Badges for dreamers
Zalmi UnsdorferA Religious Zionist who advocates for Israel as a writer, TV & panel commentator....
And so Shimon Peres gets yet another award - this time the US Congressional Gold Medal - to add to his collection as he leaves office as Israel’s president.
I very much doubt there will be similar accolades for his successor Ruvy Rivlin, no matter what achievements may mark his term of office.
Rivlin is a hawk.
And being a hawk in Israel politics means being a realist.
In that respect he is the antithesis of Peres who is a dreamer. And a compulsive one at that.
Peres’ trophy book, The New Middle East, is a pure fantasy of peace in the world’s most unsettled region. Nothing wrong with that. If you don’t like the book, you can throw it away.
But when this fantasy got translated into his Oslo Accords, it became about real lives, not paper pages and binding. Hundreds of Israelis paid for Peres' dreams with their lives and hundreds more suffered life-changing injuries from the terrorism unleashed by false trust with reckless territorial and security concessions.
If there is one medal that Shimon Peres does deserve, it is for getting Israel its nuclear weapons capability. That was the act of a realist and - by reference to what's happening in the region today – the act of a true visionary.
(Curious that Peres, the ‘father’ of Dimona, was so conspicuously absent for its 50th anniversary celebration earlier this year.)
It’s not clear what turned Peres from a realist into a dreamer. Perhaps it was because there are no medals for realists, but no end of foreign accolades for dreamers who might yet help in the undoing of the mistake they call Israel. Just as there are unlimited funds available for NGOs seeking to undermine the Jewish state, there is no shortage of political support and plaudits for Israelis who are so keen to lay down their arms and trust the enemy to do the same.
The Arab celebrants of this month’s kidnapping, and the unrepentant kin of its prime suspects, prove again that the only “New Middle East” that Peres’ peace partners envisage, is one without a Jew in sight.
By coincidence another Jew died this week.
But he died peacefully, in America, and at the grand old age of 98.
In his most famous Wild West film role, Eli Wallach immortalized words which seem very apt for the worst of these foreign prizegivers:
“Badges? Badges?? We don’t need your stinking badges!”