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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Sivan 15, 5767, 6/1/2007

      Wanted: New Leadership


      The fact that Israel is desperately in need of some leadership is hardly open to doubt, as the recent wave of corruption scandals and the findings of the Winograd Commission made clear.

      But if there is still anyone out there who thinks that the Jewish state is currently being led by intelligent and thoughtful people, consider the following news item.

      This morning, Israel Radio reported that the Speaker of the Knesset, Dalia Itzik, has a new proposal to bring about an end to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza - she suggests bringing in a military force belonging to the Arab League, and stationing them in the area.

      When I heard this on the radio, I of course went to check my calendar to see if perhaps this is some sort of Middle Eastern version of an April Fool's Day ruse.

      But it isn't. Ms. Itzik is absolutely serious. It doesn't seem to have occurred to her that inviting a large, well-armed Arab military force into Gaza might pose a threat to Israel and its interests, nor does she seem to have considered the fact that Arab League troops are unlikely to risk their lives in order to prevent their fellow Palestinian Arabs from assaulting the Jewish state.

      Furthermore, as anyone with even a remote understanding of the region is aware, the Arab League continues to maintain an official economic and trade boycott of the Jewish state, with the aim of damaging the country and denying its legitimacy. Why, then, Ms. Itzik would think it wise to station their troops along Israel's borders is anyone's guess.

      If Dalia Itzik's proposal is at all indicative of the kind of strategic thinking that guides our present leadership, then it is no wonder that Israel finds itself in its current predicament.