Amos Harel's fervent prayer for the well-being of Benny Gantz (Haaretz, August 1) isn't enough: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already, with haughty vehemence, announced that only the political leadership will decide. Nor will the visit of America's Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, turn the tables: Netanyahu, with the same haughty vehemence, has announced that only Israel will decide.
Of course, saying prayers for the well-being of Gantz and Panetta is nice. But the main object of concern right now should be the well-being and, more particularly, the level of determination of U.S. President Barack Obama. He carries the brunt of responsibility on his shoulders, and apparently is the last person on earth who has the wherewithal to dissuade Israel from continuing with its misadventures.
This is the last opportunity he has during his current term to demonstrate friendship and genuine concern for Israel. This is his last chance to do something for the Middle East.
The challenge currently resting on the shoulders of the world's strongest man would seem to be as light as a feather. Israel's level of dependence on the U.S. is absolute; it is more dependent on America than ever before, just as it has never been so isolated in the world. Measures that can be taken to stop Israel are numerous and diverse: They include giving Israel a cold shoulder politically, and putting a partial freeze on economic or security aid. And the goal is worthy. Possibly one tough, clear phone call will suffice.
Well, that's the picture. Anyone looking at this game from the sidelines would wonder which country here is the superpower and which is the satellite proxy, if not what here is the truth and what is duplicity. Yet apparently there is no time to clarify these questions. Nor is there time to wonder about how Israel is daring to act this way in August.
Messianic ruminators long ago noted that August is the fateful month, as perhaps September also is. And so now is the time to send one last appeal to the president-savior, calling on him to do something right now.
Sheldon Adelson is not likely to like this. Mitt Romney could object, and AIPAC will go nuts. Some synagogue sages will call on congregations to vote Republican, though that will hardly suffice to stop Obama's reelection. At stake here is a national rescue mission. And when it comes to rescue, everything else has to be put aside. The president who disappointed could become the president who offers deliverance. The president who vowed, "Yes, we can," can, at long last, prove that he can, in this part of the world as well.
There's no point in explaining why - it's all been said and written. The coming weeks are liable to bring a catastrophe to Israel. Apparently, the defense system's opposition no longer suffices to stop it. And the public's outrageous apathy doesn't help.
One might try to remind Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and perhaps also Obama, that the era of war heroes has dropped out of history forever. Since the end of World War II, no person has entered the history books thanks to a war or a bombing. The era's heroes are peacemakers or national liberators, from Gandhi to Mandela, from Gorbachev to Walesa. Apart from David Ben-Gurion, the only leaders of Israel who will be remembered in history were peacemakers - Begin, thanks to the peace with Egypt, and Rabin due to his attempts in the peace process with the Palestinians. The warmongers are forgotten. That's a fact that might be kept in mind by those who want to launch an attack "to leave a mark" in history.
Of course, possibly this is a false alarm - but by the time we can verify whether it is or not, it might be too late. It's no less probable that this is a true crisis. And so all eyes should now be peeled to Washington: Be strong, please, Obama. Stop the crazed Israeli desire to bomb; derail the messianic bellicosity and bring an end to this attack obsession. Surely one tough phone call from you would do the trick.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now