The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/less-secretive-than-the-jets/2006/08/16/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: