The Bullet's in the Chamber

One need not be a veteran intelligence analyst to realize that the Israel of 2006 isn't the Israel of the past. Much has changed.

David Wilder, Hevron

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
Almost everyone I speak to asks the same question: What, or who, is next?

Ehud Olmert's gone. Whether indicted by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on any of the corruption charges being investigated, or expelled from office as a result of the findings of any of the committees investigating the failures of the Lebanese war, or perhaps being on the losing end of the next Israeli elections, which will probably occur in the very near future. Or any other possibility that can be thought of. Olmert's gone. He has to go.

Olmert's removal from office, together with those surrounding him: Amir Peretz, Tzippy Livni, Dan Halutz, and a few others, is a case of life or death. The brains of the country are petrified at the thought of the current regime running Israel when, say, Syria attacks, or Iran starts flinging bombs at us, or should a few of our neighbors get together and decide to replay 1973. It is preferable not to let the possible results escape our lips. But it's no secret. Totally irresponsible, inexperienced, political crooks running the country is a sure recipe for disaster.

According to Debka (sometimes straight-on and other times a little off) in Hebrew (only partially accessible in English), a very recent evaluation by the American government of Israel and the present administration led to the conclusion that the State of Israel is in bad shape. The article's final line, quoting President George Bush: "Those Israelis, they're not what we thought." (It doesn't make any difference if he really said it or not - it's the truth.)

One need not be a veteran intelligence analyst to realize that the Israel of 2006 isn't the Israel of the past. Much has changed. Any political leadership willing and able to tear its own citizens from their homes, basically forsaking them, only to witness the catastrophic results in the shape of missiles flying from the very land they abandoned, yet still proclaiming the necessity to continue with further expulsion and abandonment, is real bad news. Despite the continued Kassam attacks, the current prime minister planned on implementing just that, G-d forbid.

For the time being, perhaps, the priorities have changed, but not the principles behind them. Eretz Yisrael is still profane; only secularity is holy.

That's when the so-called 'big question' comes into play. Once Olmert goes, who's next. Who is the next Mashiach (Messiah)?

Years ago, we thought it would be Menachem Begin. A big disappointment. Then, after the advent of Olso-Rabin-Peres, we all sang and danced upon Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu's victory. Total euphoria; quickly doused. A modern-day Shabtai Tzvi, the false Messiah at his best. And again, not yet learning, after the Barak (Ehud) calamity, we drew a deep breath of relief at the election of Arik Sharon. That deep breath was nearly our last. His stranglehold left us down and almost out.

And now, we are on the verge of replaying the tape. Who is this year's hero?

I suppose there are any number of answers to the question. There are also various levels of answers: theoretical and practical.

On the theoretical level, personally, I would definitely prefer an observantly religious Jew taking the reins; a person with fear of G-d, and not fear of Bush, Kofi Annan, the European Union, etc. However, at the moment, the chances of that happening within the framework of the present form of Israeli government seem to be minuscule, if it is at all possible.

So, who do we want to see in the prime minister's office? Assuming that the choice falls between a candidate from the Likud, Labor, and (ugh) Kadima again, personally, the only person I could probably trust is Rubi Rivlin. But it doesn't look like he has too much of a chance to take control of the Likud. He might make it to the President's Home in Jerusalem, which is a nice honor, but politically, not worth much more.

Realistically speaking, it looks like we're going to get Bibi back again. This time, without the celebrations. We know what we're getting.

A few years ago, I asked someone close to Netanyahu if he was sorry about Wye - the fateful accords he agreed to sign, which ultimately cost him his job. The answer: Yes, Bibi's sorry, but not for the right reason. He's sorry about Wye because it cost him his government, but he still doesn't realize that Eretz Yisrael isn't to be toyed with.

It doesn't look like Bibi's changed. His positions concerning Gush Katif certainly don't point to deep repentance. His position concerning unilateral concessions seems to be clear, but cutting up Eretz Yisrael in a negotiated 'piece agreement' would be acceptable.

So, what do we do?

First, pray. Pray that G-d should bring us the real Mashiach before the next elections. (If he arrived today, we wouldn't object.)

And if G-d doesn't see it our way? We certainly don't have to vote for Netanyahu. But, should he be elected, the pressure has to be exerted even before he takes the oath of office.

What pressure? It has to be 100% clear that any Israeli leader who plays around with Eretz Yisrael, who even thinks that he has a mandate to dismantle our homeland, will, quite simply, fall; he will be removed from office at the first available moment.

We may have to play out the scenario again and again, with one prime minister after another, until one of them finally wakes up. Eventually, it will happen. It's not an optimal plan of action, but we may not have any choice.

What is the alternative? We've experienced that for the past couple of months, leaving us with three POWs, 156 dead and I don't know how many wounded. And this is the least of it. For, as Debka reported, accuracy has nothing to do with the concept that Israel's credibility is quickly running down the drain. And in practical terms, our survival is dependent on that credibility, on our enemies understanding that they don't have a chance against us. Should our deterrent image tinge, should the vision of Israel as a supreme, undefeated opponent be quashed, we are in big trouble. And that's what is starting to happen. It doesn't mean that we will lose the big war, but the price we may have to pay to win is excruciatingly unthinkable.

In short, we have to get our act together real fast. Because at the moment, with Olmert and Co. running the show, I get the feeling that we're playing a Middle East version of Russian roulette. And I'll tell you a secret: I cheated and peeked - the bullet's in the next chamber.