Jacob B. Ukeles

Annexation is a Terrible Idea

David Horovitz is right: “Netanyahu’s annexation bid is bad for Israel. Our ally the US should just say no.”  Times of Israel (June 22, 2020)

All of the recent survey data is unanimous – most Israelis are opposed to annexation. Almost no one mentions annexation when asked about their top two priorities for the country.  It should come as no surprise that the economy, public health, and security are the top concerns.

Security experts, including many in the IDF, are deeply concerned about  the negative impact of annexation on Israel’s security.

In the midst of an economic crisis why alienate the EU – one of Israel’ most important trading partners?

With Iran an implacable foe, why alienate Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States?

Coronavirus cases are surging and the economy is in shambles.  The country faces a terrible dilemma: actions that could improve the economy could worsen public health and actions that could help public health could weaken the economy. Extricating Israel from this trap requires the best possible strategic thinking and the highest level of  leadership . It also requires consistent policies and programs and a high degree of coordination.   With 34 ministries each marching to their own drummer, achieving coordination and consistency is a challenge of the highest order.

The Prime Minister of Israel needs to stay focused on keeping the economy from collapsing and the public health crisis from spiraling out of control.  Paying attention to anything else now is  highly irresponsible and jeopardizes Israel’s future.

Is it possible that Mr. Netanyahu is pursuing annexation because he is clueless about how to deal with the  twin nightmares of coronavirus and economy? Or is it simply more exciting to pursue a so-called ” historic opportunity” than it is to make the difficult decisions necessary save the economy and secure  our public health.

About the Author
Jack Ukeles is the president of Ukeles Associates Inc., a planning, policy research, and management firm for Jewish communities and organizations in the US, Israel, and world-wide.
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