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Israel needs new management

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a government conference at Defense Headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 31, 2023. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“There is none to guide Israel among all the sons she has borne, nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has reared.”

Although this sounds like a lamentation of our government’s opposition party, it’s actually the words of the Prophet Isaiah as recorded in chapter 51, verse 18. Despite it having been written more than 2,700 years ago, its relevance is, perhaps, greater today than at any other time in history.

Because, not only have our present leaders let us down, in terms of adequately protecting their citizens from the worst attack the Jewish homeland has ever experienced in its 75-year existence, but they have even placed us in greater jeopardy by their great lack of wisdom and impulsive careless responses. Although meant to be angry threats, they were, nonetheless, used by our enemies to further entrap us.

We now find ourselves in a position where we must defend our right to live without the fear of constant savage terror attacks that no nation would tolerate. Due to the irresponsible and reckless words of our leaders, their magnification of forceful retaliation has been turned into a genocidal claim, thereby hurting our cause.

Of course, there is no question that after the inhumane atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on Oct. 7, rivaling the worst indignities known to man, Israel had the moral right and total justification to harshly act in a way that would have made anyone think twice about daring to tangle with Israel again.  But it’s one thing to plan such retribution and another thing to publicly articulate it in a way that turns the table, causing our enemies to point the finger at us for being the barbarians.

Yet, this is exactly the foolhardy exercise that may have contributed to our being placed front and center at the International Court of Justice in The Hague where we have been charged with genocide.

And why are we accused of this outlandish crime? Unquestionably, because there are plenty of bad actors who want to see Israel rebuked and crushed until her good name is dragged in the mud and she is irreparably damaged and humiliated before everyone. And while this is true, our leaders also didn’t do us any favors as they expressed incendiary comments that were used against us, adding fuel to an already fiery furnace of incitement directed at us. 

For example, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s biblical reference to “Amalek,” the ancient enemy of Israel, gave ammunition for our detractors to insinuate that we, just as the Israelites in days of old, killed every last man, woman and child from among them, would do likewise. Right there, anyone desiring to make a case against Israel could easily equate that reference to a genocidal ambition.

Yet another ill-advised comment was made by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who stated, “When we say that Hamas should be destroyed, it also means those who celebrate, those who support and those who hand out candy – they’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed.”     

While it may be legitimate and certainly accurate to acknowledge that those who celebrate the barbaric and sadistic deaths of Israeli innocents, including helpless infants, are certainly enemies whose support of terrorism is despicable and evil, to a hypocritical anti-Israel constituency, one can make the case that such a statement equally aspires to kill everyday citizens who, although, happy at our demise, were not part and parcel to the acts of Hamas combatants who actually executed the terrorism which occurred on Oct. 7.

It goes without saying that no sane or right-thinking person could really equate enraged statements with actual savage attacks, which were not only carried out but also filmed with pride and a ghoulish delight. But when dishonest and deceitful people join forces with those who have carved out a cunningly deceitful agenda in the hope of severely injuring their opponent, then this is the result – a reversal of evildoers with the lying claim of genocide.

Add to that the statement by Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, who suggested that “Israel was considering using a nuclear bomb in Gaza,” and stated that “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”

Again, an irresponsible threat is then turned into a would-be action, which is tantamount to wiping out an entire population, aka “Genocide.” These are only a few of the very troubling and foolish comments made, in which other leaders, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, also took part. 

It’s regrettable that these present leaders have not done well in protecting Israel from attack nor further accusation once we sought to rightly defend ourselves by eliminating the danger and peril, coming from our neighbors who have no intentions of peacefully living alongside us.  

Consequently, our enemies will now use the charge of genocide because, from their vantage point, those leaders’ comments “are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

While many of these coalition members are novices, possessing no real experience – which is vital for a public figure who represents the nation – certainly, our seasoned prime minister should have acted with more prudence and deliberation in how he could respond in a way that would comfort Israelis but not indict our nation as a hot-headed, explosive cauldron of anger, capable of wiping out every living soul across the fence.  

It is for this reason that we must search for wise and prudent leaders who are not only skilled in the warfare of military weapons but also in the weapons of rhetoric, and the meaning and consequences of words. Because, these days, that is where the battle is being waged. The moment a leader opens their mouth, every syllable is critically analyzed and scoured for malicious intent and the opportunity to characterize what has been stated in the worst possible light in order to accuse and frame the speaker as an evil actor.

In that kind of dishonest orbit, which lacks any integrity or mercy, it might be wise to seek out the best and most skilled communicators who are adept at avoiding the minefields of scoundrels whose fondest wish is to silence and debilitate their rivals. Their preponderance of suggested responses and approved phrasing could go a long way in protecting our country from unforced errors and failures of our own making by unwise leaders.

Either way, Israel is in desperate need of new management, because the present one isn’t serving us well or helping to make our cause; one which is just, righteous and wholly defensible before a world that needs help identifying the real perpetrators of genocide as opposed to the fabricated ones.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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