Thursday, January 10, 2013 | return to: views, opinions


Elections are about Israel’s survival — in other words, Iran

by Eitan Haber

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It is not entirely true that the upcoming elections in Israel are about the quality of life. The Jan. 22 elections are about life itself.

V_h_with_nameThose who are still undecided may find themselves in a few months faced with a question that will have a crucial influence on their lives: Should Israel bomb Iran?

Some say that if we do not attack and destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and the Iranians build an atomic bomb, the Zionist enterprise will be hanging in the balance. Israel’s leaders will have to make a decision around April for a number of reasons.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who considers the prevention of a nuclear Iran to be the country’s most important goal, is wisely letting nature “take its course.”

Trouble-makers Yuval Diskin and Meir Dagan have retired from their posts; opposers such as Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and others failed to secure a realistic spot on Likud’s Knesset roster and will not be members of the next security cabinet; Ehud Barak, who is undecided, will not be defense minister come April; and the military men, Benny Gantz and Amir Eshel, will follow orders.

 The politicians who will likely decide on this most important matter include Tzachi Hanegbi, a staunch supporter of attacking Iran; Moshe Ya’alon, who had his doubts but in the end said “yea”; and Netanyahu himself, who very much wants to, but for now realizes that he can’t.

These elections are perhaps mostly about the Iranian issue. If the planes take off in April, the rising price of cottage cheese (the event that ostensibly kicked off the summer 2011 social protest movement) won’t matter.

Here is some food for thought about what has happened to us over the past few decades. Years ago, we Israelis took pride in our attacking capabilities, in our ability to move the war almost immediately to enemy territory, and in our deterrence. We threatened, as we do today, but back then we could back it up.

What are we proud of today? Of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which protects a small segment of Israel’s population and instills false hope in most of the country’s citizens; and of fences: the one in the desert along the border with Egypt, the existing fence along the Lebanon border, the fence that requires fixing along the border with Syria, the separation fence in the West Bank, and the fence on the Jordanian border.

All of Israel is “tower and stockade.” They say this is how Sparta was built. But Israel’s decision-makers should look into how Sparta’s story ended.

Eitan Haber is a columnist for, where this opinion piece originally appeared.


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