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Saturday, May 25, 2013

It Takes Guts To Be A Leader

On Shabbat I read a speech by Tzachi Hanegbi in the Jerusalem Post, Can Israel rely on the US?   It was originally presented at  Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  I found some of it disturbing.  He had no problem mentioning what he considers his mother's mistake.

In November 1947, 10 years before I was born, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of the creation of the State of Israel. Tens of thousands of Jews took to the streets in spontaneous celebration, overwhelmed with joy.
Not everyone took part in this outpouring of bliss. My mother, then 22, was one of the daring fighters in the underground movement who opposed the British rule.
Yet, on the eve of the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in our ancient homeland, she wrote this in her autobiography: “From a rooftop in downtown Tel Aviv, I watched the crowd with an empty heart. The United Nations approved a Jewish state without Jerusalem, without Hebron and Bethlehem, without Judea and Samaria... I could not share in the joy of the crowds below... I felt only the infinite grief of a slaughtered dream....”
In historical perspective, those who celebrated were justified. My mother – and others – would have preferred to wait until their vision of Greater Israel could be fully attained. They did not appreciate the advantage of realpolitik over lofty dreams. Leaders must come to terms with imperfect realities. Years may pass before the wisdom and foresight of their decisions become apparent.

But although later in the article he said that Disengagement had made it easier for the Arab terrorists to attack Israel, he didn't apologize for his role in it.  During the time leading to Disengagement Tzachi and many other Israelis in all walks of life took the easy way.  They didn't risk their jobs, their cabinet positions, their comfort to stop that terrible mistake from happening.  At best they claimed that they opposed Disengagement, but they didn't "shake the boat." They whispered when we needed shouting and banging!
Our history, however, has also proved that such pragmatism can be ill founded. The consequences of the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and from the Gaza Strip in 2005, illustrate this. Hezbollah turned South Lebanon into a fundamentalist Iranian proxy.
Hamas turned Gaza into a terrorist launching pad, from which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at innocent civilians.

I wrote quite a lot about the fact that he had no problem staying in the Sharon government during Disengagement and then was among those who deserted the Likud and founded Kadima.
As individuals the majority of Israelis, including soldiers and policemen don’t want Disengagement to take place. The majority, in their hearts, wants Jews to have the freedom to live in all of Eretz Yisrael. The majority knows, in their hearts and minds that Disengagement endangers the entire country and each of them individually, whether they live in Ma’ale Adumim or Ramat Gan or Ramat HaGolan or Beer Sheva.
Ordinary Israelis look at politicians like Tzachi Hanegbi and Limor Livnat who claim to oppose Disengagement but remain in the cabinet, unwilling to give up their cushy jobs, and they can understand their dilemmas. I look at these people as weak and pathetic hypocrites. I have no respect for them. Bibi Netanyahu’s late resignation from the cabinet is too late to buy my respect.
I've known Tzachi for many years.  He is Geula Cohen's son, and Geula is like family for us.  it breaks my heart that her intelligent, talented son has turned to the Left.  He calls it "pragmatism."  I call his ideology that of an opportunist. 

Tzachi's not a leader.  A true leader has guts, takes risks for what he/she believes in.  A leader shows passion when talking about his/her beliefs.  That's the key element in charisma.  Unfortunately there are some amoral/immoral people with that sort of power to lead.

I consider myself the pragmatic one, and I'm as far to the Right as his mother is, if not further.  Pragmatists look at the facts, at history; they don't keep trying the same failed "experiments."  Life was a lot more peaceful here before they started all of these "peace" agreements.  We Israelis have ended up looking weak, which encourages the Arabs to attack, both as terrorists and in their so-called "negotiation tactics."

Again Hanegbi is sitting in a government coalition with MKs and ministers who aim to destroy Jewish homes in the Land of Israel.
Welfare minister: Dismantle isolated settlements now
Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid echoed Cohen's opinion about dismantling settlements on Tuesday when he said  at his party's faction meeting that he thought it was  “heartbreaking” that tens of thousands of Jews would have to be removed from their homes in “remote settlements.”
Why haven't we seen some leadership stopping them? Where are our leaders?  Is it that nobody has the necessary guts?

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