“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Confirmation of Israeli air strike on Syrian nuclear program
- “March of Return”
- Selection of Articles
Israel must always think ‘outside the box’
The bottom line of the operation to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria is a positive one. (…). Assad’s reactor was mere months away from becoming operational, and had it not been for a grave lapse in field security by his atomic agency chief (…) it’s likely that Israel would have detected the project too late. This intelligence failure turned into a success with the discovery of the reactor, the ensuing efforts to gather more intelligence, the formulation of the attack plan, and the approach to avoid a war in the wake of the attack. (…) The operation to destroy the Syrian nuclear reactor (…) gave birth to the hundreds of intelligence-gathering and covert operations Israel has carried out in recent years. Another disconcerting lesson from this affair is the fact that Israel is alone in the fight. The United States is perhaps our greatest friend in the world, but in the moment of truth it left us on our own. (…) The process in its entirety was managed perfectly, both diplomatically and militarily. Proper judgment was applied throughout and the risks taken were calculated. Most of the credit must go to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who never received even a fraction of what he is due. (…) Israel’s current and future political and military leaders would do well to study this course – its weak and strong points, and mainly how to manage complex situations. (…)
Yoav Limor, IHY, 21.03.18
Reactor and Reactions
(…) It was fascinating – and definitely out of the box. Piece by piece, snippet by snippet, Israel’s various intelligence bodies had figured out what Bashar Assad was quietly planning. What, where and how. (…) the Syrian dictator did not boast of his nuclear plans. Given that only Assad’s absolutely closest circle knew of the reactor, obtaining the details was an intelligence success of the type that makes you think of “intelligence” in both senses of the word. (…) Had Israel in September 2007 openly claimed responsibility for the operation (…) it could have forced Assad to react and set the whole region on the path to war. (…) Israelis – and the sane world – should be doubly grateful that the country did not hand the Golan to the butcher from Damascus. (…) And if there’s one thing worse than someone like Assad getting his bloodstained hands on nuclear weapons, it’s the nightmare of jihadist terrorists obtaining nonconventional weapons (…) There is no doubt that Israel’s publication of the operation sends a powerful message. (…) Assad realizes that Israel has certain redlines and (…) is serious about them not being crossed. It sends a message to Iran, where the regime continues to call for wiping Israel off the map and threatens non- Shi’ite populations. It is also a warning to North Korea, which actively helped Syria with the construction of its plutonium project at al-Kibar and continues to be Iran’s nuclear partner. It might also be sending a signal to the US: With or without you, Israel will not – cannot – tolerate hostile countries with nuclear capabilities. (…)
Liat Collins, JPO, 22.03.18
Don’t leave anything to luck
(…) Israel calculated its steps properly and where it relied on luck – something that cannot be trusted should another incident of this kind take place. (…) Even though there were those in Military Intelligence who suspected that Syria was pursuing a military nuclear program, the reactor in Deir ez-Zor was discovered in the 11th hour. This cannot happen in a country like Israel, which engages in constant intelligence gathering. (…) decision-makers, led by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, pursued the right course of action, including when making the decision to keep mum after the nuclear reactor was destroyed, so as to make it easier for Assad to contain the incident. The IAF’s mission was also a resounding success, but here, too, we must keep things in proportion. Given Syria’s proximity to Israel, bombing the Deir ez-Zor reactor was easier than the 1981 strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor south of Baghdad, and it was exponentially less complex and dangerous than any potential strike Israel may have to consider in the future on the nuclear facilities in Iran.
Yaakov Amidror, IHY, 22.03.18
Imagine a world in which Syria still had its nuclear reactor today
(…) Had Israel not learned of the existence of Syria’s reactor, what would the Middle East look like today? Israel could have found itself living under an unimaginable threat, and ISIS could have come into possession of a nightmarish capability. (…) What about Assad’s own people? He has used gas against them. Would he have used nuclear weapons, too, if he had them? (…) once Bush informed Olmert that he would not be attacking, an Israeli strike became the only option. It was a continuation of what is known in Israel as the “Begin Doctrine” (…). The doctrine holds that Israel will not allow its enemies to obtain weapons that could pose an existential threat to the Jewish state. This has now worked twice: Iraq in 1981, and Syria in 2007. But what about Iran? Will Israel continue to stand by the Begin Doctrine, or is Iran a challenge that even mighty Israel cannot take on alone? (…) It is true that Olmert will go down in history as the first prime minister to go to jail: He was convicted of a crime and he paid the price. But we also shouldn’t forget operations that he oversaw as the country’s leader. Over a decade later, he is finally getting the credit he deserves.
Yaakov Katz, JPO, 23.03.18
Why was Israel´s attack on Syria´s reactor suddenly cleared for publication?
(…) The first time we tried to challenge the military censor’s office over the story of the attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor, Ehud Olmert was still prime minister. (…) Was it possible that there were ulterior motives involved in the decision to bar publication? To protect the boss, Barak? (…) A few years later, we (…) came equipped with an entire film that included four interviews with Israeli decision makers and three senior American officials and, most notably, acknowledgements on the part of Israeli representatives regarding Israeli attacks in Syria in general and this attack in particular. (…) If the secret is so great and the danger to state security so major, did anyone ask those interviewed in the film not to speak further with anyone? No, acknowledged the state’s representatives. (…) Over the past several years, a conspiracy theory circulated that the military censor was not allowing the disclosure because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t want to see any glory given to Olmert. (…) and then all of a sudden the disclosure was allowed in a twisted, faulty process in which ultimately it was not a Channel 10 reporter who spoke about it or even a former prime minister, but rather the current army chief of staff, air force commander and defense minister. (…) From a view that even a quasi-official admission of the bombing of the reactor would bring major risks to national security, we have now reached the point where official acknowledgement does no harm at all. Allowing the disclosure was justified years ago. The view that it is better not to know is appropriate for dictatorships where the belief is that the most critical issues should be considered by a handful of people, and that the public should never be able to judge their actions. If that’s the case, this entire process leaves a bitter taste of ulterior motives, both when the report was barred and when it was cleared for publication.
Raviv Drucker, HAA, 27.03.18
Gatekeepers should protect our secrets
Despite there being an Israeli Military Censor’s Office, the truth of the matter is that it is powerless. (…) The censors proudly claim that they managed to prevent the publication of most of the sensitive details on the operation. But the bad news is that even if those details are still classified, they are now on the various reporters’ laptops exposed to various hackers. (…) News outlets and politicians exerted immense pressure on the military (…). For Israel’s enemies, the past few days were a gift from heaven, and now with the help of Israel’s senior officers and politicians, Israel’s intelligence assets are out in the open for everyone to see. (…) We must ensure that vocal media figures can’t force politicians and military officers to act in a certain way just in order to receive positive press. (…) a group of veteran Israeli intelligence officers in the reserves must be set up to act as gatekeepers that would safeguard the country’s secrets to ensure that the public’s safety is not compromised.
Meir Indor, IHY, 28.03.18
(…) the detailed description of the verification of the suspicion that the building in the Syrian desert housed a nuclear reactor, (…) the decision to destroy the reactor and the smooth IAF operation that destroyed it are a source of pride to all Israelis. (…) And yet, some lingering questions remain. Why did it take years to notice the building housing the reactor and begin the process of verifying its contents? How were the Syrians and their North Korean partners able to build the reactor and the building holding it without being discovered by Israeli intelligence? (…) The lack of alertness to the potential danger to Israel of the proliferation of nuclear and ballistic missile technology in the Middle East is even more puzzling, since much of this has become common knowledge in recent years. (…) Is it possible that the comings and goings over the years of North Koreans in Middle Eastern countries (…) did not arouse the suspicion of the Israeli intelligence community? (…) Evidently, for years it passed under the radar of Israeli intelligence. Possibly the procedure for assigning priorities to the intelligence community needs to be reexamined.
Moshe Arens, HAA, 27.03.18
A new stage in the Palestinian struggle for liberation
The Marches for the Palestinian Right of Return (…) are beginning a new stage in the Palestinian struggle for liberation, a stage of nonviolent popular resistance. (…) The organizers of the marches (…) hope the presence of international media outlets and the official responsibility of UN institutions for the Palestinian refugees will ensure that Israel won’t harm them. (…) The Palestinian national liberation movement is undergoing a profound crisis, which requires it to decide whether to reconstruct the awareness of armed resistance, inspired by Iranian films that have recently been seen in Gazan movie theaters, and bring ruin to the Palestinian people; or to prefer to build an awareness of nonviolent civil resistance, inspired by cultural heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. (…) The organizers of the March of Return (…) have decided to violate the public order and arouse the masses to a civil rebellion. This is therefore the best time for Israel and the international community to turn their gaze to the nonviolent Palestinian outcry a moment before it crosses the separation barriers.
Ronit Marzan, HAA, 20.03.18
‘Peaceful’ Palestinian protests
The Palestinians are busy planning mass processions toward Israel ahead of the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem in May (…). Most Palestinians understand that these attempts will bring nothing but the loss of life. (…) Experience shows us that in these cynical “non-violent demonstrations,” people serve as pawns. (…) as a result of international terrorism, the Europeans and the Americans, and even the Arabs, have grown frustrated with Palestinian terrorism and lies, and as a result, their plight has been sidelined. U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital put an end to their illusions of establishing the capital of a fake Palestine there. (…) Hamas and the Palestinian Authority continue to fund terrorists, incite toward “sacrifice,” memorialize murderers and pay their families. The Palestinian doctrine strives for Israel’s destruction and is not dependent on any particular leader. (…) the Palestinians and Hezbollah have yet to change their anti-Semitic mindset. In light of the atrocities being perpetrated across the region, they should know: When we change our mindset, it will be more than the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Beirut and two buildings in Gaza that come tumbling down.
Dr. Reuven Berko, IHY, 21.03.18
The Palestinian way of war: Preparing for the `March of return´ in Gaza
(…) The Palestinians are (…) painfully aware that since the “Arab Spring,” its often bloody aftermath and Iranian- Saudi, Shi’ite-Sunni proxy wars, the threshold of killings and maiming they must attain to achieve the limelight has become appreciably higher. (…) This is why tens if not hundreds (…) consistently try to come up with ways to break the routine and create events and hopefully waves of violence (…). The latest in the staging and production line is the idea of a massive procession of 100,000 Gazans, with the objective of storming the Israeli security fence around Gaza to signify the return of Gaza’s refugees to their original homes. (…) In this event, the immediate objective is less to kill Israelis (…), but to get Gazans killed. Hopefully, from their point of view, Israel will resort to force to maintain the border with Hamas-controlled Gaza (…) and create the graphics and the funerals that will delegitimize Israel. (…) Hamas and other factions are hoping that this will lead to mass waves of violent protest and self-initiated suicide terrorist acts in the West Bank and among Israel’s Arab citizens. More hopefully, from the perspective of the Palestinian organizations, it will yield a wide-scale intifada. (…) The Palestinian organizations, from the PLO and PA downward, want the shedding of blood. Hopefully, for both Israeli and Palestinian lives, Israeli intentions will prevail.
Hillel Frisch, JPO, 24.03.18
It’s time for an Israeli initiative concerning Gaza
(…) The situation in Judea and Samaria is static and stable. (…) all we need to do is to pursue the current policy, which is based on economic and security cooperation. (…) In Gaza, things are different: There, an Israeli initiative is required. The situation (…) could deteriorate very soon, whether in the form of a military outburst (…) or in a more complicated scenario of a mass protest aimed at breaking through the fence and marching towards Israel. (…) Gaza has been a de-facto independent state for 11 years now. (…) Israel has no political, economic or territorial interests concerning Gaza, but only a security interest to maintain calm. While Hamas’ vision is to destroy Israel, when it comes to its short-term interests it will settle for maintaining its control of Gaza. For that purpose, it needs international legitimization and urgent financial aid—which is why there is no real contradiction between the Israeli interests and Hamas’ immediate interests. (…) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t interested in the strip’s reconstruction. He is interested in toppling the Hamas regime and has no compunction about doing so at the expense of the two million miserable people living there. He has no problem with another military conflict between Israel and Hamas either, as he sees it as a conflict between his two enemies. The conclusion from these three insights is clear: Israel must change its policy and acknowledge the fact that it has an independent state named Gaza on its border, whose government was elected in a relatively democratic manner. (…) Israel should encourage Western and Arab states to invest in Gaza’s reconstruction, together with the Hamas government rather than behind its back. The more power stations, desalination facilities or sewage development projects are built in Gaza, the more it will restrain the Hamas government. (…) We are better off adopting a proper carrot and stick policy vis-à-vis the independent state in Gaza than threatening it with sticks alone and hoping that Egypt or Abbas will deal with the strip’s reconstruction.
Giora Eiland, YED, 26.03.18
Gaza’s refugees have always haunted Israel. Now they’re on the march
(…) Nowhere was Israel’s fear of “marching refugees” more deeply grounded than in the Gaza Strip. (…) With two-third of its population now refugees, Gaza became one huge refugee camp. (…) In the seven decades that followed the 1948 war, the gates of Gaza were slammed shut on its displaced population. Its impoverished and overcrowding eight refugee camps would become permanent. The tragedy, it would transpire, was not the flight of refugees to Gaza, but not allowing them to return to their homes, a policy which Israel ruthlessly pursued. Hence the return marches would become an emblem of Nakba Day annual commemorations. (…) The refugee population of Gaza continued to haunt the Israeli leadership after 1967. (…) There is one thing worse than displacement, and that is not being able to leave. (…) The Gaza Strip as it stands today is an Israeli creation, whose tragic fate was sealed in the heat of war. Since then, the spectacle of “marching refugees” from Gaza has haunted the Israeli leadership. (…) The Marches of Return are a stark reminder that the crisis in Gaza is first and foremost a refugee crisis, one that is alive and still awaits justice, perhaps now more than ever. They are also a living reminder that what Israel feared seven decades ago has come upon it: The refugees are marching on.
Seraj Assi, HAA, 29.03.18
The blame lies with Hamas, not Israel
(…) A little over a decade ago Israel left the Gaza Strip, withdrawing from every last centimeter. It could’ve been a turning point. For the first time, some of the Palestinians faced the option of having full independence. (…) But in short time, Hamas took over the strip. (…) Hamas imposed the blockade by canceling all of the agreements. (…) Had Hamas invested everything it spent on tunnels in building neighborhoods, schools and hospitals instead, the situation in the strip would’ve been much better. (…) It’s time to protest against them. It’s time to pressure them so you could have more water, more electricity, more food and more welfare. (…) For almost 70 years now that the Arab world keeps you as “refugees.” (…) They had decades to rehabilitate the refugees, but they didn’t want to. (…) Allow us to remind you that you were not the only one in the world to suffer a “Nakba.” Tens of millions were uprooted from their places of birth after the First and Second World Wars. Close to a million Jews were also expelled or had to flee from Arab countries. (…) none of those tens of millions is a refugee anymore. Only you. Anyone with eyes knows the blame lies with your leaders. They didn’t want to solve the problem, and you’re paying the price. (…) Let’s not fight each other. (…) The entire world will help, if only you come with good will rather than hatred and incitement and delusions of the “right of return.” (…) Instead of another delusion and a “March of Return,” which is all about provocation and violence, let’s go on a shared march of peace, reconciliation and mutual recognition. (…) Please, accept our hand, which is offered in peace.
Ben-Dror Yemini, YED, 31.03.18
Right of return: The lie that kills
For seventy years, Arab leaders have been carrying on with the lie that Palestinian refugees and their many descendants will one day “return” to Israel which they insist on calling Palestine. (…) World leaders (…) do not have the courage to tell the Palestinians the truth. They’d rather avoid the issue by funding the UNRWA and pretending that somehow the issue will resolve itself. But right now (…) we see the consequence of that appeasement. We see that Hamas is able to convince or coerce thousands of Palestinians to march towards the border in an attempt to “return” to “Palestine”, and we see that Israel has no choice but to prevent them from crossing the border, resulting in a growing number of deaths and injuries. These Palestinian deaths and injuries are the responsibility of Hamas that is cynically leading its own people to their deaths in an attempt to gain media sympathy (…).
Fred Maroun, TOI, 31.03.18
In defense of the Wicked Son
(…) A Wicked Son – what does he say? (…) Due to a grammatical nuance, we learn that the wicked son’s question is exclusionary. He wishes to separate himself from the community of believers and therefore we are told to “blunt his teeth” (…), and inform him that if he had been in Egypt he would not have been redeemed. (…) The Wicked Son is a rebel. He is (…) unwilling to be told how to think. He (…) is not a herd animal. (…) He is suspicious of any new ideology. (…) He is relentless in his search for truth, even if it means he must search alone. Throughout time many dissenters have been condemned for their separateness. (…) The same spirit that now joins our seder — that now challenges our beliefs — has always challenged what was popular and the world is better for it. Their voices, though small, create an unceasing harmony. (…) They have been cast as heroes and villains, saints and sinners, warriors and writers; but in every epoch, there is a Wicked Son challenging popular opinion and demanding answers. (…) Perhaps this year we should neither chastise nor condemn, assault nor exclude — but listen to the Wicked Son. (…) Perhaps if we listen, we’ll discover, he isn’t so wicked after all.
David Eastman, TOI, 27.03.18
From freedom to purpose
(…) combating anti-Semitism and building and supporting the State of Israel helped us (…) sustain our collective identity. (…) political positions serve as the primary factor in shaping identity. (…) The dangerous consequence of this reality is deep divisiveness and acrimony within Israeli society (…) In Israel, the widespread belief is that Palestinian leadership and society are not reliable partners for peace. (…) In this political worldview, the occupation is converted into basically the new status quo. (…) This reality is simply our fate, and our survival is dependent on making peace with it. A significant minority of Israelis and the vast majority of North American Jews disagree vociferously. (…) They believe that while Israel is not solely at fault, as the most powerful nation in the Middle East, it has the ability and consequently the responsibility, to alter the status quo. (…) This is the current status quo within the Jewish community, and as with most political debates, there are no facts or counter-arguments which will sway one side to the other. (…) If we cannot unite around politics, is there somewhere else that we can find a common ground? One of the central lessons of our tradition, a lesson that transcends denominational and political divides, is that Judaism is not exhausted by the desire to survive. The Exodus from Egypt was never about our physical liberation alone. (…) The Jewish people were not defined by the pursuit of freedom, but the pursuit of purpose. We must come to terms with the fact that good people, intelligent people, moral people, can differ regarding the question of whether the Palestinians want peace, and whether a two-state solution is politically viable. The criminalization of each other as either nationalist-fascists, or self-destructive and self-hating Jews, needs to come to an end. (…) Politics divide us. Jewish faith and ritual divide us. Jewish moral principles and priorities which give form to our quest for purpose can unite us. (…) In our current political environment, two-statists have a monopoly on the concern for human rights, while one-statists have a monopoly on the concern for Jews’ right to life. This lunacy must come to an end. If all human life is created in the image of God, then not only does Jewish life count, but so too must Palestinian. We must stop politicizing our moral discourse, and we need a healthy bipartisan debate as to how best to implement our moral commitments within our current political reality. (…) We now need Jewish moral values to help heal our divides and unite us under a common purpose. (…)
Donniel Hartman, TOI, 28.03.18
Liberate your Passover
(…) Seder was not supposed to be at a table, but on beds or mattresses on the floor, reclining on a pillow to the left and eating with your right (…). Rich or poor, men and women of all walks of society – on this night we are all kings and queens, celebrating liberty from oppression. (…) Passover is about striking a balance between celebrating a tradition, while incorporating elements that in each day and age symbolize what liberty means to us. (…) Passover is a holiday of inclusion. We are asked to begin the Seder with our door open, inviting all who are hungry or would like to join. (…) With more displaced people now around the world than in the aftermath of World War II, this will be relevant anywhere, and has been made especially relevant in Israel now, with our government’s horrendous intention to forcibly deport its asylum seekers to countries in Africa where it is clear their life will be in danger. (…) Asylum seekers in Israel made the journey from their home countries (…) by foot, through the Sinai Desert. I can think of nothing more appropriate for Passover than inviting an asylum seeker to come and share the story of their life and journey. (…)
Yonatan Gher, JPO, 29.03.18
The wisdom of the simple son
(…) The late poet Natan Alterman (…) does not characterize the simple son as foolish or ignorant, but rather as someone enthralled and amazed by the wonderful miracles happening around him. Alterman’s simple son is actually the wisest son, the one who fills the necessary role of preventing us from becoming complacent or growing too accustomed to miracles, which all “wise” men tend to begin seeing as ordinary events. (…) Like every generation before and after us, we too must see ourselves as if we left Egypt. (…) It was actually in Egypt that the Jewish people were born. (…) Even though the Israelites did not truly wish to leave Egypt, God took us by the hair and pulled us out of Egypt forcibly, by miracles and wonders, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. (…) even divine miracles are worthless without acts of human virtue. (…) From the days (…) when we became a people, to the days of the pioneers, settlers and fighters of our generation, these are the people honored by Alterman as “the silver platter upon which the State of Israel was given.”
Nadav Shragai, IHY, 30.03.18
From Passover to Passover
(…) The experience of Passover is basically a front-loaded bell curve. We go from hysterical preparatory stress prior to bi’ur hametz (…) at which point it becomes festive and exciting. The seder, when it works, is wondrous. In recovery, we are a bit tired and grumpy perhaps, but still the aroma of the seder lingers. (…) Liberation requires grueling effort. And then there is celebration and euphoria. And then there is leisure and poetry. But then it becomes a grind, and we just want the comforts and demands of mindless normalcy. And we lose sight of the joy of freedom. And we start losing the energy and creativity it requires. (…) We know that things repeat. We know that Pesach will lead to Shavuot will lead to Sukkot will lead to another Pesach. (…)
Ori Weisberg, TOI, 30.03.18
Who will we play in this year’s Haggadah?
(…) it’s completely obvious that we’re no “Hebrews.” After all, there are no more “Hebrews.” They’ve been cancelled, erased, expunged. They were here once but they’ve disappeared. Only “Jews” remain (…) There is a nation, scattered among other nations, with many of its members living among us as well. Some are imprisoned but all are oppressed. (…) Precisely on the eve of this festival, which is “Land Day” on their calendar, they wish to follow in the footsteps of the Hebrews of the Haggadah. They want to form a long convoy, with their elderly, women and children (…) and head towards the fences that close them in. They hope in this way to finally break out of their prison and end their enslavement. Opposing them will be the army of the oppressors with its vehicles and cavalry, its drones and sharpshooters, doing everything possible to stop them. To put them back behind bars. To prevent their passage out of slavery to freedom. (…) There is no doubt that this year they are us. But if they are us, then who, damn it, are we? To our shame there is no eluding the conclusion that this year we’re the Egyptians. We are the oppressors. The enslavers. (…) We’ve already inflicted nearly all 10 plagues on them. A lot of blood, many frogs to swallow, lice in jail cells, locusts and vermin in the form of settlers falling on them from their nests that encircle their villages, slaughtering their sheep and destroying their crops, darkness (…) and death, which strikes the firstborn, the late-born, the sick, the passersby and the disabled, as well as women and children. (…)
Michael, HAA, 30.03.18
With ‘son of a dog’ remark, Abbas showed he’s finished with America. And Jerusalem rejoiced
(…) Abu Mazen has crossed the line of good taste. That’s not how you talk to the ambassador of the world’s greatest superpower, a good friend of the State of Israel. (…) Leaders can deceive, steal, destroy countries and abuse citizens, but only on the condition that their most horrendous acts are carried out politely (…) Abbas knows he won’t be make it through America’s protective wall. The last holes in it were completely sealed after Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. (…) If Abbas ever dreamed of some kind of legacy, or at least of a diplomatic achievement that could be attributed to him – that dream turned into a nightmare when, before his eyes, Hamas received full responsibility from Israel for running Gaza. (…) Abbas is finished with the U.S. All he can do now is to throw small stones at its windows and curse from afar. (…) After the “son of a dog” it’s clear there is no longer a Palestinian partner. How can you sit with someone who curses your father?
Zvi Bar’el, HAA, 21.03.18
Condemnation offers no solutions
(…) Abbas’ national home is (…) being destroyed and therefore he sees the American ambassador as part of the problem, not the solution. (…) The ambassador (…) became an active part of the internal Israeli debate. The message he wished to send was that the Palestinian Authority was infected by terrorism and encouraged it rather than condemning every instance of a Palestinian terrorist attacking an Israeli, as it should. What the ambassador said was ignorant at best and hypocritical at worst. (…) In rare cases when a Palestinian was killed by Israelis without justification (…), Israel condemned the actions but did not not apologize as a state. The death of Palestinians is seen as an unfortunate necessity. (…) We are acting in defense while they murder. (…) what will end the hostile acts is not condemnation alone but rather the will to find a solution to the endless violence that erupts on both sides. We cannot complain to Abbas. There is no symmetry of violence, so the honorable American ambassador should not expect a symmetry of condemnations.
Ram Cohen, IHY, 26.03.18
No illusions over Zandberg’s costly mistake
(…) I don’t envy Zandberg and what she’s been through this past week, after it was discovered that she was advised by Klughaft – and lied about it. (…) The concern is that Meretz will now be led by a lame duck. That’s not a good situation for any party, but for Meretz it’s an existential danger. (…) Concerns over Zandberg continuing as party chairwoman is not purism but realpolitik. (…) Meretz is a small party that suffers from a host of almost chronic weaknesses and limitations, but enjoys one very clear advantage. (…) You know what you’re getting. Meretz has clear and consistent qualities like integrity, clean behavior and ideological purity. (…) Many of its members feel bruised, defeated and sometimes persecuted. (…) The only political fuel that keeps them going is their belief in the justice of their cause and the team spirit (…). Meretz doesn’t have any votes to lose. It is likely to fall short of the electoral threshold, bringing destruction on itself and causing a disaster for the entire liberal-democratic camp. If Zandberg really loves Meretz and fears for the future of the left, she must regain the trust of party members, or resign.
Uri Misgav, HAA, 29.03.18
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: April 2018
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel