Four Comments on the Situation

Maybe we overdid it with the attack on the Mavi Marmara; but sending a ship with thugs to breach the closure of Gaza was in itself an act of piracy.

1. What’s this business about asking forgiveness that has invaded regional relations? Turkey is presenting an ultimatum: Either ask forgiveness or we’ll be angry forever. Egypt is demanding that we ask forgiveness because five Egyptian police were killed by our fire. I don’t recall that Egypt asked forgiveness from Israel for the October war. I don’t recall that we demanded that they ask forgiveness for the fedayeen they sent from the Gaza Strip to carry out acts of slaughter in the heart of Israel. I don’t recall that the Egyptians apologized for the tearing down of the Israeli flag from the embassy building in Cairo. Asking forgiveness contains an element of weakness on one side and arrogance on the other. After the 1967 war our leaders used to boast: “Excuse us for winning.”

Asking forgiveness sometimes exposes weakness and sometimes fury on the part of the asker. During the days of ethnic tension after the immigration wave from Morocco, I witnessed an incident in a bus in which a passenger stepped on another passenger’s foot by accident. “Sorry,” the transgressor said politely. But the angry reaction was astonishing: “That’s how you Ashkenazim are, first you trample us and then you ask for forgiveness!”

Something like this happened in a big way to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. When he was running for the premiership, he said, “I hereby ask forgiveness in my own name and in the name of the historic Labor movement” from the Jews from North Africa and the Middle East for the discrimination and deprivation. This foolish admission plagued him throughout his unsuccessful term. This writer is in favor of reconciliation with Turkey. Maybe we overdid it with the attack on the Mavi Marmara. But sending a ship with thugs to breach the closure of Gaza was in itself an act of piracy. It’s inconceivable that we could do such a thing to Turkey. There are incidents that happen because of misunderstandings. And we handle those things like grown-ups. Getting on our knees to beg forgiveness? Only when Turkey begs forgiveness for the slaughter of the Armenians.

2. Someone who has visited Barak’s home said his refrigerators are empty. This may be part of his diet. In any case, it’s clear he’s trying to lose weight, which proves he’s preparing for the coming elections. His voters don’t like fat and self-satisfied leaders. A strong man like Barak knows how to control his appetite, but not his arrogant tongue. He wasn’t satisfied with the apology of the GOC Southern Command, an honest and talented man, for his mistake in opening Highway 12 too early, which made it easier for the terrorists to carry out their plan.

In an interview with Channel 2 news anchor Yonit Levi, Barak said Maj. Gen. Tal Russo had made an error in judgment. When Barak was asked whether the Israel Defense Forces’ reaction to the mortar shells was helpful, he replied like a surgeon: The risk taken by a rocket launcher is that his head will be separated from his body in a precise operation by the air force. Actually, I didn’t know that the air force is so accurate that it can separate a terrorist’s head from his body. But judging by the amount of firing, you get the impression that Hamas has found a patent that enables the heads to launch Grads by themselves.

3. The Islamic dictatorships surrounding us are falling one after the other. The young people who are raising the banner of revolt and bringing down the corrupt rulers were raised on a profound hatred of Israel. As they rip up photographs of their rulers they are burning Israeli flags. The countries surrounding us will not become Swiss-type democracies, and the hatred of us will not soon disappear. A country that is in no rush to mark its final borders and is avoiding responsibility for its people is unwittingly placing itself in a diplomatic and physical ghetto.

4. Whether he liked it or not, someone moved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cheese. This Sinai, which used to be a major tourist destination, suddenly looks different. It’s home to about 300,000 Bedouin, who are engaged in smuggling of all types. It’s an area bordering on four countries. From the Sinai, rockets can be launched at all the surrounding countries. The Promised Land has become a land under guard.

Does that mean the social revolution that has erupted from Rothschild Boulevard is ending? If Bibi tries to change the subject, the elegant demonstration is liable to boil over into a demonstration of Black Panther proportions. Things will become violent politically, which will bring the elections forward. Bibi has to do what he hates: show initiative. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system will not protect him from the social-welfare issue. It won’t be over until the “fat lady” − the Trajtenberg Committee − sings.