Sunday, August 13, 2006

Report from Israel

Below in the text of an article from Haaretz a newspaper of the Left I believe.

By my lights if may be a little too tough.

I've spent some time in Israel's northern lands. They are incredibly beautiful --- like the Texas Hill Country --- with tiny Arab towns spotted on distant hillsides.

Israel made a great mistake by not inducing more people to live there.

Ben


>..............................................................................>.....................................................................> > Saturday, August 12, 2006 Text: Haaretz's Ari> Shavit's important article > slamming Israel's elites for current situation > A spirit of absolute folly> By Ari Shavit Haaretz 12 August 2006> www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/749564.html >

In the difficult summer of 2006, the State of Israel> is declaring in > astonishment: They surprised us. They surprised us> in a big way. They > surprised us with Katyushas and they surprised us> with the Al-Fajr rockets > and they surprised us with the Zelzal missiles. They> surprised us with > anti-tank missiles. And they surprised us with the> operational skill of the > anti-tank squads. They surprised us with the bunkers> and the camouflage. > They surprised us with the command and monitoring. > They surprised us with > strategy, fighting ability and a fighting spirit.> They surprised us with the > astonishing power that a small death-army with low> technology and high > religious motivation can have. > However, more than they surprised us in Summer 2006> with the strength of > Hezbollah, they surprised us this summer with our> own weakness. They > surprised us with ourselves. They surprised us with> the low level of > national leadership. They surprised us with> scandalous strategic bumbling. > They surprised us with the lack of vision, lack of > creativity and lack of > determination on the part of the senior military> command. They surprised us > with faulty intelligence and a delusionary> logistical network and improper > preparedness for war. They surprised us with the> fact that the Israeli war > machine is not what it once was. While we were> celebrating it became rusty. > Generally it is not right to conduct an in-depth> investigation of a wartime > failure during a war. However, at the end of the> most embarrassing year of > Israeli defense since the establishment of the > State of Israel, the Israeli > government is not drawing conclusions. It is not> reorganizing the system, > there is no evidence of a real learning curve and> it is not radiating a new > ethos. On the contrary: It is adding another layer> of folly onto a previous > one. Its slowness to react is dangerous. Its> caution is a recipe for > disaster. Its attempt to prevent bloodshed is> costing a great deal of > bloodshed. So that now of all times, just when the> forces are moving toward > south Lebanon, there is no escaping the question of> where we went wrong. It > is so that Israel will be able to achieve a> last-minute victory and so that > the troops will be able to achieve their goals and> so the soldiers will be > able to return home safely, that we must ask already> now: What happened to > us? What the hell happened to us? > A simple thing happened: We were drugged by> political correctness. The > political correctness that has come to dominate> Israeli discourse and > Israeli awareness in the past generation was totally> divorced from the > Israeli situation. It did not have the tools to deal> with the reality of an > existential conflict. It did not have the tools to> deal with a reality of an > inter-religious and inter-cultural conflict. That is> why it focused entirely > on the Palestinian issue. It made the baseless > assumption that the > occupation is the source of evil. It assumed that > it is the occupation that > is preventing peace and causing unrest and > perpetuating the instability. > At the same time, political correctness assumed that> Israeli strength is a > given. That Israel is insanely strong. Therefore,> political correctness > disdained any attempt to build and maintain Israeli > strength. The defense > budget was cut, the values of volunteerism were > mocked, the concepts of > heroism and fortitude became despicable. Since the> Israel Defense Forces was > identified as an army of occupation - rather than> as an army defending > feminists and homo-lesbians from the fanaticism of> the Middle East - they > had reservations about it, they shook it off and> became alienated from it. > After all, in the spiritual world of political> correctness, power and army > have become dirty words. > Any national idea was rejected because of the> sanctity of the private > sphere. Every cooperative ethos was dismantled in> favor of the individual. > Power was identified with fascism. Masculinity was > publicly condemned. The > pursuit of absolute justice was mixed with the > pursuit of absolute pleasure > and turned the reigning discourse from a discourse> of commitment and > enlistment to one of protest and pampering. > Another thing happened: We were poisoned with an> illusion of normalcy. The > State of Israel is fundamentally an abnormal state.> Just because it is a > Jewish state in an Arab region, and just because it> is a Western country in > a Muslim region, and just because it is a > democratic state in a region of > fanaticism and despotism, Israel is in constant> tension with its > surroundings. On the one hand, because of the> situation in which it finds > itself, Israel cannot live a life of European> normalcy. On the other hand, > because of its values and its structure in terms of> identity, economics and > culture, Israel cannot avoid being a part of> European normalcy. > Therefore Israel is in a constant state of basic> contradiction. The way to > resolve this contradiction is to create a positive> anomaly ? both > ideological and ethical - that will provide an> answer to the negative > anomaly in which Israel exists. There is no other> way: Israel must prepare a > defense envelope that will protect its internal> environment from the > external environment surrounding it. Life in> defiance of the environment is > an essential part of Israeli existence. > However, in the past generation this cruel insight> has dissipated, the > delusion has spread that we have overcome our> problems and reached a state > of tranquility, and that we can live in this place> like any other nation. > This illusion led to a situation where the positive > Israeli anomaly > gradually became blurred, and the energies devoted> to maintaining the > defensive shield that isolates Israel from the> region and protects it from > this region were drastically reduced. Weakness > prevailed. Our willpower was > weakened. The bubble so inebriated the Israelis> that they didn't bother to > surround it with a fortified wall. Therefore, the> pressures of the external > environment steadily increased - with the terror of> 2002 and the Qassams of > 2005 and the Katyushas of 2006 - until they> penetrated deep inside the > Israeli environment. Thus was created the paradox> that those who wanted to > believe that Israel could be totally normal were the> ones who caused it to > decline into a chaotic situation of total anomaly> and a loss of balance. > Both political correctness and the> illusion-of-normalcy spread first and > foremost among the Israeli elites. The Israeli> public in general has > remained for the most part sober and strong. It did> not err with illusions > of a new Middle East. It did not turn its back on> the existential > imperative, the defense ethos and the IDF. Even its> core values were not > destroyed. Therefore, it impressively withstood both> the test of terror of > 2001-2003 and the test of "fire-on-the-home front"> of 2006. It demonstrated > an almost British fortitude and continues to do so.> > On the other hand, the Israeli elites of the past 20> years have become > totally divorced from reality. The capital, the> media and the academic world > of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st> century, have blinded Israel > and deprived it of its spirit. Their repeated> illusions regarding the > historical reality in which the Jewish state finds > itself, caused Israel to > make a navigational error and to lose its way.> Their unending attacks, both > direct and indirect, on nationalism, on militarism> and on the Zionist > narrative have eaten away from the inside at the> tree trunk of Israeli > existence, and sucked away its life force. While> the general public > demonstrated sobriety, determination and energy,> the elites were a > isappointment. > Capital brought the illusion-of-normalcy ad> absurdum, and established a > crushing social-economic regime here that does not> suit the historical > situation. The academic world promoted political> correctness ad absurdum and > conducted a somewhat suicidal spirit of criticism> here. And the media > combined the two and created a hallucinatory state> of mind, which combines > unbridled consumerism with false righteousness. > Instead of being constructive elites, in the past> generation the Israeli > elites have become dismantling elites. Each in its> own area, each by its own > method, dealt with the deconstruction of the Zionism> enterprise. Step by > step, the top 1000th percentiles abandoned the > existential national effort. > They stopped doing reserve duty, they stopped> sending their sons to the > fighting units. They mocked those officers who> warned about unilateral > withdrawals. They mocked those officers who warned> that the emergency > warehouses were emptying out and the enemies were> becoming stronger. And > they deceived themselves and those around them that> Tel Aviv is in fact > Manhattan. Money is in fact everything. And thus> they bequeathed to young > Israelis a legacy of values that makes it very> difficult for them to attack > even when the attack is fully justified. Because a> country that lacks > equality, that lacks justice and that lacks faith> in the rightness of its > path, is a country for which it is very difficult> to go on the attack. It is > > a country for which not many are willing to kill and> be killed. > And in the Middle East of the 21st century, a> country whose young elites > find it difficult to kill and be killed for it is a> country on borrowed > time. A country that cannot endure. So that what is> now being revealed > before our eyes, as the smoke of the Katyushas> continues to rise from the > Lebanese thicket, is not a failure of the IDF but a > failure of the elites > that turned their back on the IDF. What is being > revealed now, when Israel > cannot properly protect the lives of its citizens,> is not problems of > command and problems of tactics, but rather> deep-seated problems of a > society whose elites have abandoned it. It is not> Major General Udi Adam or > Brigadier General Gal Hirsch who are the problem,> it is the Israeli spirit. > A spirit that for far too long has been a spirit of> stupidity. A spirit of > absolute folly. > Usually, the accusation of folly is directed at> battle-hungry generals and > warmongering politicians. However, at the end of> this war, the accusation of > folly will be directed at an entire cadre of Israeli> opinion-makers and > social leaders who lived in a bubble and caused > Israel to live in a bubble. > The army will be required to put its house in order> and to rebuild, but the > true anger will be directed toward the elites who> failed. Elites who > betrayed the trust of a wise, impressive and strong> nation. > However, now it is wartime. The citizens of the> north are still in bomb > shelters, the soldiers of the regular and standing> armies are risking their > lives in a war that was not properly planned or> properly defined and is > being conducted poorly. Therefore, what is needed> now is to operate quickly, > to operate while in motion, in order to strengthen > the spirit of those > participating in the battle. What is needed is to > create immediately a new > discourse that will suit the new situation. Without> a new spirit and without > a new language there will be no victory in the> fighting. Therefore, while > the war is raging we must find the spirit and we> must find the language that > we lost in the years preceding the war. > Israel tried with all its soul and all its might to> be Athens. However in > this place, in this era, there is no future for an> Athens without a speck of > Sparta. There is no hope for a society-of-life that> does not know how to > organize itself to deal with death. Therefore, after> decades during which > the right and the left and the center took Israeli> power for granted and > wastefully exploited it, now there is no escaping> the need to place the > renewed building of Israeli power at the top of the> agenda. We are returning > to the encounter with our fate; returning to what> is decreed by the reality > of our lives. > > > > _Search For An Article_> (http://www.imra.org.il/search.php3) >.............................................................................................> ....... > Contact Us > > POB 982 Kfar Sava> Tel 972-9-7604719> Fax 972-3-7255730 > email:_imra@netvision.net.il_> (mailto:imra@netvision.net.il) > > > (http://www.imra.org.il/index.php3) >

....... > _____

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