Over the years, I had the doubtful joy of speaking with Israeli Zionists belonging to the right and left sides of the political spectrum. Strikingly, the differences between them were not political in nature, but mainly an issue of style.
Rightists were acidly sarcastic, while leftists were naively sarcastic. Both abused the Biblical language, while snatching every opportunity to offend others. On November 19, 2012, the Hebrew media provided an awesome example of that while commenting on the barbaric Israeli offensive on Gaza, Operation Pillar of Cloud.
Protests in Israel
Yedioth Aharonot—the Hebrew largest newspaper—published an op-ed titled like this article “Try Talking to Hamas.” The column was written by Dr. Avner Fainguelernt, an educator and independent filmmaker, who lives in a Gaza vicinity kibbutz. I won’t enter into Israeli social subtleties, but this short biography is enough to identify him as a “smolan,” a “leftist.”
Yet, a Labor government was the one to allow the first settlements in the West Bank while a Likud government was the one to diminish discrimination against Mizrahi Jews.
Who is right-wing? Who is left-wing?
These obsolete political terms are irrelevant. All of them claim to pursue peace while encouraging violence and discrimination.
Let me jump to the article’s end, where addressing the Israeli leadership in general, he wrote: “You owe us the preliminary and most basic thing—talking to Hamas—if you wish to gain our trust. You have tried out all the weapons in the world. The only thing you haven’t really tried out is the simple, required dialogue.”
Israeli sarcasm is seldom wrote down; however, the author provided a rare opportunity to witness leftist naivety to the extreme.
Gaza City | Operation Pillar of Cloud
Following is a short table showing the dates of various elections to the Knesset (all except the first one) and military events that occurred just before the elections.
During the first times, this looks innocent. The war actions were continuous and to some extent imposed by others.
The turning point was probably in 1969, when casual operations drove the politicians’ attention to the fact the military operations can be used to get votes.
After the disastrous Yom Kippur War, two small operations improved the self-esteem of the IDF, The 1977 elections were lost by Labor despite the successful Operation Entebbe; this was a delayed result of the 1973 war.
Afterwards, it is pure cynicism. Both government and opposition used military operations in order to improve their results.
The worst events belong to Begin, who bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor days before the elections and won (though barely so), and to a desperate Peres, who engaged in Operation Grapes of Wrath after Rabin’s assassination; yet he lost after a successful use by Netanyahu of the then frequent bus suicide-bombers against Peres.
Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and the ongoing Operation Pillar of Cloud just before the January 2013 elections are superb examples. It seems mini-wars have become a requested prelude to elections in Israel.
|Elections Date||Military Operation|
|July 30, 1951||Retribution Operations against Fedayeen and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah|
|July 26, 1955||Retribution Operations against Fedayeen|
|November 3, 1959||Retribution Operations against Fedayeen|
|August 15, 1961||Retribution Operations against Fedayeen|
|November 1, 1965||Retribution Operations against Fedayeen|
|October 28, 1969||Operations Boxer, Bulmus 6, Raviv (the Ten-Hour War) and Escort|
|December 31, 1973||Yom Kippur War, Operations Doogman 5 and Abirey-Halev|
|May 17, 1977||Operation Entebbe on previous July|
|June 30, 1981||Operation Opera against Iraqi nuclear reactor|
|July 23, 1984||Kav 300 Affair|
|November 1, 1988||Assassination of Abu Jihad in Tunis|
|June 23, 1992||Assassination of Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi|
|May 29, 1996||Operation Grapes of Wrath|
|May 17, 1999||Barak promised to withdraw Lebanon if elected|
|January 28, 2003||Operation Defensive Shield|
|March 28, 2006||Squirms between Hezbollah and the IDF previous to the elections, the Second Lebanese War right after them|
|February 10, 2009||Operation Cast Lead|
|January 22, 2013||Operation Pillar of Cloud|
Right and Left
This table supports what I have claimed in previous articles dedicated to Operation Pillar of Cloud. This operation was born out of Benjamin’s Netanyahu electoral considerations.
On the same day that the abovementioned article was published, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan publicly claimed the same, saying “Before this election, they (Israel) shot these innocent people in Gaza for reasons they fabricated,” he told reporters in Istanbul and added “Israel is a terror state.”
Egyptian President Morsi, speaking Saturday night at a joint news conference with Mr. Erdogan, accused Israel of failing to abide by an earlier cease-fire with Hamas, which had been negotiated by Egypt a week earlier.
“Israel is an occupying country, and international laws oblige occupiers with many things that Israel doesn’t abide by,” President Morsi said. “If the situation was further escalated, or if a land invasion took place as Israelis have said, this would mean dire consequences in the region, and we could never accept that, and the free world could never accept that.”
We are witnessing Netanyahu’s pre-election stunt; yet, the Israeli left, looking forward at its own opportunity to stage one, claims that this is a clear case of the right unwillingness to speak and compromise. Is this naivety or the reptilian cynicism of the aggressor?
Mr. Tov Roy is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.