Dear Mr. Netanyahu: Be a Man. End This War

From war to war, Israel is gradually turning into Gaza - isolated, clergy-cursed, trapped and furious and writhing. A place with no tomorrow.

AP

Dear Mr. Netanyahu,

As you know, this week, on Tuesday, Jews the world over will be fasting from dawn until sundown, to mark a series of calamities – at least one of them our own fault – that befell our people on the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz.

We will be engaging in a fast of introspection at the same time and in much the same way that Muslims will be observing the fast of the month of Ramadan.

And, unless you do something about it, there will be blood.

It's in your power. It's your choice.

Take this opportunity. Be a man of your word. It's a fast day. End this war.

On Friday, you told us that "The military operation in Gaza will continue until quiet is restored to the citizens of Israel."

Listen to people you respect. Like Major General (Res.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, who declared on Sunday: "If the objectives of the operation are to achieve quiet in exchange for quiet, as the prime minister presented it, and to bolster deterrence, I believe that the objectives have been achieved."

Asked if he was saying that, in order to implement the prime minister's declaration on halting rocket fire, the operation could be halted now, Yadlin, director of the Institute for National Security Studies, told Army Radio:

"Absolutely. If there's a cease fire, according to one agreement or another, the rockets will cease. And, in my view, they will not resume for a very long time."

Mr. Netanyahu, take a lesson from the rare convergence of two fasts. You can end it now, or weeks or months from now. Every single day that you wait, children are maimed and killed, innocent people are crushed to death under their own roofs, and the sole beneficiary is Hamas.

Every single day that you wait, it becomes more and more likely that the decision to stop this war will be forced on you – and Hamas alone will see a gain.

It's your choice. If you leave the decision to Hamas, we know what the answer will be.

Israel should not reject a cease fire, but rather examine its terms carefully, Yadlin continued. As it is, on one hand, he said, "the army has protected the people of Israel. Not one Israeli has been killed.

"Gaza, on the other hand, is utterly demolished."

Mr. Netanyahu, it's a fast day. Stop it here. Stop it now.

It was on the 17th of Tammuz that the people of Israel, camped in a wilderness on the far side of Gaza, went dangerously astray. Left to simmer without leadership, they went temporarily insane. Their frustration, their anger, the lack of movement and direction, the voices of incitement in their midst, caused them to fight amongst themselvesto lose themselves in worship of the material over the spiritual, property over morality. A golden calf over the Ten Commandments.

In later years, the 17th of Tammuz marked signs of the beginning of the end of the first and second Jewish Temples, and of further instances of ideals giving way to idolatry.

Mr. Netanyahu, you have a job to do. Here at home. Right now.

Tuesday is not just another fast day. It is the anniversary of the defilement of ideals. It is the fast of things falling apart.

Mr. Prime Minister, many people who have never fasted on the 17th of Tammuz, will be fasting this year. Fasting for the prospect of coexistence, and end to violence, a beginning of healing. I will be one of them. Maybe you should be, as well.

It's an opportunity to take a long hard look at your people, and your country this point in time:

From war to war, from incursion to incursion, Israel is gradually turning into Gaza – isolated, clergy-cursed, leader-poor, trapped and furious and writhing. A place of fear and fundamentalism, a place without a future, a place without hope. A place with no tomorrow.

A place without consideration for some of the most basic needs and desires of its most fragile and vulnerable, decent, ordinary, normal residents. Like Gaza, a place which was once heartbreakingly beautiful, and is now, increasingly, taking on the dark colors of a bad idea.

Mr. Netanyahu, now is the time to be a man. Observe this fast. End this war. End it now. You have plenty to do here at home.