When the former Mossad chief meets Israel's rising political star
Meir Dagan and Yair Lapid have, according to the former Mossad chief, only ever met once. But at a gala dinner taking place at the Beverly Hills hotel, the two may just meet again.
I've met Yair Lapid once," said former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in an interview over the weekend with Dana Weiss on Channel Two's "Meet the Press". "I received a book he wrote on his father one and a half years ago. Since then, I haven’t seen him and haven't met him again. I enjoyed watching him on television and reading his articles in the newspaper. I didn't speak to him."
The former Mossad chief said a few more interesting things about his future in politics. "At this stage entering politics is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. At this point in time, I'm not considering an entrance into the political field," he said. The emphasis was on the times – at this stage, in the meantime, at this point in time. In the future – who knows? "I would be prepared to join anyone whose path is similar to mine," he added.
Dagan spoke after Weiss enquired about whether Yair Lapid had tried wooing him into joining the new party that he is establishing. After all, Lapid said in the last few weeks that his party would not be comprised of politicians, rather "of people who have done something in their lives."
If Dagan did indeed not see Lapid nor exchange a word with him over the past two years, then in less than a month he will have an excellent opportunity to do so. The two future politicians will participate on March 11, in a gala dinner in Los Angeles being arranged by the Israeli Leadership Council, an organization founded in 2007 by Israeli expatriates, which intends to organize the community of 250 thousand Israelis living in Los Angeles and its surroundings.
At the event, Dagan will be awarded a certificate of honor for his achievements, while Lapid will be the main speechmaker. In between, Rita will perform. Lapid has already been spreading the phrase, "Where is the money?", for a few weeks. It seems knows very well where it is. At the event, which will take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a good number of wealthy people will participate, some of whom have donated to Israeli politicians in the past.
By the way, Lapid is expected to arrive in the United States a week before the event, to participate in the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington – another event where Israeli politicians offer their merchandise to American Jews.
Another future politician that will participate at the event in Beverly Hills is former Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, Ehud Danoch. He is an honorary member of the Israeli Leadership Council's board of the directors, and intends to run for a place on the list of Likud members in the next Knesset. According to sources at Likud, Danoch will run for the post of Likud's Tel Aviv representative.
Danoch, who is close to Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, is expected to compete, according to estimations, against David Sharon, who serves as chief of staff for Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser, who is close to Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.
The Evangelist talks back
Two months ago I posted a story that deals with the close relationship Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shares with right-Evangelistic Americans. I wrote that Netanyahu and his people are close to the organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), whose members are mainly Evangelists who believe that Israel's existence is crucial for the return of the Messiah, and the coming of redemption.
In response to that post, I received an email from the organization's spokesperson, Ari Morgenstern. "In Barak Ravid's December 22nd column "Netanyahu and the New (Old) Testament," he asserted that in the Evangelical context Christian Zionism is motivated by Christian beliefs regarding the 'end of days'," he wrote. "This is incorrect. Though I do not believe it was his intention to offend, such an assertion is highly offensive to many Christians as it mischaracterizes their faith, and is used by some to delegitimize Christian support for Israel.
Morgenstern added that, "The vast majority of Christian Zionists believe that human beings are utterly powerless to speed (what Christians believe will be) the second coming of the Messiah. Thus, their motives to be active in defense of Israel must come from elsewhere. And indeed they do. Evangelical Christian support for Israel is primarily motivated by Genesis 12:3 in which it is written that God will bless those who bless Israel. In addition, Christian Zionists have a deep love and respect for the Jewish faith. They understand that without Judaism, there would be no Christianity."
Beyond their religious motivations, Christian Zionists tend to interpret Jewish and Israeli history in the same manner many Jewish Zionists do. Christian supporters of Israel believe the Jewish State has a right to exist and a right to defend itself. Finally, like the majority of Americans, many of Israel's Christian friends believe that the United States benefits greatly from its relationship with Israel, as the Jewish State is a democracy that shares Western values, and a stalwart American ally.
The blog of Haaretz's diplomatic correspondent, taking a deeper look behind the scenes of Israeli politics and foreign policy.