Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sharon's Legacy - and Netanyahu's Previous One

Aluf Benn, in a faintly disapproving column, notes that Sharon succeeded. He separated most of the Palestinians from most of the Israelis, and the Israelis have moved on to other things. Should there ever be a peace treaty to be signed, he expects, most Israelis won't even be watching the ceremony on TV as they'll be watching whatever else is on. He overstates his case, of course, and Tel Aviv is indeed more removed than Jerusalem, but he's mostly correct. Contrary to what our enemies incessantly claim, there is no Israeli project of Greater Israel or annexing the West Bank or subjugating the Palestinians or Apartheid or all that chatter. Under the worst of conceivable conditions, Ariel Sharon took a reality that had been developing for some 20 years and brought it to near completion: the Palestinians are over there, we're over here, and we're going to live our lives.

He also had a very successful finance minister, did Sharon, to whom he gave heaps of political backing so as to make major changes to the structure of the economy; this finance minister, like his boss, took 20-year trends and pushed them forward rapidly and dramatically. His name was Binyamin Netanyahu. David Brooks writes about the explosion of creativity this has enabled:
Israel’s technological success is the fruition of the Zionist dream. The country was not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world.
(via Goldblog)


Anonymous said...

but David Brooks being David Brooks he has to end on a gloomy note, like all those creative entrepreneurs do in the end feel no real tie to their country and will end up in the US when the going should get rough.
Maybe he is right but I hope that when threatened they are stubborn and headstrong and what else enough to say, no, we will keep this place and not just leave when the going gets bad. I can't feel anything like ties to the land but if somebody would try to EVICT me I would probably not "obey".

Shimon Stein once told on German radio how he was in London when the war of 1973 started and how he, without even properly packing, went for the airport immediately and there met lots of others who had done the same. All those young ex-German-then-from-Latin-America Jews I hung out with in 1967 started immediately to check up in earnest on how to get to Israel when the war started.
All of that spirit can't have evaporated into who cares I have a house in Palo Alto ...

NormanF said...

Israel has a sound economy and a confident future. But Israel needs defense in depth. There is no way Israel can survive squeezed in a waist 15 miles wide. Retaining the Judean-Samarian mountain range and the Jordan Valley isn't a matter of a Greater Israel; its a matter of national survival. The Gaza War last year drove that lesson home.

Victor said...

I knew or cared very little about Israel until, one day in 2002, at the age of 19, suffering from boredom in a Mexican motel, I turned on CNN International. I don't know what world David Brooks lives in, but practically the only reason I'd make aliyah, besides marriage, is if Israel was attacked and needed me. Many young American Jews are like me.