web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Political Expediency…or Adjusting to Reality?

Do Israelis believe it’s OK for political aspirants to say whatever they feel is necessary to gain power?
Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin

As Israelis settle in under a new government led once again by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they might do well to ask themselves this question: Other than having served as Israeli prime ministers after beginning their political careers as mainstays of the political right, what do Menachem Begin, Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have in common?

It is safe to say that none of them, before attaining power, would have supported the policies each pursued while in office. Before their premierships all four held clearly hawkish diplomatic, national security and territorial views; once elected, however, their tilt to the center and even to the center-left on these same issues was just as clear.

Labor prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak often matched their pre-prime ministerial rhetoric with their performances in office. The “principled” hawks were expected to do likewise – namely to practice what they had preached.

But did they?

Let’s examine some of their words before assuming office and their actions after they attained it.

Begin’s words: “The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized…. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever” (November 30, 1947, the day after the UN vote for the partition of Palestine.)

Begin’s actions: Responding to Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter’s insistence that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict include a Palestinian right to self-governance, Begin agreed to Palestinian “self-rule” or “autonomy” in Judea and Samaria. This arguably meant that Begin compromised on his view that “Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

Netanyahu’s words: “This [the 2008 Israel-Hamas cease-fire] is not a relaxation, it’s an Israeli agreement to the rearming of Hamas. What are we getting for this?” (Netanyahu at the time was opposition leader.)

Netanyahu’s actions: If history is any guide, Netanyahu must surely know that the aftermath of the recent cessation of fighting between Hamas and Israel – a halt that he, as prime minister, approved – will likely resemble the 2008 truce he opposed: a lull until the next round of fighting initiated by a rearmed Hamas.

By acting so inconsistently on the same terrorist threat just four years apart, Netanyahu, it appears, put personal political needs ahead of the national interest in 2008 and again now – both, ironically, just prior to Knesset elections. In 2008 it behooved him to sound hawkish; in 2012 it suited him to be more flexible.

Shouldn’t a noted terrorism expert know better?

Sharon’s words: “Everybody has to…grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours” (Sharon, foreign minister at the time, was addressing a meeting of the Tzomet Party on November 15, 1998).

Sharon’s actions: Sharon went from being one of Israel’s most vocal advocates of expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and a champion of its presence in Gaza during prior ministerial positions to, as prime minister, unilaterally withdrawing fully from Gaza and from four settlements in the northern West Bank (without the benefit of any peace overtures from the Palestinians).

His clear about-face gave the Palestinians the chance to elect Hamas – sworn to Israel’s destruction – to power in Gaza, enabling it to regularly batter southern Israel with deadly rockets. Sharon’s prowess on the battlefield is, to many, overshadowed by what is perhaps the most blatant political, military and security flip-flop in Israel’s history.

Olmert’s words: “The formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: to maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border; and not to divide Jerusalem” (Olmert was serving double duty as minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and minister of Communications when he spoke to David Landau of Haaretz on November 13, 2003).

Olmert’s actions: Only four years after expressing those decidedly hard-line sentiments, Prime Minister Olmert made this generous offer to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.S.-hosted Annapolis Conference in Maryland: Israeli relinquishment of parts of East Jerusalem, with Jerusalem’s Old City – and its religious sites – administered by an international group.

So much for Olmert’s 2003 pledge – before he became Israel’s prime minister – to “not…withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.”

* * *

Should Israelis understand and accept the political reality that politicians often must retreat from pronouncements made during their days in the loyal opposition in order to govern responsibly once they’ve attained power? Or should those politicians be called out for their patronizing pre-power rhetoric?

Do Israelis believe it’s OK for political aspirants to say whatever they feel is necessary to gain power? Or should practicing what one preaches always be the political rule?

About the Author: Eli Chomsky is a copy editor and staff writer for The Jewish Press. He can be reached at eliris18@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Political Expediency…or Adjusting to Reality?”

  1. ARIK IS THE KING OF ISRAEL WILL BE
    FOREVER. WHEN HE WAS IN POWER OUR HOMELAND
    WAS SAFE.IF HE WAS THERE TODAY THINGS WOULD B OK.
    BR SO DIFFRENT. REMEMBER HE STOOD HIS GROUND
    WHEN THE USA TOLD HIM TO DO IY HE SAID NO!!!!!!!!
    IRAN WOULD NOT BE SO COCKY AS YHE MUSLIM/ARSB WORLD WERE AFRAID OF HIM ANDWAS RESPECTED
    AROUND THE GLOBE. I LOVE ARIK AND WISH HIM ALL THE BEST IN HIS STRUGGLE. THIS SHOWES HIS GREAT
    STRENGTH AND LOVE FOR ISRAEL AND ITS PEOPLE
    PEOPLE. NO ONE IS PERFECT EXCEPT THE LORD OF ABRAHAM ISAAC JACOB lionel hirsch nova scotia canada

  2. Subject: Fwd: WATCH – HOLOCAUST SPEECH – RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft in flight.
Senate Approves ‘ISIS Bill’ – US Military Hopes for More
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Eli Chomsky
Menachem Begin

Do Israelis believe it’s OK for political aspirants to say whatever they feel is necessary to gain power?

Front-Page-101912

Despite public surveys that show the general public largely opposed to negative campaigning, the overwhelming majority of candidates in contested races have refined this strategy almost to an art form.

Yeshiva University men’s basketball coach Jonathan Halpert now has his signature on the school’s men’s basketball court. The Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund, an endowment to be awarded annually to children of YU alumni living in Israel wishing to study at the university, now bears his name. Later this year Halpert, who earned his high […]

Regarding the positive Torah commandment to pray, Rambam writes, “This commandment obligates each person to offer supplication and prayer every day and utter praises of the Holy One, blessed be He; then petition for all his needs with requests and supplications; and finally, give praise and thanks to God for the goodness that He has bestowed upon him – each one according to his own ability” (Mishneh Torah 1:2).

President Obama would have better reflected American values in Cairo recently had he spoken with blunt honesty regarding recent Middle East history. Here’s the speech he might have delivered:

Remembering Rebbetzin Lillian Chomsky On Her First Yahrzeit

“People need money in their pockets to spend. That’ll get our economy going again.” — David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama
Drastic situations require drastic measures. Thus, to reach Axelrod’s necessary goal, we need to end Social Security as we know it.

Here is the campaign speech I wish John McCain or Barack Obama would deliver:
If I were a typical, hardworking wage earner uninvolved in the full-time practice of government and

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/political-expediencyor-adjusting-to-reality/2013/04/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: