From Egypt to Turkey to Iran to the international Left to the Obama administration, Israel faces a mix of military and political challenges that threaten its very existence on multiple levels. To meet these challenges, it is vital for the government and people of Israel to stand strong, unified and determined. The approaching storm will test our resilience as we have never been tested before.
Unfortunately, even if the government is competent, and even if the nation stands strong, there is reason to fear that Israel will fail to successfully withstand the dangers gathering against it. Unelected, unrepresentative and irresponsible senior government officials are liable to take actions that undermine the government’s ability to protect the country and weaken the public’s morale and unity of purpose.
Over the past week, we received two reminders of how dire the situation is. The first reminder relates to institutional impediments to the government’s freedom of action in preventing Iran from fielding a nuclear arsenal.
Since the beginning of his first term as prime minister 15 years ago, Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently warned that the greatest dangers Israel faces stem from the forces of global jihad generally and the Iranian regime and its nuclear program specifically. After taking office for the second time in 2009, Netanyahu made blocking Iran’s rise to nuclear power his top priority. He ordered the heads of the Mossad and the IDF to prepare plans to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.
Last Friday, Haaretz reported that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi refused to obey his order. Rather than prepare strike plans, Dagan and Ashkenazi warned that such a strike would foment a regional war. That is, rather than do their jobs, they made excuses for failing to fulfill their duty to obey Israel’s elected leadership.
Not wanting to take them on directly, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to wait them out. Dagan and Ashkenazi were both set to finish their terms at the beginning of the year, and Netanyahu and Barak figured they could replace them with commanders who would abide by the government’s wishes. Specifically, Barak and Netanyahu believed that by replacing Ashkenazi with his deputy Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, they would have a military leader willing and able to take on the central challenge of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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