Fresh air heads back to Israel

Scott has frequently commented on the obtuse nature of Israeli politics and (in recent years) Israeli politicians, as compared to the brilliance of so much of the rest of Israeli life. Scott’s point is well-taken and its validity has been underscored by the war in Lebanon.

P. David Hornik for FrontPageMagazine profiles a prospective Israeli leader who could reverse the slide — former IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon. Consider this statement by Yaalon at a New York city synagogue:

The best defense is a good offense, not a fence. The best way to deal with terrorists is to arrest them or kill them in their beds. . . . what we are doing is leaving a legacy for the next generation that will [have to] deal with Palestinians who believe that terrorism pays, that Israel cuts and runs under pressure. . . . we must stop getting used to these constant missile attacks as if they are rain. . . . I do not see any prospect for peace and reconciliation on the Palestinian side. I needed no sophisticated intelligence to reach this conclusion; I only had to look at their textbooks, posters and so on.

And Yaalon doesn’t just talk a good game. After becoming chief of staff at the height of the terror war in 2002, he was credited with crafting the strategy that eventually substantially reduced the attacks and dealt harsh blows to Hamas and other terror groups. Unfortunately, when the government decided to make unilateral territorial concessions, thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of its victory over Hamas, Yaalon had to go. He was denied a customary year’s extension as chief of staff and had to step down before the disengagement got under way. According to Hornik, “it was, in effect, a dismissal that shocked Israel’s military and political establishment.”

Yaalon has been in the U.S. on a fellowship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. However, he is returning to Israel and reportedly intends to join the Likud Party, as Binyamin Netanyahu has been urging him to do. Indeed, he could become Netanyahu’s candidate for defense minister.

That sounds like a winning combination, or at least a significant improvement.

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