14 жніўня 2006

Lost war: lessons for Israel and the world

When I read the news that Olmert was accepting the ceasefire that had nothing good for Israel, rendering all the war effort with all the dead civilians pretty much useless, I asked myself - what's wrong with the guy? And why do the Israeli people keep putting such politicians in office?

Coincidentally, the same day I started reading the book by Uri Milstein about Itzhak Rabin, in Russian translation, and as I finished it over the weekend, the answers became much more clear, though in a frightening way.

Before reading the book, I didn't know much about the internals of Israeli politics. The Israeli government elite have always seemed at least as corrupt as in the West, and, not unlike in the West, there seemed to be a fondness for socialist values, which undermined Israeli economy and security, just as it does elsewhere.

What I didn't know is where the roots of this leftist tendency were, and the extend to which the Israeli society was crippled by this tendncy - and by the politicians who have been using this ideology to advance their power. The truly tragic result of that is that the IDF and Security Forces in general became inadequate. This is something I would not have believed before the Lebanese campaign, because like many people in the West, I believed that the IDF was the among the best trained, best equipped, best motivated armies in the world. In part this is true - just look at the photographs from the current campaign: these guys and girls know what they're fighting for.

What the Israeli public needs to look at, beyond the persona of Olmert & Co., is the whole mythology of lies that have been central in Israeli politics. Bullshit war heroes, bullshit victories, and bullshit "peace process", that were supposed to serve Israel and its survival, instead served the politicians who were more afraid of their opposition inside Israel, than of the outside threat. The army's purpose, therefore, has become not defending Israel, but keeping politicians in power.

to be cont.d


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