Who didn’t hear from former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the lesson that he learned from the first Lebanon war: Don’t go to war without a broad national consensus. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak haven’t learned a thing: There is no consensus for their war against the Iranians, and there is controversy not only in public opinion, but mainly among the security mavens themselves.
It is impossible to win such a war when those who lead have doubts about its immediate necessity and our capability. Even the omniscient commentator of the daily pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom, who writes about everything, confessed this week: “I still haven’t formulated my opinion,” and if the bomb doesn’t kill us, the tension will. Until his patrons invite him for a final persuasive discussion and remove his doubts.
The die has been cast: The Home Front Command is sending you personal text messages from China, and you are looking for the bomb shelter. Of all the signs, that is the clearest one: TV’s Channel 2, functioning as Channel 1, is joining the campaign, and the three knowledgeable commentators − the security expert, the political expert and the Arab affairs expert, are storming the target. Although Amnon Abramovich is trying to say something else, what chance does he have against those delivering the word of the “two Kuni Lemels,” the two schlemiels; have these three also seen the Almighty’s splendid presence face to face?
The doctrine and the consensus are returning, we haven’t curled up under the blanket like that for a long time. How warm and pleasant to go back to old times, to the good old Israel, to revive the we’re-all-scared-together atmosphere of the eve of the Six-Day War, and to the sigh of relief after the glorious victory, which haunts us to this day.
This week, by chance, I came across a minister; I haven’t seen a flesh-and-blood minister for a long time. As though to ease his conscience, and perhaps to ingratiate himself with me, he opened his heart and sang: We’ll manage somehow with Bibi, we’ll postpone the evil decree, because he’s a coward; with Ehud it’s much more complicated, nobody really understands what he’s plotting.
And I recalled cabinet meetings and ministers who listened as though bewitched to the perfect operational plans of Kuni the wordsmith, which crashed during the first stage. There is nobody to compare with him when it comes to dismantling and assembling, there is no clock that didn’t start working again, and showing the right time.
I told the worried minister: At the moment I’m considering changing my mind − from opposing to supporting the bombing adventure, because that’s the only way we can get rid of Don Quixote and his sidekick. After all, “the threat to the home front is dwarfed by the threat” of their overly long tenure.
I was a member of the government − in the security cabinet, the kitchen, the kitchenette, and it goes like this: The discussion is at its height, the viewpoint of the Israel Defense Forces is heard at length, and at a certain moment the officers are asked to leave. Now the political leadership remains alone in order to consult and decide. I look to my right, I look to my left, and who do I see in the room if not generals in sports jackets and at least two former chiefs of staffs. In Israel it’s hard to differentiate − there are too many military men in the government, too many politicians on the IDF General Staff. And the jesters say there will never be a putsch here, because there’s no need for one; everyone is from the same village in any case.
So what has happened suddenly, why is the rural idyll being violated this time, and why is the officers’ club falling apart? Perhaps the military leadership knows something that they’re not telling us, that they’re keeping secret, and that we’ll discover only after the disaster?
If you’ve already found the bomb shelter, you should complete the preparations and enter it in time. Now all you can do is wait for the phone call from the lottery lady, who will contact you and in a reassuring voice inform you whether your number has come up; if you’ve won the privilege of being among 500 guinea pigs, and not one more.
“You’re joking,” we tell her. “I’m absolutely serious,” she tells us.
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