In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 10, 2007 / 22 Iyar 5767

Israel's deadly stupor

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert had been as adroit and resolute in defending his nation from its enemies as he is in defending his grip on power, Hezbollah today would be a disgraced relic of its former self, while Olmert would be esteemed from Dan to Beersheba. Instead, the terrorist organization is hailed throughout the Arab world for its attack on Israel last summer, while Olmert — despite surviving no-confidence motions in the Knesset on Monday — is so reviled by his countrymen that according to the latest poll, 0 percent of Israelis — that is not a misprint — would vote for him today.

The poll follows the release of the interim report of the Winograd Commission, a blue-ribbon panel appointed last September to investigate Israel's failings in its second Lebanon War. The report is scathing. It documents in damning detail the bungling, the willful blindness, and the almost criminal ill-preparedness that pervaded the highest levels of Israel's government during the war and the years leading up to it.

The commission blasts Olmert for making rash and uninformed decisions, and pronounces him guilty of "a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility, and prudence." It is equally critical of the inept defense minister, Amir Peretz, whose incompetence crippled Israel's ability to defend itself from Hezbollah's attacks, and of former military chief of staff Dan Halutz, who never warned his clueless superiors that the armed forces were unprepared for a ground offensive in southern Lebanon.

For anyone used to associating Israel with military brilliance and nerve, the Winograd report makes excruciating reading.

The immediate trigger for the war was Hezbollah's July 12 incursion across the Lebanon-Israel border, in which three soldiers were killed and two others kidnapped. But Hezbollah had been openly preparing for war for six years, ever since Israel's unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon in May 2000. Making no attempt to disguise its intentions, Hezbollah swept into the territory Israel had abandoned, creating a network of fortified bunkers and launch sites and deploying thousands of missiles and rockets along the border. All the while Israel looked on, doing nothing about the mounting threat.

"Every alarm bell should have been ringing," Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz writes. "But many of the warning systems had, literally or figuratively, long since been disconnected. And those who did try to stress the unmistakable imminent dangers were often ignored."

How could Israel have been so complacent? What accounts for such lethargy in the face of a deadly menace that was growing more dangerous by the day?

The answer, says the Winograd Commission, is that too many of "the political and military elites in Israel have reached the conclusion that Israel is beyond the era of wars." Unlike their forebears, who understood that the Jewish state would never have peace until its enemies decided to lay down their arms, today's Israeli leadership imagines that it can achieve peace by means of restraint and retreat.

"Since Israel did not intend to initiate a war," the report concludes, senior officials decided that Israel "did not need to be prepared for 'real' war." And that being the case, "there was also no urgent need to update in a systematic and sophisticated way Israel's overall security strategy and to consider how to mobilize . . . all its resources — political, economic, social, military, spiritual, cultural, and scientific — to address the totality of the challenges it faces."

Fed up with fighting, aching to live normally, Israelis lulled themselves into a stupor. They shook hands with Yasser Arafat and ran away from Lebanon and expelled the Jews from Gaza. They blamed themselves for their enemies' hatred and turned the other cheek to suicide bombings and Kassam rocket attacks. They tried to be Athens, one Israeli commentator wrote last year. But to survive in the Middle East, even Athens must sometimes act like Sparta.

"We are tired of fighting," Olmert moaned in a 2005 speech. "We are tired of defeating our enemies." Unfortunately, those who grow tired of defeating their enemies generally end up being defeated by them.

As America's beleaguered ally searches for new leadership, one voice worth heeding is that of Hebrew University game theorist Robert Aumann, a Nobel laureate in economics.

"We are like a mountain climber who gets caught in a snowstorm," Aumann said at this year's Herzliya Conference in January. "He is cold and tired, and he wants to sleep. If he falls asleep, he will freeze to death. We are in terminal danger because we are tired. I will allow myself to say a few unpopular, unfashionable words: Our panicked lunging for peace is working against us. It brings us farther away from peace, and endangers our very existence.

"Roadmaps, capitulation, gestures, disengagements, convergences, deportations, and so forth do not bring peace. On the contrary, they bring war, just as we saw last summer."

With enemies like Hezbollah, weariness is a luxury Israel cannot afford. And lest we forget, Hezbollah is our enemy too.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe