Can Gantz be so foolish as to bring the Deal for a Knesset vote now?

Israeli generals make terrible Prime Ministers. Name just a one who left behind a legacy of greater security. And now Israel must contemplate the terrible price it will pay if this past year’s electoral mess leaves Benny Gantz ultimately in charge.

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer

OpEds Blue and White leadership: Ya'alon, Lapid, Gantz
Blue and White leadership: Ya'alon, Lapid, Gantz
צילום: PR

All of Israel should be absolutely stupefied with stupefying stupor that Benny Gantz can be so egregious as to announce that he will bring the Trump “Deal of the Century” for a vote of approval next week in the Knesset.

Gantz’s absolutely naïve announcement underscores why, as I have written in these columns for years, Israel must learn the painful lesson from repeatedly sabotaging herself by electing former generals to positions of national leadership. There is something about Israeli generals that sees them incapable of transitioning sensibly from the proactive nature of leading the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to serving the nation in the more pensive, contemplative, and perspicacious role of political leadership.

Do not misunderstand. No country — not Israel, not America, nowhere — benefits from having governmental leaders who are so political and cautious that they lack greatness or courage to act with daring.  The greatness of a President Donald Trump or a Ronald Reagan, of a Menachem Begin in his first months as Prime Minister or a Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly when he was Israel’s Finance Minister, were critical moments of historic leadership that pulled Israel and America out of terrible periods of decay and downward spirals.  But politicians must be politic.  They cannot act like IDF generals who wake up one morning and decide to launch a sudden surprise ground attack with the words “Acharai! — Follow me!”

These IDF generals who have become Prime Minister have sabotaged Israel repeatedly with their bluster and political myopia, again and again misapplying their IDF skills and training to lead Israel politically to catastrophe.  Yitzchak Rabin signed Oslo with a blindness as to what he was walking into and as to how Arafat was playing him like a fiddle.  Rabin thought he is the great general who makes the final decisions, the charismatic leader who just says “Follow me!” and then assuredly has a long line of soldiers behind him marching in step to his every command.  Maybe that worked for him when he led his men to sink the Altalena and murder Irgun fighters. Eight men fighting under him who refused to fire on the Altalena were court-martialed. But he could not court-martial Yasser Arafat after Oslo. Rabin gave up the ship, and Israel has paid that price for more than a quarter century.

Likewise with other IDF generals who, in accord with the Peter Principle, rose to their levels of incompetence. Ehud Barak — “Mr. Security” — led Israel right smack into an Intifada that he could not control.  On his watch, one outrage after another occurred — the burning of Kever Yosef in Shechem, the Incident of the Bloody Hands Lynching in Ramallah, virtually daily outrages — and he blustered daily threats with no idea how to stop it all. Similarly he unilaterally pulled Israel out of South Lebanon without any vision or foresight that he was leaving behind a vacuum that would become Hezbollah’s terror base, a country-within-a-country, with which Israel’s new IDF leaders wrestle in planning for a possibly terrible future conflict. 

General Ariel Sharon, too, left behind disaster.  The same IDF “Bulldozer” who once had achieved so much in Israel’s wars of the 1950s, 1967, and his miraculous 1973 maneuver, proved himself another Legacy Failure as Prime Minister, unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza and assuring, with the same impetuosity and lack of vision as Barak, that Gaza’s vacuum would emerge as yet another terror country, filled by Hamas and its cousin Islamic Jihad.

Israeli generals make terrible Prime Ministers. Name just a single one who left behind a legacy of greater security. And now Israel must contemplate the terrible price it will pay if it accommodates this past year’s electoral mess with Benny Gantz ultimately in charge.

A few days ago I wrote here on the Trump “Deal of the Century.” That plan includes some very good, even wonderful, things — but also the perilous deal-killer of a “Palestine” country.  I wrote that it opens the door in the short range for Israel immediately to reunify (“annex”) the Jordan Valley and all Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria with the rest of the State of Israel.  Trump’s Deal of the Century essentially “green lights” reunification if Israel acts quickly.

To race it for a rapid Knesset vote would require half the Knesset to vote against it and to torpedo it before Israel even extends sovereignty under the Plan. Why the rush to vote in the Knesset when Israel easily can leave it to the “Palestinians” to torpedo it? 
On top of that, America will be focused for at least another few days on a pointless Trump impeachment that ultimately is going to be dismissed. To the degree that one may wish to quibble over semantics, Israel can delay a bit before “annexing” and in the meantime simply “extend Israeli law” to all the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. For all intents and purposes, that is basically the same thing. If Ginot Shomron, Kiryat Arba and Jewish Hevron, and all other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria come under Israeli law, that essentially constitutes the extension of sovereignty. This is the moment, and G-d has placed the moment in Israel’s lap to act.

But — for goodness sakes! — that does not mean that Trump’s plan should be presented now to the Knesset for a vote! What a lame-brained proposal that is!  What kind of fool would act so impetuously and do something so utterly inept?  Right now, all over America the focus is that America’s peace-loving ally, Israel, supports and accepts the plan’s basic contours while the “Palestinians” — and their Leftist-Jew allies (JStreet, etc.) and their allies (Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, etc.) —  are proving themselves as intransigent as ever, rejecting everything outright.  That makes this moment perfect for Israel to extend the rule of law over all the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. But it also makes this the worst possible moment to “jump the gun” and to vote on approving the Trump Plan in the Knesset.

A Knesset vote on the plan is not necessary because the “Palestinians” have not yet agreed even to consider the Plan. Hamas has rejected it in Gaza. Abu Mazen (“Mahmoud Abbas”) has rejected it in his nest in Judea and Samaria. To race it for a rapid Knesset vote would require half the Knesset to vote against it and to torpedo it before Israel even extends sovereignty under the Plan. Why the rush to vote in the Knesset when Israel easily can leave it to the “Palestinians” to torpedo it?  And why, on the other hand, would any sane Israeli unnecessarily cast a vote in the Knesset to accept a “Palestine” country in 70 percent of Judea and Samaria? Why the urgency? What is the rush?

When Benny Gantz blustered forth that he now will race to present the Trump Plan to the Knesset promptly for a vote, he revealed and exposed yet again why he utterly is unprepared to lead Israel politically. He is doing what Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon did — blustering forward, with no contemplation of the forthcoming ramifications, just yelling “Acharai! Follow me!”  No seichel — no common sense. Gantz belongs in a war college. He is utterly not ready for prime time. The proper step for Israel right now is to extend Israeli rule everywhere the Trump Plan endorses it, to thank Trump for his understanding, and then to wait for the “Palestinians” to endorse the Plan. 

The “Deal of the Century” requires the “Palestinians” to implement all civil liberties, freedoms of speech and press, to disarm Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and all of the “Palestine Authority”; to withdraw all complaints against Israel in world bodies from the UN to the ICC, to return all Israeli prisoners and the remains of all Israelis killed in their territories, to stop all corruption, to end “Pay for Slay,” to stop all anti-Israel incitement among their population, and to start implementing education programs for all their children to live harmoniously alongside Israel in fraternity.  Let them vote to accept the Plan before Israelis bring the Plan for a vote in the Knesset. Do you see why? Isn’t this obvious?

More than any other blunder Gantz has committed in any of the past year’s three election campaigns, this latest outright blunder reflects why he is not suited to be Prime Minister. It reminds all of how he raced to the media microphones to declare himself the elected Prime Minister after the first of the three elections, unable to exercise the most basic politic discretion to wait prudently until all the votes were counted.  This is his fatal flaw, and it is now exposed yet again. Let it remain his own fatal flaw and not a fatal flaw that injures all of Israel.