I am troubled by the public outcry denouncing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Let me state from the outset that I did not vote for him as PM, thus my opinions are not based on a personal bias towards supporting a choice. Instead I must defend our elected leader who, I feel, is being unjustly maligned for his decision to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas.
We have heard the typical chorus of personal insults directed at him for not forging ahead to completely destroy Hamas. In their estimation only the total annihilation of Hamas will bring safety and security. They recognize the cost in terms of casualties on our side that such an operation would entail, but feel ultimately it is a price worth paying. I have even heard it suggested that we could crush Hamas with air power alone, despite the fact most experts agree that it is a virtual impossibility to defeat such an enemy in this way. Even if we were ultimately successful in destroying Hamas, they miss the fact that they are only the smallest player in the “let’s wipe the Jews off the face of the planet” arena. Next on deck would be Hezbollah with their 100,000 rockets in Lebanon. Then of course we will have to deal with Islamic State over in Syria. Hovering over all of this is the spectre of a nuclear armed Iran. What’s the plan? We obliterate each, one by one, as they hurl towards us like tennis balls faster than we can hit them? If they think we can achieve peace and security by a being in a constant state of brutal war they are sadly mistaken.
Even if it were true that destroying Hamas would bring “security” it still is quite disturbing to witness the amount of personal attacks levied at the leader of our country for taking what he sincerely believes is the correct course of action. Do these naysayers actually think they have more at stake, care more about our security, or could somehow lead more courageously were they to be in his position. Let us not forget that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces’ elite unit, “Sayeret Matkal” and that he was highly involved in international counter-terrorism. In addition, and most importantly, as PM he is privy to much information we know nothing about. Even the smallest piece of classified data could have the most dramatic effect on any decision that the Prime Minister has to make. I am not saying the public should not weigh in, opine and question the decisions which are made. I am simply stating that this should be done with a level of respect and humility, knowing that most times, for security purposes, we are not fully informed.
In my opinion Prime Minister Netanyahu has dealt with this crisis in an exemplary manner. He has shown leadership and maintained consistency and steadfastness in his decision making. He began by offering “quiet” for “quiet”. He led a ground invasion sticking to his objective to destroy the terror tunnels. He pulled the troops out when the mission was accomplished, despite calls to continue on and crush Hamas, which may have led to devastating unintended consequences. He agreed to the Egyptian ceasefire, which was basically a call for “quiet” for “quiet”. He responded to ceasefire breaches with explosive airstrikes which devastated much of the Hamas infrastructure and eliminated many top Hamas commanders. He rebuffed amateurish US efforts to negotiate a ceasefire favorable to Hamas. Ultimately Hamas came begging for the “quiet” for “quiet” offer he gave them at the outset.
If you want to know what a real threat to our security is; it’s divisiveness. If we don’t stand strong together and back the man that represents us in times of crisis, then we are weak. Benjamin Netanyahu is an intelligent man who devotes his life to our people and our country. He has displayed care and concern for every citizen and soldier. I don’t doubt his integrity for a minute. If you don’t agree, that is fine, but don’t be guilty of contributing to the downfall of our country by cutting down it’s leader. We should maintain our dignity as a nation and display at least a modicum of respect for the Prime Minister. I’m just glad he’s strong enough not to cave to criticism and instead do what he believes to be in our best interest. I hope we’d all want a Prime Minister that listens to his conscience and doesn’t cower to ill informed public scrutiny.