In a nice long feature interview in The Jerusalem Post, Natan Sharansky said a lot, and one statement is extremely correct:
Unfortunately, not even he follows it.
Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky is a modern Jewish icon. His history is legendary. A Soviet Jewish refusenik in the 1970's, he had already attracted international attention before his arrest. He's one of those my husband met when visiting refuseniks in the USSR in late 1976. The mantra "Our fame will keep us out of jail," proved inaccurate, and Sharansky was one of those arrested soon after the visit.
After his arrest, his lovely wife, Avital, became an international celebrity while leading protests to achieve his release. During that difficult time, she became an Orthodox Torah observant Jew, which gave fuel to the gossips after his release that their marriage couldn't last. Twenty years after his release from Soviet jail, they and their two young daughters show the world a strong family unit.
Sharansky is a very well-respected (and well-paid) lecturer and writer about international politics and government. World leaders, politicians, diplomats and the media trust and believe him and quote him extensively. Personally, I find a serious inconsistency in what he says, and this interview captures it perfectly!
My personal understanding of the world fits the quotation the Jerusalem Post used as the title of the article. I see myself as a strict pragmatist, a realist. There are times when I've described myself as "sandwiched between a CPA and a lawyer," since my father is a CPA and one of my daughters is a lawyer. I can easily analyze things into concise "numbers," and I also have an extremely strong sensitivity for "justice."
I don't believe that people can easily (if at all) change their basic value system. To do so is long and drawn out. If you're referring to individuals, it can take a life-time if ever, but if you're talking of a society, it will take generations.
That's why I consider it a miss-guided mistake for Americans to have taken over Iraq and superficially imposed a "democratic" government. The people aren't ready for it, and the terrorism there will only get worse, until America and its allies flee, like from Vietnam.
Closer to home, I consider all of Israel's "peace moves" to be mistakes, because as Sharansky says:
'A dream is not a strategy'
The Arabs are continuing to educate their children to hate us and destroy us. Superficial "stock phrases" are not signs of friendliness. They don't respect us. They consider us weak and laughable.
I wish that a person of such stature, as Sharansky, wouldn't say:
"I have no doubt that in 10 years, Israel will be the country where a majority of Jews live, with a vibrant economy and democracy. I also believe that it will no longer be the only democracy in the Middle East."
He's talking "dream," not reality. And what's this worship of "democracy?" Dictators can be elected. Hitler came to power via democratic means. A democratically elected government can vote to destroy another country.
There is a very dangerous naivete in his reasoning and statements.
Our growth and survival are dependent on being realistic and accepting that we have no true allies and that it will take many generations for the neighboring Arabs to accept us. The stronger we are the more quickly it will go. They respect strength. Our weakness, being nice, is causing their attacks.
We must stop looking around us waiting for the world's approval. We must ignore world demands. We must shed that "galut" (diaspora) thinking.
We must act like a truly independent country which has every right in the world to exist in our Land. We must develop our Land, settle it proudly. Only that will bring lasting peace!
Chodesh Tov and Shavua Tov