The World is Rosy, Label Your Objectors ‘Right Wing Extremists’

Middle East Mirage

The overall picture is frightening:

Iran activates a nuclear reactor with Russia’s help. The USA is engaging in a new silent diplomacy to appease those who are worried: “We still have another year.”

Ignoring the real threat to the entire free world, the USA is busy elsewhere. On the American President’s agenda is his vision for Peace in the Middle East. He, the Nobel Laureate, has achieved such greatness in such short time that brining peace to an area that does not want it should not be a challenge.

Why engage in the impossible that demands true character, leadership qualities and courage when it is possible to so easily push Israel to the corner, attempting to direct it like a puppet?

The USA has invited the Palestinians for “direct talks” with Israel, intending to shove down Israel’s throat a peace agreement that only the Israelis want; the Palestinians want nothing less than the elimination of the Jewish State.

Israelis, so accustomed to America’s support, have been brutally attacked during President Obama’s first year in Office. The half a year before the mid-term elections in the USA is a short period of regrouping, since the Jewish Vote in the USA is crucial in maintaining the Democratic Party’s control of Congress. It is time of so-called “reconciliation” and reverting to pre-Obama support of Israel. A Middle Eastern mirage of another kind.

Once the fate of the election is known, the President will attack Israel with vengeance that no one will be able to abate. The President is determined to bring peace to the Middle East, even if the patient dies during the operation. For those who are skeptical, turn to the transparent and worthwhile nature of the bringing about a healthcare reform, just pray you do not need to see a doctor anytime soon.

Israel indeed is aware of what is to follow in a short few months. While seemingly engaging in the song-and-dance routine, is she secretly preparing to the looming threats and the changing theater?

Allow me to describe what one sees in Israel in late summer 2010. This is my Israel:

As the work of the Turkey Commission examining the Maritime Incident of May 31st, 2010, continues, Israel has learned that soldiers (not those from the elite commando unit who boarded the Mavi Marmara and were almost lynched to death) and civilians allegedly swindled items from the ship.

A few days ago, a female reserve soldier posted pictures of her with handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners on Facebook. She expressed surprise at all the international attention created by these photos.

The IDF Spokesperson published its utter disbelief and disgust at the pictures and advertised the IDF Spirit, a document each soldier carries with one’s identifying documents.

Is one to surmise that the above behavior is singular and based on individuals who do not represent a more prevailing condition? Or is there something deeper, more disturbing, in the current culture of behavior?

Exactly two weeks ago, a document was leaked to the news media about possible tactics to get a desired general appointed as the new Chief of General Staff of the IDF. For two weeks, the country was embroiled in a police investigation, generals called to give testimony, and non-stop speculations by various reporters and media or image consultants.

All dirty laundry (including spotlessly clean uniforms) was washed in public, based on innuendo and speculation. There was little substance, so mountains were created by non-stop talk.

Among those interviewed less than a handful stood solidly by the current Chief of Staff. How easy to tarnish the reputation of a person who gave more than three decades to his country. Despite an official determination that neither he nor his boss, the Minister of Defense, is involved and that other generals were not part of this fiasco, they are now all tainted.

What I did not like in particular was that no one stood and spoke on behalf of the Chief of Staff, as if everyone expected something to happen. Then they could say, “We told you so,” or jump on the other side and say, “How could this happen under his watch?” In my mind, they chose the easy way out in taking a “wait and see” approach, not obligating or exposing their own potential involvement.

While the above are all related to the conduct of the IDF and its personnel, other equally alarming things are happening in Israel. This morning, after weeks of speculations, the police arrested a Rabbi, a major religious figure, for writing in a book various interpretations of when it might be permissible to kill.

“Thou Shall Not Kill” is one of the Ten Commandments. However, there are instances in the Torah when killing is permitted. Most would say, “That was then, but we live in the 21st Century.” Is a discussion in a religious book about religious interpretations a call to kill?

Since anything to do with religion and love of country in Israel today is by default classified as “extreme right,” the book was immediately characterized as a call to action or INCITEMENT. Rabbis through the religious spectrum convened yesterday in Jerusalem to express support in the ability of Rabbis to render religious judgment and opinions. It was clarified, though, that the overall support of freedom of religious expression does not automatically extend to the validity of the conclusions presented in the book. They are subject to future discourse.

It has become very easy to classify issues with which one disagrees as “right wing” and thus equate it with “wrong,” “bad,” “prohibited” and “deserving of punishment.”

This is Israel from within. Yet, those of us soldiers on Israel’s Public Diplomacy Front recognize immediately these labels as a mean utilized to DELEGITIMIZE THE JEWISH STATE. Jews are using the very same tactics against a portion of the Jewish people in Israel. Who will then save Israel from herself?

Incitement is only religious pronunciation as it relates to the “right wing” or “religious right” in Israel. A call by a major author to a minority to repeatedly break the law is viewed as “humane” and necessary. An explicit call to BOYCOTT, DIVEST FROM AND SANCTION Israel are apparently appropriate, when done by a member of the Israeli Academia.

Thus, when the head of the Political Science Department at Ben Gurion University in the Negev determines that Israel is an Apartheid State, he does so out of concern for his two teenage boys.

Since politics is his area of expertise, his pronunciation that ISRAEL IS APARTHEID gains greater weight than when former President Carter made similar allegations. Add to it a call in the OpEd pages of the LA Times to BOYCOTT ISRAEL, and one must wonder if this is not a call to action against the very essence of the Jewish State and her institutions.

To those of us on the front lines, there is no greater incitement than Prof. Neve Gordon’s accusations. The President of his university, Prof. Rivka Carmi, spoke against such a boycott.

A year has passed, and Prof. Gordon was since promoted. The Department he heads has displayed a clear anti-Israel bias, extreme-left faculty, teaching, training and brainwashing of their students, equipping them with tools to fight Israel from within.

A non-political student group “Im Tirzu” (If You Will) sent a letter to the President of the University, presenting these facts and statistics, and called for change. They will also present these same facts to the University’s major donors.

Under the guise of “Academic Freedom” everything is permitted, as long as “everything” encompasses any and all things harmful to Israel.

Although hundreds of thousands of Israelis are overseas for vacation, is there anyone aware a war is raging over Israel’s very existence in the world? Is anyone concerned Israel is being delegitimized to the point where anything bad is permitted to happen to Jews, Israelis and Israel? Are Israelis and Israel willing to pay the price for inaction? Alternatively, are they willing to pay the political and often personal price for doing the right thing?

Israel, it seems, is following in the footsteps of the United States where no one is responsible for anything. No one is held accountable for future harmful actions. But most worrisome, no one is willing to take the necessary, painful steps.

We have reached an abyss, and we are about to drown. Is this acute enough for anyone to change his or her behavior or expectations? No need to worry, just label me a “right wing extremist” or better yet, “a settler,” and the world will become rosy once more.

There are bigger issues that pose an immediate and very serious threat to Israel. These may include, but are not limited to, he-who-brands-himself the Missing Imam, the new nuclear reactor becoming fully operational in Iran, the radical shift in Turkey, until recently a friend and partner of Israel, to very real changes that may take place in Egypt, Syria or Lebanon.

In face of these tsunamis threatening to wash the shores of Israel like the Great Flood, Israel has focused her attention on a once informant of its General Security Services, a religious person whose interrogation has become the topic of discussion during the past few weeks.

Focusing on those to whom the media and others affix the label “right wing extremist” will not make the real threats to Israel’s existence disappear or evendiminish. Instead, it will divert Israel’s attention from the real work that needs to be done in favor of what may otherwise be classified – for lack of a better word – as “mirages in the Middle East.”

Who will save Israel from herself?

The IDF Spirit

The Israel Defense Forces are the state of Israel’s military force. The IDF is subordinate to the directions of the democratic civilian authorities and the laws of the state. The goal of the IDF is to protect the existence of the State of Israel and her independence, and to thwart all enemy efforts to disrupt the normal way of life in Israel. IDF soldiers are obligated to fight, to dedicate all their strength and even sacrifice their lives in order to protect the State of Israel, her citizens and residents. IDF soldiers will operate according to the IDF values and orders, while adhering to the laws of the state and norms of human dignity, and honoring the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Spirit of the IDF-Definition and Origins

The Spirit of the IDF is the identity card of the IDF values, which should stand as the foundation of all of the activities of every IDF soldier, on regular or reserve duty. The Spirit of the IDF and the guidelines of operation resulting from it are the ethical code of the IDF. The Spirit of the IDF will be applied by the IDF, its soldiers, its officers, its units and corps to shape their mode of action. They will behave, educate and evaluate themselves and others according to the Spirit of the IDF.

The Spirit of the IDF draws on four sources:

▪ The tradition of the IDF and its military heritage as the Israel Defense Forces.

▪ The tradition of the State of Israel, its democratic principles, laws and institutions.

▪ The tradition of the Jewish People throughout their history.

▪ Universal moral values based on the value and dignity of human life.

Basic Values:

Defense of the State, its Citizens and its Residents – The IDF’s goal is to defend the existence of the State of Israel, its independence and the security of the citizens and residents of the state.

Love of the Homeland and Loyalty to the Country – At the core of service in the IDF stand the love of the homeland and the commitment and devotion to the State of Israel-a democratic state that serves as a national home for the Jewish People-its citizens and residents.

Human Dignity – The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.

The Values:

Tenacity of Purpose in Performing Missions and Drive to Victory – The IDF servicemen and women will fight and conduct themselves with courage in the face of all dangers and obstacles; They will persevere in their missions resolutely and thoughtfully even to the point of endangering their lives.

Responsibility – The IDF serviceman or woman will see themselves as active participants in the defense of the state, its citizens and residents. They will carry out their duties at all times with initiative, involvement and diligence with common sense and within the framework of their authority, while prepared to bear responsibility for their conduct.

Credibility – The IDF servicemen and women shall present things objectively, completely and precisely, in planning, performing and reporting. They will act in such a manner that their peers and commanders can rely upon them in performing their tasks.

Personal Example – The IDF servicemen and women will comport themselves as required of them, and will demand of themselves as they demand of others, out of recognition of their ability and responsibility within the military and without to serve as a deserving role model.

Human Life – The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life. During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the extent required to carry out their mission.

Purity of Arms – The IDF servicemen and women will use their weapons and force only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.

Professionalism – The IDF servicemen and women will acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks, and will implement them while striving continuously to perfect their personal and collective achievements.

Discipline – The IDF servicemen and women will strive to the best of their ability to fully and successfully complete all that is required of them according to orders and their spirit. IDF soldiers will be meticulous in giving only lawful orders, and shall refrain from obeying blatantly illegal orders.

Comradeship – The IDF servicemen and women will act out of fraternity and devotion to their comrades, and will always go to their assistance when they need their help or depend on them, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking their lives.

Sense of Mission – The IDF soldiers view their service in the IDF as a mission; They will be ready to give their all in order to defend the state, its citizens and residents. This is due to the fact that they are representatives of the IDF who act on the basis and in the framework of the authority given to them in accordance with IDF orders.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.