Monday, May 23, 2016

The Ya'alon legacy: a doctrine of failure-to-defend

The recent firing of Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) has put into bas relief the legacy that Ya’alon leaves behind. It’s a legacy that encouraged failure in the face of a determined enemy. 

The Left in Israel praises Ya’alon for his ‘doctrine of management’. For example, Ya’alon ‘managed’ Israel’s borders. He ‘managed’ Israel’s ‘settler’ activists. He ‘managed’ Jewish ‘extremists’. He ‘managed’ the 2014 Gaza war. He ‘managed’ Israel’s response to the recent flurry of terrorism that included a ‘knife intifada’, ‘child intifada’ and a ‘car intifada’.

Israel’s Left praises Ya’alon for his Defense stewardship (Judah Ari Gross, “What will replace the Ya’alon doctrine”, timesofisrael, May 22, 2016). The Left praises him for helping to ‘protect’ Israel while keeping the door open to a two-state solution (Chemi Shalev, “Ten Reasons Benjamin Netanyahu Was This Week’s Top anti-Zionist”, haaretz, May 22, 2016). The Left believes that Ya’alon’s doctrine of management will be the legacy he leaves behind.  

This ‘doctrine’ may indeed be his legacy. But it was why he failed as Defense Minister. This doctrine was, in the end, characterized more by a commitment to appeasement than by any kind of ‘military wisdom’ (see Moshe Feiglin, “MK Liberman's appointment as Defense Minister”, Arutz Sheva, May 19, 2016). True, Feiglin didn’t focus on the word, ‘appeasement’. But ‘appeasement’ oozes from between the lines of his essay.

Israel will not survive with a policy of containment or appeasement. It can’t survive, because the Arab enemy before us does not see appeasement or containment as either ‘wisdom’ or ‘diplomacy’. It is offended at being ‘contained’. It sees appeasement as cowardice. It sees Ya'alon's doctrine of 'containment' and 'appeasement' as proof that intifada and continuous Hamas-like pressure eat away at Israel’s will to fight.

Ya’alon’s Leftist beliefs blinded him to that reality. He is a Left-leaning Jewish Arabist-pacifist. He has acted in ways to protect Arab terrorists at the expense of Jewish defenders ("Ya'alon Demoralizing the IDF", shilohmusings, April 10, 2016). He rushed to condemn Jews by branding Jewish youth as ‘Jewish terrorists’—even when no proof existed to validate that claim (“Ya'alon: We will not allow Jewish terrorists to harm Palestinians”, jerusalempost, July 31, 2015). He rushed to condemn an IDF soldier for the death of an Arab terrorist during an incident where the terrorist could have been moving to detonate a suicide bomb (Ben Caspit, “Why Israelis are defending IDF soldier who shot Palestinian attacker”, almonitor, March 28, 2016).

Ya’alom didn’t defend Israel with strength. He defended Israel by turning the other cheek.

The problem with this approach is that an Israel Defense Minister does not have the mandate to turn any cheek. An Israel Defense Minister has only one job: to make certain that Israel’s enemies are afraid to attack Israel. His fatal error is that he did not create a doctrine to win the war against Israel’s enemies. He created a doctrine only to ‘manage’ that war.

As a result, he failed to make Israel’s border safe. He sought only to make our borders quiet

‘Safe’ and ‘quiet’ may seem similar. But they aren’t.  'Safe' and 'quiet' suggest very different military goals. 

Ask Jews who live in southern Israel. Their border with Gaza has been relatively quiet. But they’ve just recently been advised to prepare for a mass evacuation because the IDF is concerned about another attack by Hamas from Gaza (Jack Moore, “Israelis on Gaza border told to prepare for mass evacuation in event of conflict”, newsweek, May 18, 2016). As these Jews now consider a mass disruption in their lives, do you think a quiet border is better than a safe border?

Ya’alon’s doctrine brought Israel to a new low. He didn’t protect Israel. He didn’t protect Jews. He had Jews arrested and detained without due process. He allowed Jews to be tortured.

Ya’alon’s doctrine made Israel weak. His ‘doctrine’ made Israel passive against the aggressive reign of terror Arabs began September, 2015. That passivity allowed Arabs to murder more than two dozen Jews, and wound/traumatize hundreds.

That’s the legacy of the Ya’alon doctrine. It’s a ‘doctrine’ that didn’t defend Israel from attack or make Israel safe. It made Israel refuse to fight.

In the end, Ya’alon’s personal anti-Israel beliefs ruined him. He chose to defend a deputy IDF Chief of Staff—one of Israel’s highest ranking military officers—against criticism for having compared Israel to Nazi Germany (“Netanyahu gives Ya'alon a sharp reprimand on Nazi comparison”, Arutz Sheva, May 5, 2016).

This ‘Nazi’ comparison is a staple of the Arab Jew-hate industry. It is unbelievable that a ranking IDF General would use an enemy's Nazi comparison to criticize his own nation--on Holocaust Day, no less. It’s unconscionable that Ya’alon should defend an IDF soldier's use of  that Jew-hate reference.

Moshe Ya’alon didn’t stand up for his country. He stood up for Israel-as-Nazi.

He didn’t make his country strong. He created a legacy of failure. No wonder he was fired.

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