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This column is being submitted on Monday morning, as Israel’s cease-fire with Hizbullah takes effect, and is based upon events up to that time.
During a recent trip to Israel, I couldn’t help but notice the dearth of fellow visitors and think of the many religiously observant American Jews who stridently demand that Israel never cede any land.
A few days ago in a Manhattan restaurant, two men at the next table were strongly criticizing Israel’s failure to send thousands of reservists deep into Lebanon.
I opposed last year’s Gaza withdrawal, and have serious concerns about the Olmert government’s performance during Israel’s war against Hizbullah. Yet it’s hard to avoid the sense that many politically right-wing American Jews want IDF soldiers to risk and sacrifice their lives while they themselves avoid taking even minimal risks for Israel.
* * *
Around ten days into the war, while I was in Israel, a friend of mine told me his boss had been called into reservist combat duty on almost no notice. According to my friend, his boss is around 40 years old, somewhat out of shape, and had not been in combat in years.
Perhaps this is a mere anecdote involving one IDF soldier, but it might also suggest troubling military complacency. Why weren’t reservists who were, in the event of war, to fight in Lebanon, given more military training so that they would be adequately prepared for battle against Hizbullah?
Further, the only previous on-the-ground fighting experience of Israel’s regular combat units (i.e., the 18-21 year olds serving their three years of army service) came against Palestinian terrorists in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
It is understandable that in recent years combat units have primarily been trained to fight Palestinian terror. At the same time, it is legitimate to ask whether Israel was too hasty in going into a war its ground forces were not fully prepared to fight, and whether it was necessary to commence the war within hours after Hizbullah’s July 12 attack.
* * *
It is difficult to understand the lack of confidentiality with which Israel conducted the war. Anyone could turn on FOX or CNN and immediately find out exactly where soldiers were deployed and where Hizbullah’s latest barrage of rockets fell. Worse, also in real time, Israel announced what it would be doing and when.
While Israel seeks to provide free access to the media, it must never compromise the element of surprise, risk the effectiveness of military operations, or unnecessarily put soldiers in any additional jeopardy.
On the diplomatic front, the leaks emanating out of Israel were no less lamentable. Throughout last week there were constant leaks indicating that Israel was ready to accept a cease-fire, with anonymous sources “close to the Israeli government” routinely being quoted. Needless to say, that did not improve Israel’s leverage in the sensitive negotiations of ceasefire terms.
On the political front, newspaper reports included particular details of debates between various cabinet ministers, with a scorecard of who voted for what and who said what during security cabinet meetings.
As a longtime fan of the New York Jets football team, I find it disturbing – for Israel, of course – that the Jets are operated with considerably greater secrecy than is Israel at war.
* * *
Whether it’s political spin or wishful thinking, some Israelis are exaggerating the value of UN assurances to Israel.
For example, in a Wall Street Journal column last week, Michael Oren, whose military and political analysis is usually right on target, argued that even if Israel did not win a decisive military victory over Hizbullah, it could achieve “a breakthrough for Israeli diplomacy.”
In the past, Oren wrote, Israel had won its wars but lost “the subsequent diplomatic contests.” Referring to Israel’s War of Independence, Oren argued that “Israel defeated six Arab armies and yet at the end of the fighting merely achieved armistice agreements.”
Yet those armistice agreements allowed Israel to permanently retain all of the territory captured in the War of Independence, significantly more than what Israel was to receive under the 1947 UN partition plan. That was a diplomatic victory.
Next, Oren submitted that even Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War failed to achieve diplomatic gains. In fact, UN Resolution 242 did not require an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights. In addition, Israel’s right to exist in “secure borders” was recognized by the UN. That too was a diplomatic victory.
About the Author: Joseph Schick is producer of “Jerusalem ’67” (www.jerusalem67.com), a narrative feature film currently in development. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.
His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.
(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]
Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”
Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.
In other words, how by any rational playbook can one even begin to explain anti-Semitism?
Entire movements within “orthodoxy” propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and Jewish mysticism
It’s election season, so Republicans can’t be blamed for expressing outrage when the political platform at last week’s Democratic National Convention removed support for Jerusalem being the capital of Israel.
President Obama’s nastiness toward Prime Minister Netanyahu would be alarming even it were merely a matter of style to impress the Muslim world. But Obama’s motivation is much more substantive. He seeks to impose a solution – whether it leads to peace or it doesn’t – that will return Israel essentially to the 1949-1967 armistice lines, including a loss of Jewish sovereignty in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It’s not easy to counter images of Arab families purportedly being evicted from their homes – such as the pictures of residents of the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah that were published last week in The New York Times and elsewhere. But Israel must at least try.
In January 2001, as President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak begged Yasir Arafat to take a break from killing Jews to accept the Old City of Jerusalem, hundreds of thousands of Israelis rallied in Jerusalem to oppose the city’s division. Simultaneously, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun hosted an event in solidarity.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, longtime spiritual leader of Chicago’s Modern Orthodox Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, comments about his famous congregant, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel; Jewish rights to settle in Israel; plans to build in the Negev; Orthodoxy and pluralism; and political talk from the pulpit.
On Sunday night, many observant Jews will be among the hundreds of millions of people watching the Jets fan’s nightmare as the Giants play the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
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