Needless Hysteria over Israel’s Cabinet Shakeup

After a highly publicized but failed effort to persuade the Zionist Union, Israel’s main opposition party, to join the Likud-led governing coalition, Prime Minister Netanyahu instead brought in the smaller Yisrael Beiteinu party. In doing so, he discharged Moshe Yaalon as defense minister and offered the position to Yisrael Beiteinu’s controversial leader, Avigdor Lieberman—a move that prompted hysterical reactions from Israel’s left-leaning media. Ruthie Blum comments:

Though Yaalon has an illustrious history and a reputation for being both a serious military man and levelheaded think-tank member, I gave up on him when he started preaching morality to Israeli society. At a time when both radical Islamists and Western professors, as well as huge swaths of the British Labor party, are waging a frontal assault on the Jewish state, accusing it of atrocities it does not commit, the last thing Israel needs is a cabinet member adding fuel to the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic fire.

I therefore say goodbye to Yaalon without a heavy heart. Though Lieberman leaves much to be desired, . . . he [isn’t] even as “right-wing” as his detractors claim. . . . Lieberman’s [positions] are often indistinguishable from those of his left-wing counterparts. It’s the take-no-prisoners rhetoric and associations with dubious characters that make [him] controversial. . . .

On Friday night, . . . [the] middle-aged military correspondent Roni Daniel . . . lost it on live TV. Pounding on the table several times, Daniel interrupted his fellow panelists to announce that the move to replace Yaalon with Lieberman . . . meant that there was no future for his children in Israel. . . . [P]olitical machinations have become so cynical, have gone so far, [he claimed], that the country’s best interests are sacrificed in the desperate attempt by Netanyahu to “hold on to his seat.” . . .

When have politicians in this or any other country not tried to hold on to their seats? This is a reason to leave the Jewish state that boasts a rise in immigration from Western democracies? . . . The . . . question [Daniel] and other Israelis . . . with escape fantasies ought to contemplate is where they imagine they can settle to be rid of their malaise about living under flawed democratic political systems—Syria?

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Herzog, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Moshe Yaalon


How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy