While Israel has been rightly, although unsuccessfully, opposing the rise of the new Persian Empire, we have been singularly neglectful of taking the most important step to counter the reality of that frightening prospect.
Besides validating murderous intent, the Iran deal will put, by most estimates, some $150 billion into the Mullahs’ pockets. If even only half of that money (and few think it will be that little) is devoted to the pursuit of Iran’s nuclear and terror-supporting objectives, that is an enormous infusion of capital into the war of terror.
What are those on the other side going to do about it? How do we counter such an enormous investment in imperialistic ambition? Happily, one answer for little Israel lay in the seemingly miraculous discovery of huge gas reserves off its coast.
In a startling example of where the good has become the enemy of the perfect, all attempts at fashioning a workable arrangement have been held hostage to a neo-Populist, Socialist and wildly irresponsible agenda
Harnessed expeditiously, such reserves promised to provide the State of Israel with tens of billions of dollars that, like it or not, could be used to counter the Iranian threat.
But not only have we not stepped up to meet the growing global threat by seeing the gas reserves as a national urgency, we have allowed the most sanctimonious and least public minded elements to control the debate, and to effectively neuter the entire opportunity.
It is beyond ironic that those who preen about as defenders of the People, have put those self same People at great risk by standing in the way of a workable arrangement designed to exploit as quickly as possible this astounding opportunity.
In a startling example of where the good has become the enemy of the perfect, all attempts at fashioning a workable arrangement have been held hostage to a neo-Populist, Socialist and wildly irresponsible agenda. This agenda has been directed by a group of politicians whose sole common ground might be a disdain for the true needs of society in the name of self-serving posturing.
Rather than declaring victory by seeing that the deal has been “improved” for the People, this group is intent on strangling the golden goose in the name of ideological purity.
Unfortunately, it is the rest of us who will pay the price for this sanctimony, and the price will be a steep one indeed.
Finding a workable gas deal now stands as a new national emergency, to be implemented at all costs, and not to be held hostage to the parochial interests of a small group which has never been famous for having the good of the State at heart.
PM Netanyahu should feel no embarrassment nor sense of failure in not carrying the day on the Iran deal. The forces arrayed against him and sanity on this count have been overwhelming.
However, the PM is four square responsible for getting the gas deal through to a successful implementation, and the failure to do so will be a major stain on his record and legacy.
Most importantly, the failure to act will put Israel at a great risk in the face of a growing Iranian threat.
Once upon a time, the prospect of all the revenues from the gas deal evoked images of Camelot, of a Singapore-like sovereign wealth fund capable of transforming Israel into Sweden.
Forget about it. That was a pipe dream. The gas revenues are nothing less than the one way Israel can avoid vassal state status going forward by maintaining its sovereign independence and defending itself in ways that Jewish genius has yet to devise.
The gas deal is a call to arms. The People (yes the same ones who are supposedly the object of all the preening) need to rise up and demand responsibility and accountability from our leadership. NOW!
The author is an Executive Board Member of Im Tirtzu and a Director of the Israel Independence Fund.