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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski / Courtesy)
Recently we commemorated the anniversary of the death of the founder of Revisionist Zionism, Ze'ev Jabotinsky. The heirs to revisionism, the national camp, have strayed far from the teachings of their mentor. While some on the Right have left for the succor of Kadima, many still claim to be Jabotinsky's heirs from within the Likud. However, a cursory glance at the platform of many members of today's Likud would show that they have strayed far from the ideals of Jabotinsky.
Today, it seems the only difference between the Left, the Right and center of the political spectrum is simply a matter of time. What Labor espouses today, Kadima will surely follow, and it is only a matter of time before the Likud adopts the same platform just a short while after.
The sons of revisionism are joining the concessionist camp and the cause of havlaga - restraint. A politician will claim that a certain action endangers Israel, only to champion it at a later stage. This is a major cause of discontent with their politicians among the Israeli electorate. The public will vote on a platform only to find, a short while later, that the elected have dispensed with their election-time ideals and adopted a totally new platform more in line with their political aspirations.
It is high time for the national camp, and specifically the Likud, to return to their roots and take a stand for the future of Israel. It is time for the Likud to stand for principles that take into account Israel's security in the long and short term, and not bend on this.
OVER 80 years ago, Jabotinsky understood the nature of the conflict. He claimed that all those who wish to appease our enemies or "buy them off" will not succeed. This does not mean that Jabotinsky closed the door on voluntary agreement with the Arabs; quite the contrary.
Although painted as an Arab-hater, Jabotinsky was anything but. He understood the Arabs' mentality, took their positions into account and treated their national aspirations respectfully. In every article or book that Jabotinsky wrote in which he addressed the Arab peoples, he treated them as full equals as outlined in the Helsingfors Program (of which he was one of the formulators). He did not look down his nose at the Arabs or ignore them, as many of his Zionist contemporaries did.
As the great American poet and novelist, Robert Penn Warren, wrote: "The past is always a rebuke to the present." So too, after decades of failed attempts at conciliation we should be rebuked by these efforts at appeasement.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Israel and its policies would appear to fit into that category.
However, it is not insanity that Israel suffers from, but lack of confidence in its own path and how to act to create its own destiny. Israelis are constantly being told that there is only one way to peace, and anyone who differs from this is demeaned as a "dreamer" or an "extremist." To launch ad hominem attacks on the one proposing, means never having to deal with the proposal itself.
ISRAEL IS in dire need of a long-term strategy which seeks out the root of the problem. As Jabotinsky said decades ago, "Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality."
Our very raison d'etre, Zionism, is being eroded not just by our enemies and doubters abroad, but sadly also from within. When a former chairman of the Jewish Agency disparages Zionism and calls for an end to the Jewish state, we know there is something rotten in our ideological structure. We need a return to the values that built this state, which has survived and even thrived in direct contradistinction to our enemies' genocidal attempts.
Those Israelis who were born abroad understand that there is a need for change in our political leadership. The leaders who have led Israel astray on more than one occasion need to be accountable to the public and not just to a closed circle of political elites. Those who govern or who have recently governed our country are just looking to "put out fires," and this is what led us to the disastrous Oslo process and the disengagement.
Putting out fires is just a reaction to an event; few people in leadership positions have a purported strategic goal. Israel already has a strategic goal, and it is embodied in Zionism. We know that it is "moral and just" - to reach it, now is the time to make a change.
The writer is World Likud chairman.