Photo Credit: IDF soldiers in Gaza
Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip holding up a national flag emblazoned with the slogan ‘Returning Home’ over an orange stripe, the color of the resistance to the Gush Katif expulsion, November 13, 2023.

Today is Yom Haatzmaut. – a day of celebration, pride, promise and hope in Israel. It is also a day of  reflection and sadness due to the current matzav in Israel.

As we reflect on this day, we regretfully accept the harsh reality that we as a Jewish nation and as a Jewish people are once again alone in the world, fighting evil enemies committed to our complete annihilation. Whether it be the war in Gaza and northern Israel or global antisemitism, we have been in search for honest and supportive  leadership  which we thought was present, but unfortunately is no longer reliable or dependable.

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Friends, nobody has our back. And for those that did, it appears that is was temporary like passing ships in the night.

As we know, the lack of consistency, honesty, loyalty and truthfulness eventually results in the unfortunate downfall of many a leader. These characteristics are further exacerbated when the leader lacks vision, transparent policies and moral clarity.

Throughout history, we clearly saw how leaders – whether they be elected governmental officials or private business CEO’s, default and fail in their leadership roles and positions due to political pressure and political expediency.  This is especially true when leaders commit significant mistakes and blunders which impact the stability, safety and welfare of others. due to political pressure as well as misguided and misinformed counsel and advice.

As a  democratic country in social turmoil and in political transition, Americans are now becoming all too familiar with many of our elected officials and leaders who will do anything and compromise any principle in order to be elected or reelected to public office. It has now become the expected norm. To be sure, although there may be some, fewer and fewer leaders posses integrity or exemplify all of the characteristics of reliable honest leaders.

Unfortunately, the current Administration in Washington is a monumental  disappointment as a result of its poor performance on the global stage and its failed leadership. To be sure, over the past two weeks, Washington has back-peddled on a variety of very important statements and critical public positions –  most of which  relate to the Administration’s support (or lack thereof) for Israel. To be sure, they talk a good game, but do not deliver, unless it is in their best interest. Any arms support or aid Israel receives from the United States takes place in spite of their leadership….not the result!

True and honest leaders with integrity, a moral compass and clarity of purpose, do not tell the world  that support for Israel is iron clad, then, turn around and stab that very country in the back; or suggest that Hamas is an international terrorist organization and then does not immediately condemn its horrendously vile actions in the strongest possible terms.

This sad reality also holds true when the Administration waited a long and tortuous several weeks before issuing any sincere official statement condemning the violent acts of anti-Israel and antisemitic attacks on Jewish students on American  university and college campuses. Why did it take so long? Who is advising our leaders? To whom are they pandering? Your guess is probably more accurate than mine.

Our Administration also failed big time when it supported Israel’s right to defend itself, then turned around and put the brakes on Israel’s military advancement into Rafah in order to eradicate Hamas and end the war.

Parenthetically, it is now becoming widely known that the IDF’s brilliant strategy to reduce civilian casualties and deaths in Gaza (since the start of the war) was grossly and summarily dismissed. It will nevertheless be reviewed and studied carefully by many military strategists and US military academies for generations to come. This is even more evident when we now hear reports that the number of civilian deaths in Gaza, since the start of the war, were incorrect and grossly exaggerated. But does the IDF or Israel get any credit for this remarkable finding? Absolutely not.

Finally, it is inconceivable and incomprehensible that the US Administration would even suggest that they posses high level confidential intelligence regarding terrorist locations and underground tunnel configurations in Gaza, but is withholding that vital existential information from Israel in order to leverage demands that Israel not enter Rafah. Is it not truly remarkable to witness the extent to which our weak political leaders will selfishly advance (at any cost), their political agendas?.

These outrageous and foolish actions are the antithesis of true leadership and further demonstrate the deep feeling and perception that the safety and welfare of our Jewish people are truly secondary.

In reality, it is immaterial if our Government’s failed leadership is the result of ill advised experts occupying offices of power in the White House or  whether it is the result of gross neglect, miscalculations or leadership mediocrity. The bottom line is that leadership inconsistency, and an inability to lead our country  in an honest fashion has put all of us in tremendous peril and jeopardy.

For the current Administration, its all about the votes and how to pander to specific voter turn-out, special interest groups  as well as to the extreme left in order to achieve  political goals and future ambitions. And again, as we know well, Jewish blood is cheap….both on the battlefield and in the hallowed halls of government in Washington.

Can you imagine….if after many months of war planning and fallen US soldiers, when the United States and Great Britain were ready to bomb Dresden, Saxony (Germany) the President  of the United States and the  Prime Minister of  Great Britain would demand that we and our allies STOP the war? and dare to not permit the bomb our enemies or go any further into Europe. Or, when our US troops were invading the beaches of  Normandy, being told to STOP advancing, exercise vigilance and patience then return home?

I can’t for the life of me fathom  or accept how our preeminent leaders of the free world have failed us, Israel and all of democracy. Truth be told, the United States has become the laughing stock on the world stage due in large measure to our country’s lack of leadership. It has also unfortunately created a false sense of confidence and support among  our enemies that no matter what….when the chips are down, the United States can  and will be relied upon to blunder and to once again make the wrong strategic decisions or tactical mistakes.

I will not opine in this blog as to who one should vote for in the upcoming Presidential elections. It is not my place or role.

But if you have any doubt whatsoever regarding my personal opinion or preference, please read this blog again carefully.

In the final analysis, I wish select leaders in Washington the wisdom to make wise decisions, good health; and a successful overdue journey into retirement.

May HaShem watch over Kol Achainu Bais Yisrael, bring home the hostages, console the bereaved and clear the path for a speedy and complete end to the war.

Am Yisrael Chai

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Dr. Chaim Botwinick is Executive Director of the Sha’arie Bina Academy for Girls, Hollywood FL., executive coach and consultant. He served as president and CEO of the central agency for Jewish education in Baltimore and in Miami. He has published and lectured extensively on topics relating to education, strategic planing and leadership development. Dr. Botwinick is Author of “Think Excellence: Harnessing Your Power to Succeed Beyond Greatness”, Brown Books, 2011