By Jim Fletcher
It can be no
accident that Benjamin Netanyahu enters the spotlight again internationally,
after a decade-long exile. The Israeli prime minister was defeated by
Ehud Barak in 1999, after a tumultuous three-year reign in Jerusalem.
Leftists in Europe and Washington — and Marxists in the PLO — clapped and were beside themselves, then. Surely Barak would deliver Israel up to her enemies, after the wasted years of Netanyahu’s premiership. “Bibi,” as he is known to Israelis, demanded reciprocity from the Palestinians in negotiations. That is, if Israel was expected to give something, the Palestinians must be expected to give, as well.
Of course, Israel was expected to give up land. The Palestinians were only supposed to control their emotions: no more terrorism, no more indoctrinating youth in hate, no more outrageous demands.
We all know how that turned out.
Israel turned over control of swaths of land to the newly created Palestinian Authority, which was just a shave and a new suit above the crude PLO.
It didn’t work.
Yasser Arafat was never anything more than the barbaric radical young man in Egypt in the 1950s. He listened to the Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric — that forerunner of Al Qaida — and was schooled at the feet of Marxist revolutionaries around the globe. The result was a cunning killer, a person of unusual, diabolical abilities.
This in turn, after Arafat was named head of the PLO in 1968, radicalized an entire society, which was never willing to co-exist with their Jewish neighbors. The Arab mindset is one that is enveloped in an overwhelming desire for honor. Besmirch that honor and you risk a violent confrontation.
Because Islam cannot abide a Jewish state in its presence, there is no hope for any kind of peaceful coexistence.
In this boiling cauldron in the Middle East stepped the Netanyahu family in 1920. The family made aliya from Lithuania. In Europe for some time, discerning Jews knew that a holocaust was coming. Theodore Herzl, Ze’ev Jabotinsky and others sounded the alarm, but incredulous Jews, who had lived on the Continent for centuries, were unmoved. The truly smart ones got out, and Benzion Netanyahu was one of those.
The brilliant scholar, today nearing 100 years of age, still lives in Jerusalem. Few understand Jewish thought and its place in the world than Dr. Netanyahu. It was he who taught his three sons the marvelous foundation of Zionism, and it is that foundation which, I believe, will inform Bibi’s role as head-of-state.
Having seen combat himself in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and having been shot in a successful hostage rescue in 1972 at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, Bibi won’t be scared by the bullying of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Mitchell.
At the family home in Jerusalem, in that dining room where so many marvelous conversations have taken place, Benzion transferred an unwavering faith in Zionism to his sons. All three served in an elite commando unit, and it was in the fire of these experiences that the perseverance that will serve Bibi well was forged.
It almost amuses me to think of Netanyahu being greeted at the White House by a man who is a moral coward, whose cunning and calculation direct his decision-making process. Bibi will make decisions based not on popularity, but on a fundamental valuing of human life.
Thus I hope he will find a way to cut the Iranian menace in half and then stick the sword in its heart.
I’ve seen plenty of horrible predictions that a strike on Iran could drive gas prices to $20 per gallon. Well, what is the lesser of two evils? Either we sit at home or ride bikes or come up with alternative energy…or we are blackmailed at best and incinerated at worst. Iran is developing nuclear weapons in order to use them. There would be no rational discussions with them. They want to die. They want us to die.
Netanyahu will surely have the will and backbone to do what his predecessors would not do, and what George Bush would not do.
Iran’s new foray into space satellites, and its supply of nuclear knowledge from Russia are clear indications that the Persians are no pansies. They are playing to win for Allah. The closing of an American base that supplies troops in Afghanistan — a closing urged “strongly” by the Russians — is an ominous sign that soft diplomacy leads to hard realities.
Plenty of folks are worried about Israel. They fear the Jewish state will go up in smoke, or simply be fazed-out, like a dying ember from Sinai.
Israel’s modern princes may not be able to bring peace. But they can be divine instruments to stave-off genocide until their Redeemer comes for them. As He surely will.
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