Protest in the Rose Garden
By wintertime the moment of truth will come. If the United States attacks Iran, Israel will be attacked. If the United States does not attack, Israel will be faced with the most serious challenge to its existence since the day of its establishment.
What do we need to do these days? Not much. To prevent the renewal of war in Lebanon and to win the war should it begin anew. To avoid the outbreak of war with Syria and to win a war against it should one break out. To prevent Iran from developing its nuclear capability and to deter the country should it become a nuclear power. To build the Israel Defense Forces from the foundations up, as fast as possible. To rehabilitate the political system immediately. To come up with a leadership from thin air. To formulate, overnight, a national strategy. To carry out a regime change. To initiate a revolution in values. To reestablish the Israeli republic.
The timetable is tight. Very tight indeed. The cease-fire in Lebanon is not stable and will not be. The truce is caught in the dilemma of whether to come to terms with Hezbollah's powerful presence or whether to take forceful action against the organization and chance an escalation. There is total uncertainty also along the Syrian border. The possibility of a sudden Syrian move on the Golan Heights is not out of the question.
On the other hand, on the Iranian front the picture is crystal clear: By wintertime the moment of truth will come. If the United States attacks Iran, Israel will be attacked. If the United States does not attack, Israel will be faced with the most serious challenge to its existence since the day of its establishment.
Those who say that there is no comparison between the situation at the end of the second Lebanon War and the situation at the end of the Yom Kippur War are right. The current situation is by far more dramatic. Indeed, the number of fresh graves in military cemeteries at the end of this summer is much smaller than that after the fall of 1973, but the situation at the end of the war is much, much more fragile and dangerous.
In the fall of 1973, Israel stood before the start of an era of no external attacks. At the end of the summer of 2006, Israel is faced with a high probability of an impending external assault. In the fall of 1973, Israel was perceived by its neighbors as a wounded but powerful bully. At the end of summer 2006, it is viewed by its neighbors as a scarred, impotent wimp. In the fall of 1973, the American superpower regarded Israel as a bleeding lion. In 2006, the U.S. sees Israel as a fat hound dog that has lost its nerve and its value.
In 1973, the IDF emerged from the war with chief of staff David Elazar and Major Generals Yitzhak Hofi, Yisrael Tal and Arik Sharon threatening both Cairo and Damascus. In the end of the summer of 2006, the IDF is emerging from the fighting with the head of Northern Command Udi Adam, Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz not even posing a threat to the Al-Khiam ridge.
In the fall of 1973, the Israeli leadership consisted of Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon, Abba Eban, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. At the end of the summer of 2006, in Israel's leadership are Tal Zilberstein and Shula Zaken. In the fall of 1973, Israel was a powerful state that erred, was battered and got back on its feet. At the end of the summer of 2006, Israel is a country whose vital organs are rotting, afflicted by a corrupting virus.
This is the reason for which one must rush, at this very moment, over to the protesters at the Rose Garden in Jerusalem. Not because Ehud Olmert must go. He will go in any case. And not because Halutz must take responsibility. He will take responsibility, whether he likes it or not. We must rush to the protest at the Rose Garden because that is where Israel is beginning to deal with itself. That is where truthful people are beginning to tell the truth to a nation that forgot what the taste of truth is all about.
Today's agenda must concern one thing: Israel's power. There will be no peace and there will be no end to the occupation without restoring Israel's power. There will be no enlightenment and no free society without renewing Israel's power. Without renewing Israel's power there will be no start-ups here and no clubs. There won't even be a bubble.
However, renewal of Israel's power cannot take place without ethics and without truth. Without modesty and without substance. Without restoring faith and a sense of responsibility. Therefore, the Prime Minister and Chief of Staff of Arrogance must both go. Not only because they have been wrong all the way. Not only because they have been wrong, have been deceptive and have cooked up a disaster. But because getting rid of both will distance us from the distorted values that both of them represent. Separation from both of them will detach us from the evil spirit that tricked us for years.
Parting from Olmert and Halutz will not solve the deeply ingrained problem, but it will allow us to start dealing with it. It will allow Israel to embark on a long path toward a new beginning.
It's true: The protest in the Rose Garden is naive. It is not sufficiently focused or consolidated. It lacks clear tenets. But the seven reservist soldiers and the seven reservist officers who started the protest are the best among Israelis. They are exhibiting what is good about being Israeli. Therefore, it is necessary to go to them, to stand beside them and to support them. Indeed, it is necessary to rally near them in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands.
Left, right, center - no one can oppose them. The protesters there are not orange and they are not blue. They are not interested parties and they have no hidden agendas. That is why the protest is now the most important place to be in Israel. This is the place where the great task of fixing Israel is beginning.
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