The Security Ticket: A Guaranteed Winner

Myths die hard 'round these parts. But the legend of the battle-weary Israelis, who would rather rest in peace than fight life's battles, bit the dust this Purim.

Ellen W. Horowitz

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Arutz 7
"We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies." -- Ehud Olmert in a June 2005 address to the Israel Policy Forum in New York.

Myths die hard 'round these parts. But the legend of the battle-weary Israelis, who would rather rest in peace than fight life's battles, bit the dust this Purim.

Whether or not the successful raid on Jericho's prison compound was coordinated with the US and Britain, whether it was a calculated political maneuver by a very nervous Mr. Olmert, or whether it was in direct response to the Palestinian Authority's threat to release the assassins of an Israeli member of parliament - it doesn't much matter. What does count is that a very overdue and necessary job got done.

Ehud Olmert may be basking in the temporary glory of a military victory - which rightfully belongs to the Israeli Defense Forces - and perhaps he's found fleeting comfort in garnering a few more seats in Israel's elusive electoral polls. But had Rehavam Ze'evi's killers gone free due to a lack of action on Olmert's part, or had the IDF failed in its mission, it's unlikely that Kadima and its un-elected leader would have made a footnote in the history books.

Olmert had no choice, because the Israeli electorate is not that stupid. Despite all of the rhetoric, when push comes to shove, number one on the Kadima list knows full well that security has always been the top concern for Israelis. A sure vote-getter.

Number two on the Kadima list knows it, too. And Shimon Peres also knows that while a passive and submissive stance on Israel's part does secure a vote of confidence from the international community, the peace ticket has never garnered the popular vote at home.

Which is why on the eve of elections back in April of 1996, after three consecutive suicide bombings had rocked central Israel, followed by relentless border attacks by Hizbullah, Acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres found his substantial lead in the polls being whittled away by Benjamin Netanyahu. So, with no other choice available to him, Mr. Peace made a go at becoming Mr. Security, and operation Grapes of Wrath was launched on the Lebanese border.

An always off-target Peres once again missed the mark. IDF gunners shelled a UNIFIL compound in response to Hizbullah gunfire coming from that direction. It seems that, in addition to the terrorists, 800 Lebanese civilians were taking cover in the compound. One hundred were killed and 300 were wounded in an incident that will most likely not take up a large chapter in the memoirs of Shimon Peres.

For the record, Netanyahu inherited a chaotic security situation and within weeks had it under control, and managed to reduce terror and keep it at its pre-1993 levels throughout his three-year term in office.

The average Israeli cherishes their personal security so much that Israel's so-called "peace camp" usually finds itself in the rather awkward, hypocritical and deceptive position of having to recruit and package military men as their candidates in a bid to garner the popular vote. The public bought the goods when it came to Labor hawk and former General Yitzchak Rabin, and again with former Chief of Staff and commando Ehud Barak. But they became a lot more wary by the time Major General Amram Mitzna was dusted-off and presented for public consumption. And seeing as Israelis are rather unimpressed with former Captain Amir Peretz, it appears that the peace camp has run-out of fighting men. They're now counting on the ghost of comatose war hero, Ariel Sharon, to pull off this election. These are desperate times, indeed.

We, the public, have twice had the opportunity to preview Ehud Olmert in action. This week, he was compelled to take a risk. And thanks to G-d and Israel's fine fighting forces, he made the right choice. Several weeks ago, the test was more telling. The deliberate and calculated decision to use Israel's crack security forces in a brutal operation against Israeli youth in Amona should tell you where Mr. Olmert's heart is - and it's not focused on securing this nation for us and our children.

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." -- Ayn Rand