With Benjamin Netanyahu in power, we don't have a moment of calm. With his mischievous smile he does what he wants, whenever he wants, and changes his mind without batting an eyelid before falling into the trap he prepared for himself. Take for example his request to change his private investment portfolio, which is in trust as long as he is prime minister. Maybe the timing of his request is a coincidence, and maybe not.
During the course of deciding about the Second Lebanon War, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz sold his securities, and during the recess of the cabinet meeting that decided on the attack, Justice Minister Haim Ramon kissed the female soldier who asked to have her picture taken with him. Both claimed that the timing of their actions was coincidental. But both Halutz and Ramon were left under a cloud of having acted on the eve of a war.
Much can be said about Bibi, but he's no fool. Maybe someone commented to him about the possible consequences of his move. It is even possible that his wife drew his attention to how burrowing through his savings now would look, on the assumption that she was not the one who asked him "and what about our savings?" Whatever the case, he changed his mind, and that's a good thing.
Citizens who have no restrictions on buying and selling would be happy to know whether he knows something that they don't: For example, plans for an attack against Iran.
In his day the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, set down the rule that during wartime the war should be immediately transferred to enemy territory and ended quickly. This for fear that the home front would not withstand a long war. The Israeli strategy was divided between wars of choice and wars of no choice. The Sinai Campaign in 1956 was a war of choice that ended with the Great Powers' ultimatum to Israel to withdraw immediately from the territory that Ben-Gurion called "the third Kingdom of Israel."
The Second Lebanon War was a war of choice that ended with a commission of inquiry when it turned out that we had not taken into account the blows suffered by the home front and the number of casualties. The second war of choice, Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, ended without a genuine achievement, when then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak demanded that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cut it short.
The first Lebanon war broke out with the bizarre excuse that the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, had been seriously wounded in a Palestinian terror attack in London. This happened during the tenure of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and both were well aware that this was a ridiculous excuse for a plan they had cooked up in advance. A superfluous war whose only achievement was that Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and his headquarters moved from Lebanon to Tunisia. We ostensibly transferred the war to enemy territory, but we bled for 18 years. In the end we exited in one night and left behind Hezbollah, which now presents a threat to large sections of the country.
The dilemma now preoccupying the public is whether to risk a war of choice of a type we haven't experienced until now, at a distance of thousands of kilometers from Israeli territory. Not an attack against an attack, but an initiated attack against a verbal threat accompanied by accelerated production of nuclear weapons in Iran. Judging by the exchange of threats and curses, we are actually involved in a new type of war of choice. Not something that we can classify.
In his time, Ehud Barak as chief of staff had a seemingly brilliant idea - to eliminate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during his annual visit to his mother's grave. The half-brilliant, half-lunatic idea was shelved due to the failure during the live-fire exercise remembered as "the Tze'elim disaster."
The rhetoric of Iran's leaders really is frightening and intolerable. But our rhetoric threatens them too. We are confronting a new type of war of choice, with one difference: That we aren't as free to act as we pretend. The U.S. administration has made it clear to us that there will be an attack only if there is no choice. And America will decide when there's no choice.
Not only are Bibi's savings in danger when the fuel prices soar. I don't want to think what will happen in our region if the enlightened world and the U.S. don't back us when Iranian missiles land in the center of the country.
An attack on Iran is not something that will quickly be over and done with, it is a madly ambitious move. Madness versus madness, a lethal Kramer versus Kramer. If B. and B. continue with their plan, Bibi's savings will be the last thing he'll have to worry about. His first question is liable to be: "Was there a bank here?"
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