by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator - June 6, 2001
Most Israelis once had heart but a parade of Prime Ministers taught the people there was no reason to have heart. Some followed their lead but others did not. These Prime Ministers were good politicians and manipulators of the people but, they didn’t believe that Israel had a manifest destiny as a Jewish State. The people once believed in themselves and the country but, their leaders had no heart and they were the role models of doubt.
So, the dream began to dissolve like a desert mirage. Israel’s leaders first taught the people to doubt themselves and they ended up doubting the reason for being a nation.
I recall President Jack Kennedy telling the American people: "It’s not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country." He appealed to the pride of the American nation and they rose to the challenge.
But, Israel’s politicians became role models for selfishness. They wanted Volvos, better pay, longer vacations than anyone in the land. They strutted around and expected people to take their opinions seriously - even when they knew absolutely nothing about the portfolio handed to them as their prize. These were the role models for the Israeli people.
Those who ran for Prime Minister were even worse. They made shameful promises of what they would do for the people, for the nation when they became King. How they lied and the people saw the lie and their spirits fell. They didn’t ask the people: "What can you do for your country?" They only asked to be kept in office and have their salaries paid.
Everyone expected General Yitzhak Rabin to keep his promises to protect the nation but, instead, he allowed Oslo. Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin may have led him on but, he allowed Oslo. Then came the amateur dreamer Barak whose visions of infallibility almost brought the nation to her knees but he did dissolve the myth of Arafat as a great peace partner when he didn't accept Barak's almost complete capitulaltion.
Now we have Ariel Sharon, whose actions as a genuine hero cannot ever be denied. But, when he became a politician alias statesman, suddenly, the hero of the battlefields seemed to be someone else. The expectations of the people were that Sharon would defy Arafat and the nations who supported Yassir’s irresolute mission of terror. The people were ready to unite behind Sharon. Their pride in themselves and their nation was waiting to blossom once more. But, so far, Arik has not called upon the nation.
Like his predecessor, Barak, he has gathered a few around him whom he trusts.
Like Barak, he doesn’t seem to trust the people or even the Knesset.
Now, he tests the political winds and the judgement of American politicians to make his decisions. He listens to the Europeans but he seems to have a deaf ear for the Israeli people. How could the people possibly know what is best for them? So, once again, the spirit of the people is suppressed and wasted. Instead of pulling the people together against a vicious enemy, Arik listened to the amateur advisors he had gathered around him. Rabin said: "Let the complainers spin like propellers". Rabin, Barak, and now Sharon, always acted like only they knew best.
The Warrior now courts the politicians of America and Europe. He, like Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu and Barak pursues a mirage of peace, dangled before them like a just out-of-reach dream. Perhaps it was correct to pursue the first promise of peace. G-d knows, we all want it.
But, once the promise turned into a bloody illusion as agreement after agreement was broken with malicious intention, then Israel’s leaders should have stood fast. But, they did not. And our casualties mounted, our people are brutally murdered and maimed - sadly - with more to come.
There is still time to appeal to the patriotic noble instincts of the Jewish people and their leaders. It’s not over and the instincts of Arik Sharon may yet awaken.
We are all ready and waiting.