-1- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

34th Year of Publication

   APRIL 2004 -  Issue #166    


A Nation Without Leaders

Herbert Zweibon

Sometimes it amazes me how Israel, a country filled with so much talent, creativity, and energy, is consistently saddled with leaders so bereft of courage, imagination, and principles.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other country. The cell phone was developed by Motorola in Israel, and the Pentium chip technology was designed in Israel. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world, and is second in the world for venture capital funds. It is at the cutting edge of modern technology.

Yet here is the paradox: an extraordinary nation with ordinary leaders--and often far worse than ordinary. An article by Col. Yehuda Wegman in this issue describes the totally false premise on which the Israeli government operates: namely that Israel is engaged in a low intensity, limited conflict calling for a political solution rather than in a war for survival requiring decisive military action to achieve victory.

This explains the self-defeating pattern of behavior to which we have become accustomed. What we have is a game of military ping-pong (occasional strikes against individual terrorists, incursions into refugee camps followed by swift exits, temporary bans on Palestinian Arabs entering Israel). The chief effect is to undermine Israeli morale (because this ping-pong does nothing to prevent further terror attacks) while doing nothing for Israel's "image" abroad -- on the contrary, the weak-kneed response to terror simply encourages the baying of the furious anti-Semitic pack. During a recent visit to Gaza, AFSI member Bill Mehlman spoke with a top Israeli army officer about the problem of terror. The officer said the army had the capability to eliminate the terrorists in Gaza "in less than a week." What is lacking is leadership.

Sharon is the latest in an ever-lengthening line of prime ministers who have failed Israel. On the left, Yitzhak Rabin committed the crime of signing the Oslo accords, forfeiting rights to Israel's homeland in the squalid hope that the PLO would do the dirty work of crushing terror on Israel's behalf. He was followed by Shimon Peres, the Mad Hatter of Israeli politics and the man who was primarily responsible for Oslo. Ehud Barak would have taken Israel back to the ceasefire lines of 1949 if Arafat had not refused the offer. Under his watch Israel retreated unilaterally from southern Lebanon, turning it over to Hezbollah, whose 12,000 missiles now hold northern Israel hostage.

On the right, Menachem Begin gave up the Sinai for an empty treaty with Egypt and recognized a "Palestinian right to self-determination." Yitzhak Shamir initiated the lop-sided prisoner exchanges that have become a government hallmark, releasing (in exchange for three Israelis) 1,150 terrorists, who then launched the first intifada. Shamir also went to Madrid, beginning the cycle of negotiations with terrorists (the PLO was the power behind the scene). Benjamin Netanyahu surrendered Hebron and signed the disastrous Wye accord.

Now Sharon has gone further than his predecessors, proposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the destruction of Israeli communities -- for no discernible purpose at all. Even more bizarre, he has sent Shimon Peres to see if he can "persuade" Egypt to take over Gaza. As David Hornik points out in it's like sending the village lunatic to propose to the fox that he guard the henhouse.

Whether Sharon's erratic and senseless behavior is motivated by his legal problems or international pressure does not matter. What matters is that he has become a danger to the country he leads. Writing in the Jerusalem Post in early 1995 Sharon, then an opposition Knesset member, decried Israel's concessions to Arab terror. "Israel, with all the power and justice on its side, looks like an emasculated giant," he wrote. Today Sharon has made of Israel an emasculated giant.  

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


The Trap of a "Limited Conflict"   by Yehuda Wegman ..3

The Agenda of Islam: A War Between Civilizations   by Moshe Sharon ...8

April 2004               - 1 -               Outpost


-1- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12