THE MACCABEAN ONLINE
Published by the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
VOLUME 17             B"H   December 2009             NUMBER 12


POLITICAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY ON ISRAELI & JEWISH AFFAIRS
"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest"


TABLE OF CONTENTS
December 2009

 

EDITORIALS
  • WE NEED HEROES TODAY - LET US BE LIKE MACCABEES ..............Bernard J. Shapiro

    ISRAELI POLITICS
  • TRIVIAL DEMONSTRATIONS VERSUS POLITICAL REVOLUTION ..............Prof. Paul Eidelberg

    ISRAELI MILITARY
  • ISRAEL'S PTA COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ..............Caroline Glick

     

    THE MACCABEAN ONLINE [ISSN 1087-9404] Edited by Bernard J. Shapiro
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    WE NEED HEROES TODAY
    Let Us Be Like Maccabees

    By Bernard J. Shapiro
    Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
    December 13, 2009

    The year is 70 C.E. and a young Roman legionnaire stands on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. While he watches it burn, he says to his comrades in Latin, "Judea Capta Est" (Judea is conquered).Yet like the legendary phoenix, rising from the ashes of its own destruction, Israel burst onto the world's stage 2000 years later, with the cry of a lusty infant yearning to breathe free. Five Arab armies tried to destroy that new life before it could take hold. With blood and fire, including the sacrifice of one per cent of its population (6000 of its best young people), besieged Israel secured its independence.

    Just nine short years earlier, European Jewry faced its most devastating experience, the Holocaust. In the areas under Nazi occupation, the Jewish death rate was 90%. Despite revolts in dozens of camps, and heroic resistance with the partisans of free Europe, the Jews were unorganized, unarmed and ultimately became victims. During both the Holocaust and Israel's War of Independence, the world and its leaders were indifferent, if not hostile, to the fate of the Jews.

    Jews in their own land, with their G-d, have great power, much more than the sum of arms and men. During Chanukah we should recall the legacy of the Maccabees. Remember how two "Hellenized Jews," Jason and Menelaus tried to destroy Judaism and force assimilation on the Jewish population. For generations we have taught our children about the evil Antiochus and his attempt to suppress the Jews. In reality, there were traitors among our own people who led the way for Antiochus.
     
     
     
     
    There arose in Israel an almost similar situation when Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin led a leftwing coalition that was blatantly hostile to everything Jewish. They forced Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to go along with their nefarious schemes. They pushed through the Oslo Accords in the Knesset which surrendered the heartland of Eretz Yisrael, promised in perpetuity to Abraham and his descendants by G-d. The educational system in Israel was then revamped to eliminate the study of Jewish sources like the bible. They cultivated hatred of all things Jewish and especially religious Jews. Units of the Israel Defense Forces were recruited from the non-religious population for the sole purpose of suppressing and possibly destroying the religious villages of YESHA.

    Peres, Yossi Beilin, Avraham Burg and other extreme leftists, anxious to win favor with the Arabs, much like Jason and the Greeks, planned to give away Israel's strategic assets. Territory is not important if your new god is economics. While the Israeli government renounced anything Jewish, including Holy Sites, the Arabs sought strength and comfort in a revived Islam. Nothing portrays the difference better between the Arabs and the Jews than how each views his religion. Young Arab men, promised paradise, cry "ali Akbar" (G-d is Great), then sacrifice their lives to kill Jews in one great jihad. Jewish soldiers filed to respond to the enemy, uncertain about their open-fire instructions, demoralized by a government, which lies to them about the advent of peace.

    Unfortunately there seems to be no passion for Zionism in Israel today. It is true there are many good Zionists, both religious and secular. But where is the passion, the action. I hear a lot of excuses for non-action. I am told:

    1. The Secret Service, the police, the IDF and the courts are too strong. They will suppress any action.

    2. Building settlements is better than any other form of action.

    3. We need more Jews to come on aliya to solve the problem

    While all of the above are true, they are still excuses.

    I have heard all of the above for 16 years. In that period Israel’s political and strategic situation has declined dramatically. Its deterrence level is so low now that we are close to an existential defeat.

    HOW TO RECOVER FROM THIS DEVASTATING SITUATION

    1. Annex all of Eretz Yisrael from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, from the Golan to Gaza.

    2. Return all JNF land to the Jewish people and allow free Jewish development without government controls. The land should be sold at fair price to Jews and the money should go into a fund for national water, environmental and park development.

    3. Loyalty oath and national service for all citizens of Israel, including Arabs.

    4. Change the courts, police, secret service to be pro-Jewish instead of pro-Arab

    5. Fully take over the Temple Mount, ousting the Moslem quasi-rulers, but allowing peaceful Moslem prayer. Jewish prayer in all appropriate areas without restriction.

    6. Turn the IDF back into a feared force in the Middle East. Create a correct Jewish ethics that protects Jewish soldiers even when terrorists operate in civilian areas. As this applies to Gaza, the Hamas terrorist state should be subject to massive artillery fire and aerial bombardment followed by invasion to totally annihilate the terrorist infrastructure.

    HOW TO FORCE THE ABOVE CHANGES

    TECHNIQUES

    1. Demonstrations -- the larger the better. Demonstrations will not in and of themselves to change government policy. Good media coverage is essential to give the population a feeling that the tide of history is turning against the regime.

    2. Civil disobedience --
    the key to success. There is one essential requirement for forcing a government to change policy. That is for a determined group of people  willing to go to jail, be beaten by police, and possibly be killed in the pursuit of their political aims. More will follow later on organizing civil disobedience.

    3. The Wrench In The Machinery Of Government

    A Physical -- roads and bridges can be blocked by slow or stalled cars.

    B. Electronic -- computer networks, telecommunications can be adversely affected [10,000 people calling government offices at the same time can paralyze the system].

    C. Psychological -- photos can be taken of police and military personnel who become involved in violent action against peaceful demonstrators. Available now are miniature video cameras that can be worn inconspicuously and send live feed to distant computers. At a time and place of your choosing their names can be revealed - you can compromise those security officers involved in non-democratic violence against demonstrators. Their names and photos can be publicized, leading to fear and a sense of insecurity.

    4. Self Defense - ONLY TO DEFEND ONE'S LIFE
    A. Armed resistence to non-democratic police and military actions is not the best course of action since the military, police and security services will always be stronger and better equipped.

    B. Open revolt against authority - Democracies are primarily based on voluntary compliance with the legal system. When that democracy ceases to govern in the best interests of its citizenry, with its security and survival, then it is lawful and justified to resist authority. This includes refusing to pay taxes, following illegal orders of the non-democratic army, traffic regulations etc.

    C. Mass demonstrations, including the right of self-defense, are meant to intimidate the police and the government. The horrible vision of civil war will restrain the government. Knowing that the Zionist/Right will not physically resist, gives the government strength to pursue suicidal policies. The policy of not striking back at the Left (as experienced during the "season") begun in the pre-state days by Menachem Begin has had the effect of emasculating the Right in its relations with the Left.

    STRATEGY

    While it is preferable to wage a non-violent campaign, there are certain lessons one can learn from the Israel Defense Forces.

    1. Most important: Do not give the enemy time to rest and re-group. The IDF always advances in one massive push to victory, never allowing the enemy a respite. The same must be true of the demonstrations against Netanyahu. It is a mistake to agree to a truce. This time will be used to organize special police units including female police officers to handle demonstrators. The government has already learned that reservists do not like this heartrending undemocratic task.

    2. Attack in many places at once, causing physical and psychological stress on the enemy. Demonstrators should not just take over hills in YESHA, but should take over government offices from Eilat to Metulla. Roads should be blocked all over the country. In Jerusalem, with its many government offices and a supportive religious population, you should be able to create and sustain chaos.

    CONCLUSION

    Half measures will not work. Either we want to save Eretz Yisrael  or we don't. You can not be both meat and milk. It was the IDF's failure to destroy the intifada that led to much of our trouble. Remember the principle of vaccinations: a tiny doze of the disease that allows the body to build its immune system. Half-measures allowed the tyranny of previous Israeli govenments to crush the Zionist forces. This alloed them time to develop a resistance to the demonstrations. We must take the momentum and build continuously to the day of victory. The decision is ours.

    Let us be Maccabees again. Let us go into battle with the Maccabee cry, "All who are with G-d, follow me!" With the words: "Who is like untoThee O G-d (the acronym of which spells out he word Maccabee in Hebrew) inscribed on their flags, the G-d inspired Jewish army swept the much larger enemy from the field in a great victory. It is this victory for which we celebrate Chanukah and not just the miracle of the oil burning eight days.

    There is a simple but crucial lesson for us all in the above events. If we as Jews turn our backs on our religion and our G-d, we can expect disaster. The current government of Israel has brought down the wrath of G-d on the Israeli people for turning its back on our heritage. Like Judah Maccabee, angered by the treason of Jason and Menelaus, and outraged by Antiochus, we must revolt against Olmert, Livni and Barak.. The nationalist opposition in Israel must unite behind one Zionist banner. They must fill the streets and jails with protesters. City after city must be shut down.

    Victory will not fall into our lap. It must be fought for and won. We must demonstrate that the strength of our will and the power of our belief can not be defeated. Don't just believe in miracles. BE THE MIRACLE. Only then will victory come.
     
     
    ==========
    Bernard J. Shapiro is the Chairman of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies www.freeman.org and the Editor of its publications.
     

     


     

    Trivial Demonstrations versus Political Revolution*  
     
    Prof. Paul Eidelberg
     
     
    The December 9 protest demonstration against the Government’s 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria lacks a positive revolutionary goal. Admittedly, to speak of a political revolution in Israel is like tilting at windmills.
     
    The mentality of most Israelis, including opponents of the government, is thoroughly bourgeois and democratic.  Because bourgeois democrats are primarily motivated by the desire for comfort and security, they are politically moderate on the one hand, and constitutionally opposed to the hazards of revolution on the other.
     
    Moreover, a large percentage of these democrats are Jewish humanists, the most anti-revolutionary species imaginable.  They practice what Christians preach: "love your enemies," "turn the other cheek," "do not resist evil." Of course they are terribly fearful of “world opinion.”
     
    Some ten thousand Jews have been murdered or maimed by Arab terrorists since Oslo 1993—thanks to the government’s policy of “self-restraint.”  Nevertheless, Jews look upon the government’s complicity in murder with bewilderment and resignation.  To expect revolution from such Jews is to expect lambs to metamorphose into lions.
     
    Besides, the government controls all the levers of power:  military, economic, the media, etc.  When to all this you add the “legitimacy” accorded the government by its undeserved reputation as a “democracy,” talk of revolution in this country appears futile.
     
    Not that most Israelis support the government’s policy of territory for peace or its 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.  But few know what to do about these cowardly policies.  Since Oslo, amateurs have squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars on demonstrations, full-page ads, law suits, and other efforts against the government’s treachery.
     
    The leaders of these demonstrations have learned nothing from these negative and politically uninspiring demonstrations. On the other hand, notice how they foreswear “violence” and thereby inform the repressive forces of government they will not cross the lines of what is deemed “legitimate” in a “democracy.”   Why say anything?  Why not let the government worry about the scope of your intentions? 
     
    Besides, isn’t there a vast disproportion between the placid character of Israeli demonstrations and the suicidal consequences of the government’s territorial policies?  These demonstrations trivialize the government’s semi-fascist character.
     
    Contrast the revolutionary protests against the Iranian government when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the presidential election of June 12 of this year.  Why wasn’t there an equivalent revolutionary protest against the Likud government when Ariel Sharon adopted Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement, a policy rejected by no less than 70 percent of the public in the January 2003 election?
    True, Iran is not a reputed democracy.  But this suggests that Israel’s democratic reputation underlies the futility or political vacuity of demonstrations against the government’s defeatist policies.
     
    There was not even a milk-and-toast demonstration against Netanyahu’s June 14 speech at Bar-IlanUniversity, when, without public or Knesset debate, he endorsed the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state in Judea and Samaria.  Six months later, it required his 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria to produce another futile demonstration, which makes Israelis look anemic compared to the Iranians risking their lives still protesting against Ahmadinejad’s purloined election.
     
    It seems that countless Jews in this country have been emasculated by the myth of Israeli democracy.  They do not see that Israel has a “prime ministerial” form of government virtually equivalent to a democratically elected dictatorship. 
     
    Israeli prime ministers can betray the nation with impunity, without fear of impeachment or removal by the Knesset.  In fact, no Israeli prime minister, or no Likud-led, or Labor-led, or Kadima-led government has ever been toppled by a Knesset vote of no confidence!  The Knesset is a cipher.  Thus, if the SYSTEM is so designed as to render the Knesset as well as the cabinet immune to public opinion, protest demonstrations in this country are laughable: they even foster the myth of Israeli democracy!
     
    Still, people wonder why there has been no revolution in Israel.  They see that one government after another has betrayed the country, has yielded or offered Jewish land to Israel’s implacable enemies who openly proclaim their commitment to wiping Israel off the map.
     
    This genocidal objective is conspicuous not only in the maledictions of Ahmadinejad.  It is not only conspicuous in the Charter of the PLO-Palestinian Authority, which calls for “the complete liberation of Palestine.” It is not only conspicuous in the Hamas Charter, which states: "Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it."  No, this Islamic commitment, rooted in the Quran, is also conspicuous in the tourist maps of Egypt which, despite that country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, continue to depict the Land of Israel as “Palestine.”
     
    So people wonder why Israelis tolerate governments which, since Oslo, have illegally released and armed more than 7,000 Arab terrorists, many of whom have gone on to murder and maim more Jewish men, women, and children!  They wonder why the people of Israel did not even demonstrate against Netanyahu’s endorsement of an Arab-Islamic state in Israel’s heartland, a state that would require the expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria!
     
    Of course, public apathy precludes revolution.  But something more subtle is at work here.  What precludes revolution in this country is not only the myth of democracy.  Also operative is the deliberate obfuscation of the enormity of evil confronting Israel—the evil inherent Islam’s 1,400-year “Culture of Hate”—as Bat Ye’or has put it.  Islam’s clash with Western civilization has been obscured or trivialized not only by Israeli prime ministers.  Countless academics and journalists are ignorant of the pathological aspects of Islamic culture courageously exposed by Syrian-born psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan.  
     
    Binyamin Netanyahu is a prime example of obscurantism.  When he addressed a joint session of the American Congress in 1996, he gratuitously denied a clash of civilizations in the Middle East.  But how can any candid and sensible person write about Arab terrorism, as Netanyahu has, and fail to discern its primary cause, namely Islamic education.  One does not have to be as learned as Bat Ye’or to know that Islam’s Culture of Hate dominates the Middle East. (Ignore Barack Obama—Muslim or not—because his anti-American agenda precludes his being candid about Islam.)
     
    It’s reasonable to assume that Netanyahu agrees with the assessment of former head of Israel Intelligence Professor Y. Harkabi, who not only described Islam as an expansionist creed animated by jihad, but also documented the mendacity and murderous Jew-hatred engrained in Arab culture.
     
    Since this must be known to Netanyahu, what induced him to support the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state in Israel’s heartland?  That he laid down the condition that such a state must be demilitarized indicates he is at least aware of the militant and expansionist nature of Islam.  But he disregards or minimizes what Wafa Sultan sees in Islam: how its education dehumanizes women and brutalizes men; how it exults in death, and how the Quran’s commandment to hate Jews has ever been the daily diet of Muslim children.  Hence, Netanyahu’s wish to negotiate with the Palestinians is senseless or an effort to mollify Barack Obama as well as an exercise in mendacity.
     
    These derogatory remarks may also be applied to other Israeli prime ministers and cabinet ministers. Is it any wonder that the people of Israel are confused having so many liars and lemmings making the policies of their government?  Is it not obvious that mere demonstrations will not remedy Israel’s malaise?  Is it not obvious that nothing less than regime change or a constitutional revolution will be necessary to save Israel?
     
    The first stage in this revolution is to demonstrate that the people of Israel have been disempowered by their system of governance.  You must expose the impotence of the Knesset vis-a-vis the government.  You must reveal the pernicious consequences of a Knesset whose members are not individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections.  You must state that this lack of accountability enabled 29 MKs to hop over to rival parties in the 1999 election. You must show how this lack of accountability produced Oslo and the disengagement from Gaza—yes, and how it will facilitate the expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria. You must also show that multiparty cabinet government is the seedbed of corruption in Israel.
     
    Therefore, you must form a team of talented and courageous individuals who have not been part of the Establishment, a team that will drive this message home to the people.  Arouse the people to stand up and demand a government based on the primacy of Jewish ideas and on classical republican principles.  Only this positive goal can make a demonstration against the government more than a tempest in a teapot.    
    _______________________
    *Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, December 14, 2009.
     

     

     


     

    Column One: Israel's PTA commander-in-chief

    Dec. 24, 2009
    Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

     

    CAROLINE GLICK
    Unbeknownst to most Israelis, this week marked a critical shift for the worse in the regional balance of power. While IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was busy demanding that the government pay a ransom of more than a thousand terrorists for captive soldier Gilad Schalit, few paid attention to Iran's newest strategic successes.
     
    Over the past week Lebanon capitulated to the Iranian axis. Turkey solidified its full membership in the axis. And Egypt began to make its peace with the notion of Iran becoming the strongest state in the region.
    Less than five years after former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by Syria, his son Prime Minister Saad Hariri paid a visit to Damascus to express his fealty to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Days later, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited Beirut and began giving the Lebanese government its new marching orders.
     
    On Wednesday, Hizbullah forces deployed openly to the border with Israel under the permissive eye of the US-armed Lebanese army. Lebanon announced that it was no longer bound by binding UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that requires Hizbullah to disarm. And Hariri announced that he will soon visit Teheran.
     
    While Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his media echo chamber insist that Turkey has buried its hatchet with Israel, on Wednesday Prime Minister Recip Erdogan led a delegation with 10 cabinet ministers to Damascus. There, according to the Syrian and Turkish Foreign Ministries, they signed 47 trade agreements.
     
    This Turkish-Syrian rapprochement is not limited to economic issues. It is a strategic realignment. As Assad's spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban explained to Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam television channel, "We are working to establish close ties between Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq so these countries can act as one regional bloc in order to promote peace, security and stability in the Middle East, while keeping the West's dictates and lust for the region's natural and oil resources at bay."
     
    For years Egypt has been the most outspoken Arab opponent of Iran's moves towards regional hegemony. This past summer Egypt did not hesitate to accuse Teheran of trying to overthrow the regime when it discovered a network of Iranian-commanded Hizbullah operatives planning a massive terror assault on the Suez Canal.
     
    Yet on Sunday, Mubarak hosted Ali Larijani, Iran's former nuclear boss and current speaker of Iran's parliament in Cairo. Following their meeting Mubarak traveled to the Persian Gulf for consultations on Iran's nuclear program. Given Mubarak's poor health, the fact that his meetings with Larijani sent him flying to Saudi Arabia indicate that something of major importance has just occurred.
     
    Many IDF commanders are happy to leave the issue of Iran to the US, which they insist is capable and willing to deal with it. But the fact is that since Iran rejected President Barack Obama's diplomatic overtures, the US has shown clear signs of strategic dissonance.
     
    While Israel clings to the hope that sanctions might prevent Iran from going nuclear, this week that notion was exposed as a fiction. Although Obama gave the House of Representatives a green light to vote on sanctions against Iran, he quickly demonstrated that Teheran had no reason to worry.
    First Obama and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry blocked discussion of sanctions in the Senate. And now - with full White House backing - Kerry is trying again to appease the Iranians by begging them to let him visit Teheran. Clearly appeasement is the only play in Obama's book.
     
    Furthermore, China's refusal to back sanctions in the UN Security Council coupled with Lebanon's and Brazil's ascension to the council next month obviate any possibility that a harsh international sanctions regime will be instituted against Iran any time soon.
     
    FOR ISRAEL, Iran's successful moves to preempt American threats to isolate it should have been the top news story and the main issue on the government's and the General Staff's agendas. But it wasn't. Indeed, no one seemed to notice. They were otherwise occupied.
     
    For the past week, the government's security cabinet and the IDF's top commanders have devoted themselves entirely to discussing how many terrorists Israel will give Hamas in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Schalit. For three days, the security cabinet met around the clock to discuss this issue alone. And the most insistent advocate for accepting Hamas's demand that Israel release over a thousand terrorists has been IDF Chief of General Staff Ashkenazi.
     
    On Monday, Channel 2 reported that National Security Adviser Uzi Arad accused Ashkenazi of acting like the president of the IDF's parents' association rather than the chief of General Staff. Arad criticized Ashkenazi for demanding that Israel ransom the captive soldier while failing to supply the government with any option to use force to rescue Schalit.
     
    The media pounced on the Arad-Ashkenazi story like hungry wolves. The national debate was dominated for two days by the burning questions of whether or not Arad would apologize, and whether Netanyahu can continue to retain Arad's services after he insulted Ashkenazi.
    Conspicuously absent from the media's coverage of the spat was any discussion of the reasonableness of Arad's criticism. So, too, the media ignored the question of what - if anything - Ashkenazi's behavior tells us about the IDF mindset and disposition as Iran consolidates its regional power.
     
    The fact is that Arad's criticism was on point. Schalit has been captive in Gaza for more than three years. At no point has the IDF provided the government with an option for rescuing him.
    A year ago, Ashkenazi sent the IDF's best combat units into Gaza. During their stay, they were not ordered to rescue Schalit. And now, a year later, Ashkenazi is demanding that the government pay for the IDF's failure to rescue Schalit by accepting a deal that will imperil the country. And he is claiming that failure to do so will constitute nothing less than an abdication of Israel's moral responsibility to its soldiers.
     
    Following the publication of Arad's attack on Ashkenazi, the IDF's Spokesman's Office issued a statement that army commanders are fulfilling their "professional duties" by insisting that Israel ransom Schalit.
    This is untrue. It is not the professional duty of IDF commanders to opine on ransom demands. They have no professional qualifications to determine the reasonableness of ransom demands. In Jewish history, the role of ransoming captives has traditionally been the writ of rabbis, not military men. The writ of military men was to rescue them.
     
    The professional responsibility of the IDF is to provide the government with military options for achieving its strategic objectives - including rescuing Schalit. By failing to provide such options, the IDF - with Ashkenazi at its helm - has failed to uphold its professional responsibilities. Worse still, by demanding that the government endanger the country to ransom Schalit, Ashkenazi and his generals are telling us something distressing about how they define their role as military commanders.
     
    The IDF's apparent confusion about its role is not new. It was this confusion that led the army to fail to present the government with options for defeating Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006 or for defeating Hamas in Gaza last year.
    Whereas former prime minister Ehud Olmert properly received most of the blame for Israel's poor performance in the Second Lebanon War and in Operation Cast Lead, the fact is that it was the IDF that failed to deliver the goods. The operations the IDF designed, recommended and carried out in both campaigns were not meant to defeat Israel's enemies. All they were supposed to do was demonstrate Israel's firepower. And even this wasn't done particularly effectively.
     
    In 2006, then-chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz rejected a ground invasion of south Lebanon in favor of an air campaign. When it became clear some 24 hours into the operation that an air campaign would be incapable of defeating Hizbullah or even degrading its ability to paralyze northern Israel with short-range rockets and missiles, Halutz and his deputies refused to conduct a ground assault. And, when after three weeks of failure they finally deployed ground forces in significant numbers, they didn't know what to tell them to do.
     
    For his part, Ashkenazi sat on his hands for months as southern Israel was pummeled with rockets and mortars from Gaza and refused to offer the government a military option for protecting the South. When last December Hamas forced his hand by announcing that it was abrogating its cease-fire with Israel, Ashkenazi grudgingly agreed to let the IDF respond to its aggression. But even then, he opted for an operational concept that had no chance of defeating Hamas. Ashkenazi rejected the notion of retaking the Gaza-Egypt border. He refused to order IDF forces into Gaza's population centers. By opting not to do these things, Ashkenazi guaranteed that the IDF would accomplish little. Consequently, even top IDF commanders acknowledged this week that the army will be forced to return to Gaza in due course. There, thanks to Ashkenazi's refusal to defeat Hamas, Israel's soldiers will face a far more formidable foe than the one they were not allowed to defeat last year.
     
    While refusing to fight Israel's enemies, under Ashkenazi, like under Halutz before him, the IDF has enthusiastically attacked religious Zionists. Since 2002, the only sustained operation the army has carried out successfully was the expulsion of all Israelis from Gaza and northern Samaria in 2005.
    When Defense Minister Ehud Barak severed the IDF's ties with the Har Bracha Yeshiva last week, he was acting on Ashkenazi's advice. Ashkenazi has promoted anti-settler commanders like Col. Yitzhak Barr. As a brigade commander in Samaria, Barr has reportedly prohibited his soldiers from fraternizing with Israeli families on Shabbat and personally refused to visit IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Avichai Rontzky at his succa during Succot.
    EVERY DAY the dangers to Israel's security and very survival mount. At this time, the government and the people of Israel need to be able to trust in the IDF's ability to defend the country. Rather than earning that trust, those tasked with our defense are spending their time berating the political leadership for their own failures. Moreover, they are expressing a disturbing desire to pass the buck on fighting Israel's enemies while aggressively hounding Israelis.
     
    This situation is unacceptable. Either Ashkenazi and his generals should prove they are capable of performing their jobs, or they should be replaced.