Soleimani assassination: Right, but wise?

A wise teacher once said, “Everything depends on where you start your history.”
So here’s my take on the Suleimani assassination, followed by a series of tweets from the rightfully respected former ambassador to israel, Dan Shapiro.
Certainly he deserved to die. But there is a saying on Hebrew: “Better wise than right.”
Read his whole series of tweets, and then ask if the policy of confronting Iran militarily, instead of implementing the nuclear accord and attempting to bring Iran back into the family of nations with economic incentives, is really such an enlightened concept. https://brokens
Here’s Shapiro’s view:
“Qassim Soleimani had the blood of many thousands on his hands: Americans, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Israelis & many, many others. Truly one of the most evil men on the planet. Seeing his smiling mug in selfies with terrorists across the region was hard to take. Good riddance.
“That he deserved this fate, a fate he authored for so many others, is not in question. The ability to carry it out is also impressive, as an intelligence and operational achievement.
“To take a decision like this has major strategic consequences. Iran has capabilities far
beyond al-Qaeda or ISIS when their leaders were eliminated. And they will have many opportunities to respond. The question is, will the US and our allies be ready?
“To state the obvious, careful, strategic, fact-based planning is not a hallmark of our current President. So there is plenty of risk in this moment.
“Immediate challenges will include keeping our embassies, troops, and personnel safe in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf. Dealing with political blowback in Iraq, possibly to include demands that US forces leave, will be a major challenge.
“Allies will want to know if the US will stand with them against blowback that may land on them. Previous decisions after attacks in the Gulf and on pulling troops out of Syria have raised many questions in their minds. They will be looking for reassurance now.
“It’s a major decision. Soleimani richly deserved his fate. The strategic consequences can last months, or years. Time to breathe deeply, prepare seriously, and give our personnel and allies all the support they need.
“But one can’t help but be concerned about the current administration’s ability to think strategically several steps ahead. We are going to find out.”
Yes, we will find out. It won’t be pretty. And the tragedy is–we didn’t have to go this way at all, but we never gave the other way a chance.

How to prevent a massacre

Here’s news of a Texas church under attack, and the hero who stopped it before more people were killed.

At a time when attacks against religious institutions, especially Jewish ones, are becoming a near-daily occurrence, we need to think seriously about how to react. Then we need to think about how to stop it. The first is an immediate necessity. The second, while potentially more important, is a long-term goal.

This isn’t an endorsement of random worshippers packing heat and opening fire inside a crowded church or synagogue. Just the opposite. This person is the “deacon of security” at his church, highly trained, and doing his job. THAT’S what we need to emulate. Unfortunately, that’s 21st century reality, and it doesn’t matter who’s to “blame.”

מכתב משי פירון

 שי פירון כהן כשר החינוך לתקופה קצרה מדי. הוא מהווה קול שקול נדיר

  .בקרב מנהיגי הצינות הדתית


1. מר נתניהו,
אפשר לאהוב ולהעריך, להעריץ אותך. אפשר לבוז, לחלוק ולראות בך ראש ממשלה רע. על
כך יחליטו הבוחרים.
אבל אם לא תרד מהבמה בזמן, ישכחו את כל הדברים הטובים שעשית – ועשית. כל משקלך
ההיסטורי יסתכם במשפט, בנאומיך המסוכנים, באמירות חסרות אחריות. יש לך מורשת,
יש לך הישגים. אל תהרוס אותם.
2. שרי הליכוד.
אני מתחיל לחשוב שכפי הנראה כמעט אף אחד מכם לא מתאים להנהגת המדינה. אף אחד
מכם לא אומר מילה, לטוב או לרע; בעד או נגד?! אתם מנהיגים?
3. מוסר.
אין שאלה על העובדות המוסריות. אבל זה הפסיק להטריד אותנו כחברה. וזה כואב.
עזבו. לא מתאים לכתב אישום?! בסדר. אבל מוסרית? ערכית? התנהלותית? זה מה שהיינו
בעיני, מוסרית, תיק 1000 הוא החמור בתיקים מפני שהוא מצביע על התנהלות אישית
מוסרית קלוקלת. ואנחנו – ממשיכים לדון בעוצמה המשפטית של התיק. האמת פחות
מעניין אותי. מטרידה אותי העוצמה המוסרית של התיק.
4. עם ישראל חי.
זה לא יעזור.
לא למר נתניהו ולא לחבורה שמסביבו.
אנחנו חזקים.
לא נתפרק. נמשיך לחלוק, להתווכח. יהיה לנו שמאל וימין, דתיים וחילוניים ויהודים
נתווכח על דמותה של ישראל אבל לא ניתן לאיש, כולל ראש הממשלה, לפרק אותנו. לא
תהיה כאן הפיכה, לא יהיה מרד ברחובות.
זה הרגע שבו כולנו צריכים להוכיח, אחד לשני, שיש משהו שאנו אוהבים יותר מכל –
את מדינת ישראל.
5. ולסיום – אכזבה.
זה לא סוד. אני שייך – במהותי – לציונות הדתית. גדלתי בה ובמוסדותיה. מאמין
העובדה שכל מנהיגיה – כאיש אחד – מגנים על ראש הממשלה בשעה שיש ספק משפטי
ווודאיות מוסרית – היא חרפה דתית. אני משוכנע שהיא מזיקה לתהליך החינוכי ולאמון
קראתי פעם אחר פעם בתנ”ך. אני יודע ש”על כל פשעים תכסה אהבה”.
לא שמעתי ש”על כל פשעים תכסה ימניות”.
שבוע טוב

 IDI-הסקר מ


“Embattled” Bibi’s failed demo

Now the foreign media have begun to call him “embattled.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled out all the stops to drag people to his rally tonight in Tel Aviv: Free bus rides from all over the country, pressure on politicians, pressure on parties, pressure on Cabinet ministers. All he got was loudmouth Miri Regev and, depending on which estimate you see, between 8,000 and 20,000 demonstrators.

Even the highest estimate amounts to a failure. After such efforts, reminiscent of the Likud emptying out settlements with shuttle buses for pro-government rallies in past decades, anything less than 100,000 would have been a failure. Does that mean that Bibi is finished? Not at all. Many have made the mistake of underestimating his political skills. He could still survive this. I don’t see how…but believe me, he does.

First read the US statement. Then we’ll talk.

It’s worthwhile, as always, to read what you’re commenting about before you comment.
Here’s a link to the US statement about Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Please come back after you read it.
So it’s not a green light for unlimited Israeli construction in the West Bank, nor is it a thumb in the eye of those who favor evacuating some or all of the settlements for the sake of peace.
settlements mapIn other words, both the apoplectic left and the ecstatic right have it wrong.
Now that you’ve read it, you see that it is a recognition of the facts on the ground–the settlements exist, and no legal status will change that. The only thing that could change that is a negotiated agreement. (I differ there, because there is no hope for a negotiated agreement, but that’s another issue.)
So if you thought all along that building settlements was a mistake, the US has not totally undermined your position. And if you believed all along that Israel has the divine right to build all over Eretz Yisrael, the US has not endorsed that.
All the US has done is recognize reality as it exists. There are settlements, and they are not going to disappear. Similarly, Israel has held the Golan Heights for five decades, and there is no Syria to “return” it to, even if that were warranted. And Jerusalem is, indeed, the capital of Israel. We decide that, no one else does. The US has recognized those realities,
Does this trend of recognizing reality torpedo the chances of peace? Conversely, does it reinforce peace efforts? No and no.
Recognizing facts is a good basis for progress–but progress on what? Israel has twice offered the Palestinians a state, according to their own demands. but the Palestinians turned down the offers. So measuring every step as if it’s a part of a “peace process” is outdated thinking. One day there will be a regional forum that redraws borders, including finally setting a border between Israel and the Palestinians. When that day comes, the parties will have to deal with the reality on the ground. Like it or not, intentionally or not, the US is, by stages, recognizing that fact.
No less, but also no more.

Let Arab parties into the ruling coalition

As negotiations begin toward setting up a new Israeli government after the election, it’s time to give the representatives of 20 percent of Israel’s citizens an active role.

I know it’s considered heresy bordering on treachery to suggest that the Arab parties, or at least some of them, should be invited into a ruling coalition. That’s because they are pro-Palestinian and non-Zionist.

But consider this—the Palestinian “issue” is completely off the table. The Palestinians have turned down at least two Israeli offers of a state according to their own demands. There won’t be another such offer. Even if (if, not when) the Trump “Deal of the Century” is finally released, it will make no difference, because the Palestinians will reject it. They already have, without even seeing it.

So why do we insist on putting the Palestinian issue at the top of our list of priorities, when it clearly doesn’t belong there?

And why not take advantage of this situation to ignore the views of the representatives of Israel’s Arabs on that issue, and consider the advantages of bringing them onto the government?

Here they are, in short:

  • A positive stake in how the country is run.
  • An opportunity to address the backward conditions of many Israeli Arab communities.
  • Effective silencing or at least toning down of their constant criticism.

For seven decades now, Arab-Israeli political parties have been muktseh, the Jewish term for untouchable. Many Israeli Jews consider Israeli Arabs a traitorous threat to security. Perhaps many were for the first decade or two of Israel’s existence, and no doubt there are some who still are—but there are Jews who worry me more than the Arabs do.

It’s well documented that when it comes to unemployment, Arab towns are at the top of the list, and when it comes to income and education, they’re at the bottom.

What have we done to change that in the last seven decades? Not nearly enough. So how about handing one of the social welfare posts to an Arab Cabinet minister, allocate a suitable budget, and turn them loose, with the usual oversight, to work on the problems faced by their own constituents?

Giving the Arab parties an active role in government would counter their automatic rejection of everything Israel does. Of course there would be those who keep up or even increase their outcry, but so what? Their pathetic performances have not endangered the existence of the State of Israel up to now, and they certainly wouldn’t afterward.

Oh, but what of the outrageous demands that the Arab parties would make as a price for allowing us the privilege of giving them seats at the Cabinet table? They might, heaven forfend, insist on repeal of the Jewish State Law. I’ve already written about why the law was/is unnecessary (here it is if you missed it), and nothing would change if it were repealed. Israel is and will remain a Jewish state with protected minorities that have full rights, and no law or lack of one can change that.

They might demand a commitment to negotiating a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Well, no one actually has a problem with that, and anyway, as I already said, it’s off the table, so no harm, no foul.

And they might—no, they will—demand budgets to improve infrastructure, education, and welfare in Israeli Arab communities. I can’t imagine how or why anyone could object to that.

Now let’s get practical. There was a time when non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jewish political parties were muktseh, untouchable, in Israeli politics—from the points of view of both the government and the parties. Just like today with the Arab parties. We got over it. The result is that mainstream Zionist parties have been forming coalitions with non-Zionist parties for decades, and no one bats an eyelash.

And of course there was the slogan of the first decades of Israeli government-forming: “No Communists and no Herut.” Herut was the forerunner of Likud. How did that turn out?

Perhaps one day we will look back on the old days when Arab parties were automatically excluded from government and wonder why.

The times are changing. These days Arab citizens vote for a wide range of parties. The 13 seats won by the Arab parties represent only about half of the Israeli-Arab voters. There are Arab doctors, nurses, university professors, business executives—not enough, but they’re out there, and no one really notices—nor should they.

That’s how it is in the Ramla shuk, the open-air market in an old, middle-class Jewish-Arab town in central Israel. I’ve been shopping there once a week for two decades. As you can see from the photo above—you can’t tell who’s a Jew and who’s an Arab. Most of the Arabs speak Hebrew, and many of the Jews speak Arabic. Ramla’s Jews are better off, as a rule, than the Arabs—but at the shuk, everybody just gets along.

That’s the natural human condition. We need to make it the natural governing condition, too.