Batya Brownstein

Naama Issachar — a story of bad decisions and consequences

First, the evil choice of a Russian dictator whose legacy is the preservation of the authoritarian oppression of his people, but without the ideology. This man saw an opportunity to leverage a friendly country and seized it many times over, with no regard for the moral aspects in the larger picture. The man is such a bully that it seems reasonable to him to set this precedent- lack of good faith, no moral scruples and the deliberate hijacking of the diplomatic relations between two countries for gain that is unclear. Rather, the exercise of power is the murdering pig’s end.

Secondly, the State of Israel, which rather than prove its commitment to its citizens by returning them from unfriendly hands with the release of Gilad Shalit (at the expense of many other citizens), has more often than not demonstrated its other priorities through the much longer list of citizens or their bodies left behind, and the return of all, which seems to have mysteriously left the agenda. The mistake is mixed messages in political rhetoric and state decisions.

Another mistake, one amusing to me in its tragedy, is Israel’s (self- labeled one of the most moral countries in the world, and an Israel advocacy talking point sometimes to exhaustion) eagerness to pander to all who undermine her, with very few exceptions. We are so willing to engage, so desperate to change our global public perception, our increasingly populist politicians so willing to submit to mob rule in exchange for a few mandates that we make very bad decisions.

This inferiority complex is a growing source of embarrassment. A self- respecting state wouldn’t roll out the red carpet (as it literally did this week) for a man who is essentially keeping one of its citizens hostage for no apparent reason. This is yet another example of Israel’s identity crisis- are we strong Jews or not? I hold the Israeli public and politicians 100% accountable for the consequences of our diplomatic dithering.

The Israeli public’s mistake is, as always, falling prey to emotional narratives rather than looking at the big picture or even the details. How can we take this mob seriously? No wonder we’re headed toward our third elections in a year. Maybe it’s time for the general public in Israel to display a single ounce of accountability for the way our politics are going and in general, for the way political decisions are made.

Lastly, but most importantly, this is the story of a young woman who knowingly decided to smuggle drugs over international borders into an authoritarian state, putting her country in an extremely vulnerable and precarious position. I have no patience for conspiracy theories- that is what happened. Is her punishment unfair? Undoubtedly. But these are the consequences for her actions. I only hope the rest of us don’t live to regret it.

About the Author
Born to a French mother and American father, Batya came to Israel at a young age. Upon graduating high school in Israel, she spent her military service in the IDF's Foreign Press Branch. She now studies International Relations and Political Science (B.A.) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lives in Jerusalem with her beautiful daughter.
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