In the summer of 1995, the heads of the security establishment once again warned then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu against involvement in the campaign of incitement against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, under the slogan "With blood and fire, we'll expel Rabin." Netanyahu was warned that he was playing with fire. That it would end in catastrophe. But he covered his ears.
This summer, Netanyahu has placed Israel on an even more dangerous balcony than the one on which he stood at an anti-Rabin rally a month before the premier was murdered on November 4. Then, the fire was aimed at, and hit, the prime minister and defense minister. Today, the incitement and the fire are aimed at the entire leadership of the army and the defense establishment, as well as against America. They are all cowards motivated by personal interests. All except our two leaders, of course, who are known the world over for their monastic abstention from personal interests and material goods. Like a pervert who imagines perverts under every rock.
Those who are up late and used to having pensive late-night telephone conversations with Defense Minister Ehud Barak know that, for a decade, he has worried more about Pakistan's existing nuclear bombs, which could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists, than about the possibility of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Such night owls also know that Barak viewed nothing as more important than an intimate alliance with the United States - an alliance that brought with it both domestic and international legitimacy.
In his view, he even gave up the Prime Minister's Office - when he refused Ariel Sharon's offer to rescue him at the beginning of the second intifada - in order to secure American legitimacy as a peace-seeker. In that, he saw himself as continuing the tradition of the heroes of Israel.
The brutal general Sharon - a well-known nervous Nellie - waited and absorbed hundreds of victims of terror attacks before launching Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. The reason for this delay? To obtain American legitimacy. And brave Moshe Dayan, another famous coward, preferred to absorb hundreds of casualties in the 1973 Yom Kippur War rather than call up the reserves and attack preemptively, for the sake of that same legitimacy. Yet in all these cases, and many others, Israel didn't need even one percent of the American help that it needs to block Iran.
The magnitude of Netanyahu's failure - into which Barak has opted to let himself be dragged - is almost inconceivable. The agreement between these two men, which dates back four years, to when then-Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni tried to form a government, stemmed from the understanding that in order to build legitimacy for an attack on Iran, Netanyahu would do anything, from the deal to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit on the domestic front to a withdrawal from parts of the West Bank on the international front.
Yet on the American front, the exact opposite occurred. Netanyahu did everything possible to clash with the administration on which everything depends and to humiliate it in public. In the run-up to the attack, every boundary was crossed when Netanyahu, via American Jewish mogul Sheldon Adelson, became the spearhead of the drive to unseat U.S. President Barack Obama. And Barak, the boy from the kibbutz, now is standing beside him on this balcony of incitement.
All the pretexts for acting now rather than waiting - at least until spring - are embarrassing. An Islamic nuclear bomb surrounded by radical Islamic terrorists isn't a nightmare scenario; it already exists. The dozens of bombs in Pakistan's arsenal are surrounded by radicals who could take power even more quickly than it happened in Egypt. And to deter them, Israel needs America.
The zone of immunity, which has been dissolving like a dream, has actually been in place in Iran for some time . The fact that an Israeli attack would delay Iran's nuclear program by only a year means that Israel no longer has the ability to stop Iran on its own: Everything depends on American follow-through. Enough enriched uranium for a bomb isn't something that will happen this winter; Iran already has enough enriched uranium for more than four bombs.
By spring, the delay that Israeli action can achieve in Iran's nuclear program will be a bit shorter. But waiting for spring will either bring American action, or else the legitimacy needed for Israeli action that would undermine the status quo.
The candidates for the position of "home front defense" minister heard from the dynamic duo that if Iran acquires a nuclear bomb, war now - which won't prevent it from doing so - would create deterrence later. A state is entitled to try to foment an incident that shakes up everything. But to do so, you have to prepare in advance for the day after.
Before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat chose to go to war in 1973, he prepared for the day after, and the return of the Sinai peninsula, by agreeing in principle to a full peace in 1972 and forging ties with the Americans. The balcony from which Netanyahu is burning the Israeli-American relationship promises that the day after will come tumbling down on Israel's head.
A campaign of newspaper incitement is being waged against all senior officials who oppose an illegitimate attack. Netanyahu, alongside the skeletons of the balcony, now has Sheldon's daily Israel Hayom in his closet too. In Netanyahu's name, the thuggish cries hurled at Rabin's granddaughter were also hurled at President Shimon Peres: "Oslo had 1,000 victims."
This is the moment to climb down from the balcony. Before another 4th of November. You don't go to war this way. Not with incitement. Not against the heads of the army. Not against the Americans. Not before the clouds come. Not from the balcony. You just don't.
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