gaza – despite all the warnings – does not have the moral standing to send our sons back there.

 

         To learn more about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and their plan for Israel’s future – and to order Feiglin’s newest book, The War of Dreams - visit www.jewishisrael.org.


 

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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