The danger is Benny Gantz as prime minister, in a very literal sense. And so I lead off with “Elephant in the room – highlighting Gantz’s military record,” written by Dr. Aaron Lerner, co-founder and director of IMRA (emphasis added):
“Bennie Gantz’s military career was torn to shreds in a feature article in the magazine section last Friday’s edition of the left wing Haaretz.
“Haaretz pulled no punches, starting with details of how Gantz screwed up on his year-long assignment to prepare for then PM Ehud Barak’s chaotic retreat for Lebanon and concluding with his fiasco in failing to prepare the IDF, as Chief of Staff, to deal with the Hamas assault tunnels reaching across from the Gaza Strip.
“Senior IDF sources are quoted observing that Gantz consistently doesn’t plan ahead and declines to consider worse case scenarios.”
In light of the dangers that face Israel in all directions today, this is an issue of paramount importance. Lerner says that Likud has been reluctant to focus on Gantz’s weakness as chief of staff because he served when Netanyahu was prime minister. But it was actually Minister of Defense Ehud Barak who made the appointment – Netanyahu merely signed off on it. “Netanyahu’s approval of his appointment is secondary – the prime minister’s successes in other fields make up for it.”
“Getting people to think about Gantz’s incompetence could be a game changer.
“Many voters don’t think that the contours of an agreement with the Palestinians are relevant when choosing a party since in any case there won’t be a deal for the foreseeable future.
“So whether Blue White is ‘Left’ or not on Arab-Israeli affairs may not matter to these voters.
“But they most certainly may be deterred from casting their ballot for a party headed by a man who consistently screwed up in key military roles.”
And so, my friends, I ask you to please do your bit by sharing this information broadly.
What particularly irks me is that Gantz put together party leadership that is significantly “military”: with Bogie Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi joining him. They stand together for pictures and they lend the impression that they are the team best equipped to protect Israel. But it ain’t so!
Then we have, “The Trojan Horse in Israel’s elections,” direct testimony written by Ron Jager, who served under Gantz at the time of the second intifada.
”[October 1, 2001] I was present during these critical hours in the operations room when Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) was under siege and IDF Sergeant Madhat Yusef was shot by Palestinian Arab terrorists.
“Madhet Yusef bled to death over a period of three and a half hours during an attack by a mob of Palestinian Arabs at the complex containing Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of the ‘West Bank’ City of Nablus. Israeli forces were only a few minutes away and could have saved him and rescued the remaining soldiers. The Israeli forces were never given the order by Benny Gantz, the Regional Commander, to enter Nablus and save Madhat Yusef.
During these intense and nerve wracking hours…a tank battalion had been assembled and two columns of Merkavot tanks were in place waiting for the order to enter Nablus to rescue Madhat Yusef and the other soldiers under siege in Joseph’s Tomb…
“…Why did Brigadier General Gantz not give the order to save Madhat Yusef?
“At the time, Ehud Barak, the head of the Israeli Labor Party, was Prime Minister and acting Defense Minister. The Israeli Labor Party, was the chief proponent of the Oslo Agreement…Nablus is part of the Palestinian Authority created by Oslo and in theory, according to those agreements, the Palestinian Arab police force was in charge.
“Despite the warnings of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party, the leftist Labor Party was willing to demand sacrifices from the Israeli public so that the Oslo Agreements would be implemented…
“Benny Gantz has zero experience in statesmanship, no real economic education or understanding of how the global market operates, no real understanding of Israel’s role in being a world leader in innovation; technology, food production, medicine, water preservation, and the list goes on and on…
“If elected, Benny Gantz will do what he is told to do. He will play a role dictated by advisors, senior associates, and political partners. Benny Gantz has never been a maverick nor exhibited an ability to dictate policy. He has always been a team player and takes ‘into consideration’ viewpoints of his team who by the way are clearly in the leftist side of the political map…”
Recent polls continue to indicate that Likud will be able to form a coalition of at least 61 mandates, while Blue and White will not.
But it’s still too close for comfort and we need to work to ensure that the numbers are even stronger. The warnings about the danger to Israel wrought by the trumped up charges against Netanyahu are deeply, deeply troubling.
See law professor Avi Bell on this:
“The Attorney General’s misguided decision to charge the Prime Minister with bribery and breach of trust may spell trouble for the future of Israeli democracy.”
Those charges in the end must not be permitted to determine the outcome of the election!
A most unusual situation, which has yet to play out, has evolved in the context of the campaign:
Earlier this week, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit offered the opinion that separate petitions that had been advanced seeking the disqualification of Otzma on the right and the Arab Balad party on the left be rejected. The petition against Otzma had come from left wing elements including Labor and Meretz; the petition against the Arab parties was initiated by Otzma and others joining in response to the first petition.
Mandelblit, however, did recommend that the candidacy of Otzma leader Michael Ben Ari, who is fifth on the joint Bayit Yehudi-National Union list, be prohibited. Otzma’s response to this was that it was the height of hypocrisy (i.e., because he thought the Arab party could run). And indeed it was.
Mandelblit’s opinion, in the end, was just that–a recommendation and not a ruling. Yesterday, the Central Elections Committee rejected the attorney general’s opinion: The decision was that Ben Ari could run.
He testified before the committee, saying:
“…Gentlemen, I’m not a racist, and certainly not any of the other ugly charges. You can turn Ben-Ari into a madman, and you can also relate to what I say clearly and coherently.
“…Those who are not loyal to us should go away. I also emphasize today: The Arabs who are loyal to the State of Israel, I have no problem with them.” (Emphasis added)
Ben Ari’s point is exceedingly important. His position is not racist, it is political: He does not reject Arabs as a group, but protests against those who undermine the state from within. The distinction is critical.
There was another of Mandelblit’s opinions that the Committee also rejected: They disqualified the Arab Balad party from running in the elections.
Do not hold your breath on any of this, however, as it is all going to be brought before the Supreme Court. And the betting is that the Court will reject the Committee decisions, or at least the one disqualifying Balad.
And some good news…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (pictured with Netanyahu) has announced that his nation will be opening a trade office, which will have “diplomatic status” in the center of Jerusalem in the next couple of weeks.
This, hopefully, is the first step towards an embassy.
Dream Doctors, the specially trained medical clowns of Israel, who work as part of the medical team in Israeli hospitals to ease the fear and enhance the healing of patients, also reaches out internationally to areas undergoing traumatic crises.
Since 2004, a group of Dream Doctors has been applying their skills to “scenes of indescribable despair, death and destruction across the world.” They have been to in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Australia, United States, England, Bulgaria and France. Sometimes, says veteran clown David Barashi, only their sense of mission keeps the team from being traumatized.
Here you see Barashi at work in Haiti after the earthquake:
Are we something special, or what?
Researchers at Bar Ilan University have uncovered yet another reason why sleep is important:
It is necessary for repair of DNA, which has been damaged during the day. This is important for the functioning of brain neurons.
On Tuesday, Israel Air Craft Industries and SpaceIL released a selfie taken by the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, 37,000 miles from earth, on a slow rotation over Australia. It is scheduled to land on the moon on April 11.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.