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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’s security’

What Seven Years Have Wrought

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Seven years ago, on September 12, 2005, the government of Israel withdrew its defense forces from each of the 23 hitherto-vibrant Israeli communities in the cluster known as Gush Katif. All public buildings including schools, libraries, community centres, office buildings, industrial buildings, factories and greenhouses which could not be taken apart were left intact [source].

The hyper-productive Israeli agricultural and horticultural greenhouses that had generated sales, profits and jobs are gone – promptly destroyed by the new masters of Gush Katif and of Gaza. Terrorist training facilities have sprouted on the ruins of the abandoned Israeli towns. The vision of a self-sustaining, forward-looking, peace-seeking Gaza has vanished. Some ten thousand Israelis left Gush Katif to make their homes elsewhere.

During these past seven years, we have been witness to the conversion of Gush Katif into an armed camp, an arsenal from which some 9,400 rockets and missiles [source] have been fired at the Israeli civilians and communities on the other side of the fence.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Facebook page today says: “Seven years ago today we disengaged from the Gaza Strip”. A photo of two Gaza terrorists preparing a missile to fire at Israel’s appears below it [see at right], along with a message suggesting the photo be shared in order to “show the world Israel’s true neighbors. Share this, because mainstream media won’t.”

The mainstream media generally avoid showing scenes like those below, as well. They are September 2012 images from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas overlords use Soviet-style wall posters to hammer home the message that the men firing the rockets and carrying the sub-machine guns are the people’s heroes.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Sinai Becoming Terror Stronghold

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Rocket attacks continue to plague the south of Israel, the last one occurring a few days ago.

Only a few weeks ago the IDF deployed an Iron Dome rocket defense battery near Eilat to deal with the incoming rockets.

These latest strikes follow the massive attack which took place on August 5th, which claimed the lives of sixteen Egyptian soldiers and which was finally blocked by the IDF on Israel’s southern border.

These events are not recent developments. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former president, was ousted from his position in disgrace in February of 2011. Since that time, the balance of power in the Sinai Peninsula has changed dramatically, and it seems that the change is to the detriment of all parties in the region, excluding the terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and other minor organizations.

Since the deposing of Mubarak, terror organizations originating in the Gaza Strip have taken control of the Sinai Peninsula, along with other terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which develop their infrastructure of terror everywhere they can, and especially in areas that suffer from lack of government and neglect, such as the Sinai region.

In recent months, they have operated an industry of terrorism at an unprecedented magnitude, including weapons experiments, weapons smuggling, and terrorist attacks.

Since February 2011, the IDF has received several reports on events of weapons experiments in open areas throughout the Sinai. Palestinians terrorists from the Gaza Strip are taking advantage of the lawlessness in the Sinai in order to perform experimentations with weapons of varying grades by firing to areas in Sinai, and receiving way points of the strikes from local collaborators. Through these experiments, the terrorist organizations can improve the weapons’ shooting angles, amount of explosives and projectiles, depending on where the rockets fall.

In addition, the tunnel routes between Gaza and Sinai have developed immensely since the fall of Mubarak’s regime. The tunnel owners have known difficult periods when concentrated joint efforts were made by Israel and the Mubarak regime to create obstacles for these tunnels. They are currently experiencing a profitable period as both their civilian businesses and their collaboration with the terrorist’s industry in Gaza do not encounter any difficulties on the Egyptians part. Some of tunnels are big enough that entire vehicles can be transported through them.

This reality has severely hampered the security on Israel’s southern border. Sinai of the post-Mubarak era has become a focal point for active and brutal terrorism, due to the vacuum created in the region, as the Egyptians do not take responsibility for their sovereign territory and the waste lands are utilized by the terrorist organizations to the outmost.

Member of Knesset Benyamin Ben-Eliezer, an expert on the Egyptian scene stated after the attack: “I hear president Morsi’s statements and I understand he has come to a conclusion that if he does not gain control of the Sinai soon, he will be sitting on a nuclear bomb. Sinai, with all its components – including the Global Jihad, Al – Qaida and other terrorist organizations – is going to become a place that could shake the entire of Egypt.”

The End of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation?

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

“I don’t want to be complicit if they (Israelis) choose to do it (attack Iran’s nuclear program),” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.

News flash, General Dempsey: You are complicit in the way that counts; you are trapped: the Iranian leadership does not care what we say — or what we do — about our military relations with Israel. The Iranian leadership needs the U.S. as its adversary and will not allow you deniability. If there is a strike on Iran, they will need for it to have been the U.S. – will need, General Dempsey, for it to have been you.

It is unlikely, General, that you spoke on your own hook as you are still wearing your stars. The last General who spoke to journalists out of turn and out of the country was Stanley McChrystal – and he lasted only as long as it took to arrive in the Oval Office. Your Commander in Chief appears to have used you to hammer another nail in the coffin of a relationship that had, until he got here, been remarkably productive for more than 30 years.

Since the Reagan administration, U.S.-Israel military relations have generally been buffered from US-Israel political relations. They were not always smooth, but the military establishments were largely left to determine their interests together and separately. The late Caspar Weinberger was not enamored of Israel (certainly he was not enamored of the late Prime Minister Begin nor of the 1982 war in Lebanon), but the designation and early growth of “U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation,” and the designation of Israel for Major Non-NATO Ally status came in those years.[1] The Sixth Fleet came to Israel and the Haifa USO was built then to handle the enthusiastic crowds of American sailors and Marines.

Israel had the first wartime operational drones in 1982. The war that Weinberger opposed was a catalyst for U.S. thinking about remotely piloted vehicles. I took a small group of retired American military officers (including the former head of DIA, the former commander of US Air Forces Europe and the former commander of NATO’s Southern Command) to Israel in September 1982 so they could put their hands on the drones that emerged from an Israeli model-airplane-flying club. The officers compared it to the US Army’s then-unsuccessful drone program and the rest is history. U.S. conceived and built drones carry the weight of the Afghan war, but they also carry the history of 1982.

The First Gulf War complicated the relationship when President Bush (41) built a broad Arab coalition to rescue Kuwait. Israel withstood Saddam’s rocket barrage without retaliation because that was what the U.S. wanted, setting into motion deterrence difficulties for Israel that played out later as its closer neighbors acquired and used rockets and missiles. But it also set in motion Israel’s rapid quest for missile defense capabilities, which became an area of close U.S.-Israel cooperation.

After 9-11, Americans instinctively understood that we had been hammered by something with which the Israelis were familiar. “We Are All Israelis Now” was the headline in a major American paper. The Israelis “opened their closets” to help the U.S. deal with Islamic terrorism, urban warfare and counter-terror operations. Israel taught members of the U.S. Army to train bomb-sniffing dogs. While the work was going on, Israel loaned I.D.F. dogs to the Americans – Hebrew-commanded dogs were in Baghdad.

As the U.S. has become more adept in the ways of Middle East ground warfare, it is the Americans who have technology, tips and training to share with Israel.

“Complicity” is the wrong word for a relationship between countries that was grounded in the most fundamental agreement on democratic governance, civil liberties, minority rights, rule of law, and what constituted the enemy – at least until now.

General Dempsey meant Iran, but there is more than a divergence on Iran going on here. There has been a determined shift of emphasis in the current administration. President Obama has elected to focus on how and where the U.S. might find partners in the Arab/Muslim world – not itself a bad thing, but dangerous if it means a) eroding the definition of an ally to mean anyone with any set of political/religious/strategic beliefs that does not involve killing Americans outright; and b) throwing the Jews down the well (to channel Borat).

Defending Fences: Israel’s Security Barrier Saves Lives

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

From time immemorial, security fences have been built around the world often in disputed territories to disrupt terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants from entering. No doubt, these fences often cause difficulties for native populations in the vicinities they are built. To name just a few:

India/Pakistan - India is constructing a fence along the majority of its 1,800 mile border with Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir. The fence is designed to keep terrorists from crossing the border from Pakistan to launch attacks in India. Made up of barbed wire, concertina wire, and giant 25-foot-tall floodlights, it’s a formidable barrier and accomplishing the task it was created to do.

Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan - A land dispute led to the unilateral construction of a barbed wire fence by Uzbekistan to secure their border with Kyrgyzstan in the fall of 1999. The fence was constructed after Islamic terrorists from Kyrgyzstan were blamed for bomb attacks in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The construction of the fence has caused economic hardships in the poor agricultural areas of the Ferghana Valley and has separated many families in this traditionally integrated border region.

Even more interesting is the security fence being constructed by the Saudis between them and Yemen. Despite incessant criticism of Israel the Saudis have none-the-less constructed a physical barrier of sandbags and pipelines, re-enforced with concrete. It stands 10ft. high and spans the entire 1800 kilometer border shared with Yemen. Ostensibly created to prevent the violence in Yemen from spilling over into the Kingdom, it nonetheless has created hardships for people living in both countries along their common border.

But Saudi Arabia was not done yet. In 2006, at a cost of $590 million and to further insulate themselves, the ever-paranoid, oil-soaked Saudis began constructing a 559 mile concertina wire fence, 23 feet high along it’s border with Iraq to prevent refugees from entering their territory.

Baghdad/Iraq – Attempting to end sectarian violence in that war-torn capital, a movable 7.1 ton, concrete, sectional, 12 foot high fence was created in 2007. Many Iraqi’s not involved in the decision to do so are still up in arms over its construction. The Sunnis have claimed the fence was a deliberate act on the part of the Americans to isolate them. A claim no doubt with a great deal of merit.

Afghanistan-Pakistan – Created by Pakistan in September 2005 to stem the flow of Taliban and al-Qaeda into their country. The fence whose purpose has proven unsuccessful, none-the-less was slated to span their mutual 1500 mile border. President Hamid Kazai of Afghanistan strongly objected to its construction claiming it would, “enslave the Afghans,” yet its construction continued.

A barrier of some sort also exists between Iran/Pakistan, Spain/Morocco, and even within Italy, where a steel 10-foot wall known as the “Anelli Wall” was constructed to quell gang violence, drug dealing, and prostitution just outside the city of Padua.

What do all these walls, embankments, and security fences have in common? To the outside world, few if any people – including myself – have much knowledge of these or any of the hundreds others built by countries around the globe for purposes of separating groups of people nationally or internationally for one reason or another. Has the worldwide media made much of a squawk? If they had, a news geek like myself would have heard about it. Alas, I haven’t. However, Israel, oh that Israel, when it comes to her, she’s an entirely different story.

The truth about Israel’s security barrier

On June 1, 2001 a Palestinian named Saeed Hotari was standing in line outside a Tel Aviv discotheque called the Dolphinarium. Along with several hundred, mainly new immigrant youths from Russia, he seemed like just another kid waiting to have a good time on a Friday night. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. According to survivors of the horrific blast that killed 21 and injured 132 people, Hotari was seen banging on a drum loaded with explosives and ball bearings just prior to detonation.

As a result of this and other incessant terrorist bombings against Israeli civilians, a grassroots organization called “Fence for Life” began petitioning the Israeli government to create a continuous fence between Palestinian population centers and the Jewish population.

The idea of a physical fence separating Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations wasn’t new – it was first broached by the darling of the left, former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. Following a particularly brutal homicide attack in Tel Aviv, Rabin stated, “We have to decide on separation as a philosophy.” Keep in mind this prophetic statement was made 6 years prior to the second “intifada.”

Plans for the fence were put on hold in the first few years after Rabin’s assassination, but were revisited and put into action by the Sharon government in June 2002, as the body count of innocent Israeli’s began to mount from an increasing number of homicide bombings.

Opposing Olmert On Golan Surrender: Civil Disobedience As A Legal Imperative (Second of Two Parts)

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Can the Olmert government protect Israel’s citizens? After last summer’s Lebanon war, this is hardly a serious question. Further, following Iran’s continuing defiance of the international community in its illegal nuclearization, a defiance carried out with literal impunity, the consequences of Israel’s national impotence could soon be genuinely existential. Let us be candid. This is the case even before Mr. Olmert proceeds with his plan to give up the Golan.

Credo quia absurdum. Prime Minister Olmert now further endangers Israel’s survival by his openly planned acquiescence to Syrian deceptions on the Golan Heights. Not only a 1967 report by the American Joint Chiefs, but also the authoritative words of four distinguished Israeli (res.) generals, challenge the Prime Minister’s mistaken judgment: “Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights constitutes the optimal strategic balance with Syria and insurance against a massive Syrian attack,” said these Israeli strategists in 1995. “The IDF’s proximity to Damascus is also a guarantee against a Syrian missile launch into Israel’s rear. Any change in this balance would lessen Israel’s deterrent against potential Syrian aggression and jeopardize the quiet and stability that have characterized the Golan since 1974.”1

It is with precisely these grave dangers in mind that Israeli opponents of Olmert’s intended Golan surrenders will soon engage in purposeful civil disobedience. Recognizing that victimization by words2 can set the stage for subsequent victimization by force, they shall seek, perhaps desperately, to “stop the machine.” From the standpoints of both law and national survival, they will certainly be acting correctly.

To “stop the machine” is a metaphoric phrase taken directly from Henry David Thoreau’s classical explorations of civil disobedience. In his oft-quoted essay on the subject, the American transcendentalist spoke persuasively of essential opposition as an act of “counter friction.” Confronted with dreadful harms of the sort suffered and anticipated by so many Israelis, harms generated by years of now-President Peres’ “Peace Process,” and soon-to-be magnified by Prime Minister Olmert’s additional surrenders, he would urge, as he once did about policy deformations in this country: “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

This is what Israel’s citizen protestors must now seek, not to lend themselves any longer to the unforgivable wrongs of the Rabin/Peres/Netanyahu/Barak/Sharon/Olmert agreements with the PLO/PA, or to any future Golan surrender to Syria. Among these many wrongs are assorted Israeli government legitimizations of Arab terrorism, and also corollary Israeli government refusals to punish egregious terrorist crimes. Israel and the fractionated Palestinian authority have not only effectively abandoned all pertinent jurisprudential obligations to seek out and prosecute Arab terrorists, they still cooperate in releasing killers of Israeli citizens from Israeli and Arab jails. Certainly Prime Minister Olmert and President Peres will not be willing to put an end to such incontestable violations of both Jewish Law and international law. Why should they? Crouched comfortably in the bruising darkness, their truth is the delusion of Plato’s cave. They see not what is happening right before their eyes, but only the shadows of what is real.

Let us return to germane matters of law. Israel’s agreements with the PLO contravene the binding obligation to punish acts that are crimes under international law. Known formally as Nullum crimen sine poena, “No crime without a punishment,” this requirement points unambiguously to the multiple acts of killing and torture ordered directly by “elected” Palestinian authorities over many years. To not only ignore this peremptory requirement, but also to further legitimize the wrongs by making these criminals a “partner for peace” has been a clear violation of Principle I of the binding Nuremberg Principles.3

Israel’s citizens, who now support and sustain the discredited Oslo/Road Map agreements, and/or Prime Minister Olmert’s intended Golan surrenders, are acting (whether expressly or tacitly) in stark violation of fundamental international law. They are also acting, of course, in violation of Israel’s national law and longstanding Jewish Law. At the same time, all those who would disobey both these suicidal agreements with terrorist gangs, and the still-intended Golan surrenders would be acting in full support of all three interrelated forms of law.

My readers in The Jewish Press will understand that these informed views of law and civil disobedience in Israel deserve a wide hearing. Now embarked upon surrender policies that threaten Israel’s very existence while they simultaneously undermine authoritative expectations of justice, the Olmert government should reasonably expect to be confronted with mounting protests. Were it not so confronted, citizens of Israel would have already consented to their own national dismemberment. International law, which is based upon a variety of higher law foundations, including Jewish Law, forms part of the law of all nations. This is the case whether or not the incorporation of international law into national law is codified, explicitly, as it is in the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the United States Constitution. The government of Israel is bound by settled norms of international law concerning punishment of terrorist crimes and physical survival of the state. Where this government would fail to abide by these rules, as is very much the case today, civil disobedience is not only permissible – it is required.

Jewish Law rests always upon two fundamental principles: the overriding sovereignty of G-d and the derivative sacredness of the individual person. Both principles, intertwined and interdependent, underlie the reasoned argument for civil disobedience in Israel.4 From the sacredness of the person, which stems from each individual’s resemblance to divinity, flows the freedom to choose. The failure to exercise this freedom, which is evident whenever a response to political authority is merely automatic, represents a betrayal of individual legal responsibility.5

We Jews must be reminded that Jewish law is democratic in the sense that it belongs to all of the people. This is a principle expressed in the Talmudic position that each individual can approach G-d in prayer without priestly intercessions. Hence, a primary goal of law must always be to encourage initiative, to act purposefully on behalf of improving both state and society. When this criterion is applied to impending instances of civil disobedience in Israel, it should be apparent that the protesting opponents of Olmert’s intended Golan surrender, more than any other citizens of Israel, will be acting according to the true interests of law, justice and peace. Let them now stand strong against an Israeli public authority that indefatigably patronizes itself.

Copyright ©, the Jewish Press, October 12, 2007. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with Israel’s security and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

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1. Statement (1995) prepared by Major General (res.) Yehoshua Sagui; Admiral (res.) Micha Ram; Brigadier General (res.) David Hagoel; and Brigadier General (res.) Aharon Levran.

2. The Talmud instructs that victimizing people with words is a serious transgression (Talmud, Tractate Bava Metzia 58b).

3. According to Principle I: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and is liable to punishment.”

4. On the importance of the dignity of the person to the Talmudic conception of law, see: S. Belkin, In His Image: The Jewish Philosophy Of Man As Expressed In Rabbinic Tradition (New York: 1960).

5. On the human freedom to choose good over evil, see: J.B. Soloveitchik, Thoughts And Visions: The Man Of Law (Hebrew: New York: 1944 – 45), p. 725.

Opposing Olmert On Golan Surrender: Civil Disobedience As A Legal Imperative (First of Two Parts)

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Amid the growing chaos of internal Palestinian violence, the manifest error of every Middle East Peace Process should be altogether obvious. Quite predictably, Fatah and Hamas now validate years of informed Jewish opposition to both the original Oslo Agreements and to the equally twisted cartography of a so-called “Road Map.” Nonetheless, in Jerusalem, and even in Washington, the Prime Minister speaks smugly of further territorial surrender, this time of an equally misconceived forfeiture of the Golan Heights to Syria.

Of course, with Shimon Peres as the country’s president, absolutely anything is possible. Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.”

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Once again, citizens of Israel who still have hold on their senses will have no choice but to engage in civil disobedience. This law-enforcing tactic failed to stop former Prime Minister Sharon from forcing Jews to leave Gaza, a grotesque “disengagement” that transformed an energetic area of Israeli greenery, domesticity and promise into a primal battleground of sustained Arab horror. The Sharon-engineered calamity has already lost many Israeli lives to Palestinian terror, and could – in the future – also be a factor in exposing American cities to a “dirty bomb” attack, or even to certain other more lethal forms of nuclear terror. This is the case because since Sharon’s abandonment of the strategic Gaza area – an abandonment that defiled the most rudimentary expectations of Torah and Talmud – Hamas has entered into systematic and durable collaborations with al-Qaeda.

Although current Prime Minister Olmert can be expected to denounce all forms of Jewish civil disobedience, and to be supported in such self-righteous denunciation by a shameless Israeli President who remains unapologetic about Oslo and oblivious to Jewish auto-destruction, civil disobedience does have a long and venerable tradition. Significantly, the roots of this vital tradition in law and philosophy lie plainly in Jewish Law. Before Israel’s public authorities and the Israeli Left (“intellectuals”) combine to condemn Jewish civil disobedience on the Golan as “lawless,” therefore, some informed legal and philosophical background warrants mention.

Israel is unquestionably the Jewish State, one linked irrevocably to basic and immutable tenets of Jewish Law. From its very beginnings, wherever Jews have lived and died on this planet, Jewish law has been viewed authoritatively as a manifest expression of G-d’s will. Biblically, the law is referred to and understood as the “word of G-d.” The G-d of Israel is the sole authentic legislator, and righteousness lies plainly and unassailably in the observance of His law. As for the absence of civilized righteousness, this always places, at recognizable risk, the lives and well being of the individual and the community.

For ancient Israel, law was the revealed will of G-d. All transgressions of this law were consequently offenses against Israel’s G-d. The idea that human legislators might make law independently of G-d’s will, would simply have been incomprehensible. Indeed, as G-d was the only legislator, the sole legislative function of human authorities was to discover the true law, and to ensure its proper application. According to Talmud: “Whatever a competent scholar will yet derive from the Law, that was already given to Moses on Mount Sinai.”[i]

In established Jewish tradition, the principle of a Higher Law is not only well-founded; it has also become the very foundation of our international legal order, and of the legal foundation of the United States of America. Where any “law” of the Jewish State would stand in evident contrast to this principle, it is automatically null and void. In certain circumstances, such contrast mandates opposition to the particular edicts of government. In these circumstances, what is generally known as “civil disobedience” becomes not only lawful, but genuinely law-enforcing.

Moreover, since the writings of Cicero in the first century BCE – and certainly since the seventeenth century scholarship of Hugo Grotius (The Law of War and Peace, 1625) – the ancient Jewish idea of a Higher Law has been binding upon all human individuals and states irrespective of underlying religious principles. Now fully secularized, this idea rests upon the understanding that all human beings have a capacity to reason, and from this generalized and divinely granted capacity derives an obligation to certain timeless, unchanging and universal norms of conduct.

What sorts of civil disobedience circumstances are we describing with reference to present-day Israel? Above all, they are situations that place at existential risk the survival of the Jewish State. In such circumstances, which several years ago were already identified in an Halachic Opinion issued by Prominent Rabbis in Eretz Yisroel Concerning Territorial Compromise,[ii]the matter is one of Pikuach Nefesh. Israel cannot endure strategically without the heartlands of Judea and Samaria, or – as was recognized by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in a widely cited 1967 report – without the Golan. It follows that as the Torah is indisputably a “Toras Chaim,” a Torah of life, Jewish authorities in the State of Israel are “forbidden, under any circumstance,” to transfer Jewish land to sworn enemy Arab authorities.

The writer Hillel Halkin, fearing that the state of the Jews might one day be ruled by “Hebrew-speaking Gentiles” (a fear already widespread among American Zionist thinkers like Maurice Samuel and Ludwig Lewisohn) once wrote: “I do not believe that a polity of Israelis who are not culturally Jews, whose roots in this land go no deeper than thirty years and no wider than the boundaries of an arid nation-state, has a future in the Middle East for very long. In one way or another…it will be blown away like chaff as though it never were, leaving neither Jews nor Israelis behind it.”[iii] In a more recent essay, the same writer observed that the actual hatred for Judaism of a readily identifiable portion of Israeli “intellectuals” (including, by extrapolation, those who now still seek a theoretical legitimacy for Olmert government surrender policies), has become a palpable hatred of Zionism.[iv]

Credo quia absurdum. Halkin’s fears were well founded. Under the Rabin and Peres governments (and, I suppose, even under Ben-Gurion at the beginning), Israel first undertook its visible transformation into a polity that was increasingly detached from cultural Judaism, and that also deeply undermined both Judaism and Zionism. With the subsequent elections of Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon, this transformation was carried even further along. Incomprehensibly, former Prime Ministers Barak and Netanyahu still lack the dignity to disappear quietly from Israeli politics. And with the selection of Shimon Peres as the new President, thousands of “post-Zionist” Israelis are now openly delighted that Israel could continue to be complicit in its own Jewish annihilation. For the most part, university professors, once the primary source of serious thought and meaningful scholarship, are now often at the outer margins of authentic understanding. This is the case not only in Israel, but also across Europe and the United States. The problem of academic “thoughtlessness” (I think, here, of prophetic warnings by both Hannah Arendt and Jose Ortega y’Gasset) is likely more evident in the humanities and the social sciences than in the more technical and scientific fields, and is largely attributable to the transformation of post-graduate education into an essentially vocational enterprise. In the universities, we basically no longer educate thinkers; we “train professionals.”

But let us return directly to Israel and its international relations. In all states, sovereignty rests securely upon the government’s viable assurance of protection. Where a state can no longer offer such assurance, however – indeed, where it deliberatelysurrenders such assurance – the critical basis of citizen obligation is removed. “The obligation of subjects to the sovereign,” said the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century, “is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth by which he is able to protect them.”

(To be continued)

Copyright ©, The Jewish Press, September14, 2007. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with Israel’s security and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

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[i]See Jerusalem Megillah IV, 74d.

[ii]The full text of this Opinion, Daas Torah, was published in the July 20 1995 edition of THE JERUSALEM POST, p. 3.

[iii]See LETTERS TO AN AMERICAN JEWISH FRIEND: A ZIONIST’S POLEMIC (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1977), 199-200. For this and the following reference to Halkin I am indebted to Edward Alexander, “Irving Howe and Secular Jewishness: An Elegy”, The Eighteenth Annual Rabbi Louis Feinberg Memorial Lecture in Judaic Studies, Univ. of Cincinnati, April 6, 1995.

[iv]See Halkin’s “Israel Against Itself”, COMMENTARY 98 (November 1994).

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