Dan Calic

Israel at Fateful Intersection

Tuesday’s elections may prove to be the most important Israel has faced in decades. With Benjamin Netanyahu trailing Israeli’s may be poised to elect Yitzchak Herzog, the head of the liberal Labor Party.

A Victory for Obama

Should he be elected, it will not just be a victory for the left in Israel, it will be a victory for President Obama, who has made it clear he has overt disdain for Netanyahu. Reports over recent months suggest that Obama has actually had a task force on the ground in Israel actively attempting to help unseat Netanyahu. Relations between Israel and the US have never been more strained, in spite of public statements by both leaders to the contrary.

Should Herzog be elected, fateful decisions are likely to be made, not the least of which is regarding the Jews who live east of the so-called “green line” in Judea/Samaria, or the West Bank as most refer to it.

Herzog Will Uproot Jews

The reason this election could prove fateful is he has made it clear what is intentions are. If elected he has stated he will not hesitate to force Jews to abandon their homes, as part of a peace deal with the Arabs. Keep in mind their leader, Mahmoud Abbas is head of the Fatah Party, whose charter flatly calls for the destruction of Israel. He has also repeatedly stated he does not, and will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

One reason why many have shifted away from Netanyahu, especially those living in the southern cities near Gaza, is they are furious with him for not finishing off Hamas in the most recent war with them last summer. While some previous leaders were willing to dabble with Israel’s security for the sake of ‘peace,’ Netanyahu staked his legacy on protecting Israeli’s at the top of his agenda. Many feel he did not honor that commitment in the last war with Hamas. Thus, his credibility has been damaged. This election may prove to be the price he pays.

Election Could Bring Civil War to Israel

However, if Israeli’s stop and think for a moment and vote with reason rather than emotion, they should realize that voting for Herzog is going to put more of them at risk than ever before. Decisions he is likely to make could bring internal strife to Israel on a scale not seen since former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose to evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005.

That decision brought Israel to the brink of civil war. If the forced removal of just under 8,000 Jews from their homes almost tore the heart out of the country, can you imagine what will happen if over 300,000 Jews are forced to leave their homes?

As for Netanyahu, he cannot undo what many feel was a critical mistake by not finishing off Hamas, which left thousands of Israeli’s in an uneasy situation within rocket range of terrorists. However, he has attempted to retake his seat as championing Israel’s security with is stance on Iran’s nuclear program. His recent speech to the US Congress was most likely an effort to repair his somewhat tarnished image as the champion of security, albeit not just for Israel’s sake, but the US and the rest of the world. The fact that Obama, Biden, Kerry and at least 50 Democrats boycotted the speech only threw gasoline on the fire between Israel and the US.

Will Punishing Netanyahu Help Israel?

Tuesday Israeli’s must decide if they will vote with reason or with emotion. If they vote with reason, they will realize Iran is a much bigger threat than Hamas and they’ll re-elect Netanyahu. If they vote punitively with emotion and elect Herzog, they will hand a victory to President Obama. More importantly, they will launch Israel on a path which may very well plunge the country into civil war. It could also result in bringing rocket launching terrorists to within a few meters of 70% of Israel’s population.

Have the Jewish people forgotten their G-d given unique status? Will they acquiesce to demands and give away their heartland? Will they sacrifice their security for the sake of a US President who says his commitment to it is “unshakable,” then takes action proving precisely the opposite?

Israel is indeed at a fateful intersection. I for one hope they make the ‘right’ decision

About the Author
Dan Calic is a freelance writer, history student and speaker.