In the essay immediately below (“Is this cease-fire a calculated gamble?”), I had written that I had hoped that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of a cease-fire with Hamas was not a betrayal or a show of weakness. I had hoped it was instead a gambit to appear to give in a little now (to world pressure), in order to gain some kind of 'protection' for more raids against Gaza.
Less than an hour after posting that essay, Netanyahu seemed to declare that that’s exactly what he was doing. He announced that, "If Hamas rejects the cease-fire, we will have international legitimation [sic] to restore the needed quiet” (“Netanyahu: If Rockets Don't Stop, Operation will Widen”, Arutz Sheva, July 15, 2014).
Apparently, Netanyahu ‘accepted’ the cease-fire because he was looking for a vote of confidence from the world (his ‘legitimation’) to continue his fight. He didn’t wait long to show his hand.
I had prayed that I was right about that process. Well, I was right.
There’s just one problem. Now, we need more prayer--a lot more.
We need more prayer now for two reasons. First, angry outbursts from readers of this cease-fire story haven’t quieted. Readers don’t seem to appreciate Netanyahu’s attempt to finesse this situation. Readers seem to feel that if there is a time to finesse, this isn’t it. Netanyahu isn’t getting any kudos for playing his cards like a pro.
From multiple reader comments to multiple cease-fire stories, it seems that many pro-Israel Israelis are really, really fed up. Netanyahu appears as a politician who has flip-flopped too much on this topic of defending Israel. His proverbial chickens have now come home to roost. He has played one too many games with Israelis' emotions.
Pro-Israel readers are livid. They feel completely betrayed. They feel no trust in his leadership.
According to reader comments, Netanyahu’s gambit failed. Yes, he may have indeed finessed someone. But he still came across as weak, frightened or confused.
In time of war, that’s not what a nation needs from its leader.
Reader anger focuses on several issues. Netanyahu had not provided enough proper police protection in Judea-Samaria to reduce the chances of a triple kidnapping-murder. He has not found the culprits. He does not protect Jews in Judea-Samaria, Jerusalem and Israel’s south. He does not show a strong posture against Hamas. He does not aggressively, aggressively fight back against Arab propaganda.
He seems too refined to do these things. He appears to prefer to finesse.
The early returns on his finese (accept the cease-fire, make Hamas look aggressive, then go after Hamas) could be summed up with this reader comment: ‘Bibi, if you can’t protect us, resign so we can get someone who will’ (this is a paraphrase).
The second reason we now need to pray is that the world may not give Netanyahu a pass for more attacks on Gaza—and the world may still turn against Israel if it starts a ground offensive. In other words, the gambit, while working in the short-term, could still fail. It’s possible that, with this little ‘trick’, Netanyahu might actually be digging himself a deeper international hole, not a shallow shelter.
If Prime Minister Netanyahu wants some advice, he might turn to the stories of Shaul, Israel’s first King, and David. Shaul failed to fulfil HaShem’s word. He failed to do what was right. He failed as king. David, however, fulfilled HaShem’s word. He followed HaShem’s requirements—and when he didn’t, he confessed his weakness and asked forgiveness.
David stood strong for both G-d and Israel. He became Israel’s greatest king. He created the united Judean Kingdom.
Netanyahu has a choice. He can read his Tanach and act as a king David; or, he can keep on the path he is on—and end up like Shaul.
The Arab knows about faith. He knows what is expected of him. He teaches us. He says, ‘in war, you don’t do a cease-fire; a cease-fire is for surrender.’
The Arab is a man of belief. His goals are clear. He understands what he’s fighting for.