Threats and politics

 Does Israel face threats to its existence?. 


Two former Chiefs of the IDF General Staff, who were both Ministers of Defense, and one of them a Prime Minister, have come out against the current Prime Minister with charges that he is excessive in promoting fear to the population rather than working to make this a better place.


Ehud Barak goes so far as to accuse Benyamin Netanyahu of breeding fascism, spoiling Israel's relations with the United States and other friendly governments, failing to take advantage of opportunities in relations with the Palestinians, as well as overlooking ways to improve things in domestic matters. He also swipes at Bibi's own domestic problems, suggesting that Sara is getting in the way of service to the public.


Moshe Ya'alon has stayed away from a charge of fascism, but his blast at Bibi isn't all that different from Barak's. Extremism is also Ya'alon's theme, accusing Netanyahu of dividing the society rather than pursuing ways to unite it. Ya'alon has been explicit in saying that Israel no longer faces an existential threat from outsiders, and that Bibi's continued emphasis on Islam and Iran is his strategy for staying in office by creating fear where it needn't exist.


Both Barak and Ya'alon have called for political change. Ya'alon has announced that he will seek national leadership. So far Barak hasn't been that explicit, but just about every commentator sees the words between his lines.

One can probe this issue with an emphasis on domestic politics or the realities of what is happening close by and further away.


Politically, Bibi is vulnerable due to his success. He is closing in on David ben Gurion as Israel's longest serving Prime Minister. His initial three years were 1996-99, and has been in the big office since 2009 with two re-elections.


With all that service it is inevitable that supporters, opponents, and those in-between find reasons to feel that he has done things wrong or has missed opportunities to do things better. In a country where politicians' families are not in the limelight, Bibi's wife has been prominent, and the coverage negative.


Bibi's opponents do not lack recent examples  of his excesses and failures. He invested a great deal, and failed, in opposing the Obama-led effort to reach a nuclear accord with Iran. Since then, he has not done well in taking advantage of what seemed like an American effort to appease Israel with an increase in financial and technological aid, to help in coping with whatever might come from Iran. A much lesser, but also costly folly was appointing a supporter to be chair of the council running one of Israel's TV networks. Bibi's man made a speech that insulted a huge slice of Israel's population with roots in North Africa. His crudeness was the equivalent of a White  American presidential appointee using the N word in a political gathering.


Bibi himself may have gone over a line when he called the family of the soldier accused of killing an inert Palestinian terrorist, and providing what has been viewed as an excess of concern for an extremist.


Sara is not Bibi, and the Prime Minister has been careful to minimize his public comments in support of her, but it doesn't help him when she has been chastised by a judge for intemperate behavior, and the police have recommended that she be charged with a criminal offense. 


In terms of regional and world affairs, it is possible to make a reasonable argument that Israel has never been more secure. Muslim enemies of Israel and those moderates who qualify for the label of antagonists are spending more effort  fighting one another than in ganging up on Israel or in behalf of the Palestinians. Sixty percent of Palestinians oppose their current leadership. One of the men mentioned as Abbas' replacement has been exiled by the Palestinians, and is living in Dubai. Another is imprisoned by Israel on multiple convictions for murder.


The world is not at peace, but the most obvious threat comes from Islamists who appear to be a greater problem for Muslims, Europe and the US.  Israel is lower on the priorities of the fanatics, and it is more diligent than other places in its defense. 


Barack Obama can't decide that the problem has anything to do with Islam, and a nutty culture about weapons makes everyone a greater threat to everyone else than anyplace else.


Anti-Semitism and BDS are still out there, along with Jews who feel that what Israel is the greatest offense to civilization. However, we are hearing more about legislative enactments against boycotts of Israel and academics who stand up to the madness. Bernie, with his anti-Israel advisers, isn't going to be the Democratic nominee.


The most recent mailing from the Anti-Defamation League suggests that other hatreds are more worthy of ADL than anti-Semitism. 


&Please extend your sympathy to the LGBT community targeted in last Sunday’s hateful shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. You can do that by adding your name and expression of sympathy to ADL’s letter of support. We will be sharing all responses directly with leaders of the community.&


.The Simon Wiesenthal Center is on the same page.


&Last week, together with SWC International Relations Director Dr. Shimon Samuels, I had meetings in Berlin with senior government officials focusing on the implications of one million Middle Eastern migrant/refugees now in Germany. Social integration and the need to challenge problematic attitudes brought from their cultures about women, gays, and Jews was a core focus of the discussions.&


Both notes came with buttons that would make it easy to donate. Support of LGBTs may be overcoming anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in its capacity to open Jewish wallets.


Both Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya'alon are a long way from holding office, or even opening their campaigns. Bibi has recently expanded his coalition, and no prominent commentator is predicting an early election. 


Sheldon Adelson's Israel Hayom remains firm. The weekend edition of Bibipress  the newspaper with the country's largest (and free) circulation, carried the following headlines about the two generals

Ya'alon and Barak are Outside, and Saying the Opposite of what they said while Inside

Irrelevant Drama 

Refusing to Recognize the Results of Election

And about the continued threat against Israel's existence

Jihad without Borders

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