Bennett, Use Your Head

The videos of beleaguered Ukrainian president Voldomir Zelensky begging the West for help are all too reminiscent of the Second World War. Zelensky is right — without more aggressive aid from the West, he and his people will go under. Aid is coming, but it’s too little and not the sort Zelensky needs to win.

In many ways, he’s going at it alone. That’s not likely to change.

The West is far too hedonistic and in the case of the US far too isolationist to provide that level of support. That’s a huge mistake.

If there is a lesson Western countries should draw from the  Second World War, it’s not to appease a dictator. Back then most of the West capitulated and collaborated with Hitler.  Only the UK later joined by the US and the USSR fought back.

The news out of Kyiv feels very deja vu. Without more vigorous support by the US and the NATO countries, Zelensky will lose. As to the argument that holding back aid is preventing nuclear war, the nuclear genie is out of the bottle. It’s just a matter of time before Putin unleashes his nukes. Without the full weight of Western firepower against him, there’s no one to take him down.

Somehow Israel has convinced itself that it is among the Western powers. We aren’t a NATO country. We are not a power.

Before the war broke out, Israel enjoyed friendly relations with both sides — and we needed that.

Now we might be brokering the peace. Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow on Shabbos with the express intent of doing that.

That all sounds great. If Bennett succeeds, well then he’s a global hero and most likely a Nobel peace prize laureate, but what if he doesn’t?

Zionist ideology has swelled our egos. All the talk about Israel becoming a nation like all other nations has caused us to forget that we are a minuscule people, a bare .19 of the world’s population.  Not 19%. Point one nine. We are vastly outnumbered by almost everyone, and with global antisemitism on the rise we are not nor have we ever been popular.

It’s not our job to fix global power politics. When the Torah instructs us in the oft-quoted responsibility of tikun olam it means Tikun Olam be Malchut Shakay. That means following the Torah and the mitzvot, not some vaguely liberal touchy-feely political agenda.

Naftali Bennett needs to realize that he’s unlikely to fix this and when it turns out badly he and all the Jews will be on the line.

Syria is crawling with Russian soldiers and Russian-backed Hezbollah militiamen. It’s not too hard to imagine that by alienating Putin we might set off a new wave of war–missiles aimed at us, G-d forbid, coming from our north.

Then we won’t be watching scenes of wartime horror as we are doing now. We’ll be living then.

We can and should pray for Mr. Zelensky and the Ukrainians even if their grandparents were Nazis, but we don’t have the luxury of alienating Mr. Putin, horrible as he is.

Mr. Bennett, you’re not stupid. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your brain.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.
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