When Chiefs of Staff Jump Head-on Into the Political Waters
(L to R) Israel's former army chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot, Defense Minister and Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz, and Justice Minister and New Hope party chief Gideon Sa'ar pose for pictures during a joint press conference in the central city of Ramat Gan on Aug. 14, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

When Chiefs of Staff Jump Head-on Into the Political Waters

Ma’ariv, Israel, August 21

Gadi Eisenkot arrived at his new party bearing no gifts. No one accompanied him on his journey. His only qualification is the title he carries as the former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff. Anyone who watched the launch event of his “new” party couldn’t help but pity the three speakers, Eisenkot, Benny Gantz, and Gideon Sa’ar. All three were, to the best of my impression, reading from the same PR book, and it looked completely pathetic. Although all three men made sure to repeat the words “unity” and “togetherness,” it seemed that the only slogan that united all three was “anything but Bibi.” However, even an objective observer, not like me, could not help but ask himself what they mean when they talk about “statesmanship.” The drafters of Israel’s Declaration of Independence were careful to emphasize, time after time, that they were announcing the establishment of a Jewish state; and their intention was completely clear. The Jewish people established their own national homeland. The flag and the anthem are Jewish. The Star of David is displayed in the center of the flag between two blue stripes and in the anthem only the yearning of the Jewish people for their homeland is mentioned; not that of any other peoples or nations. This founding charter makes no reference to “statesmanship.” It’s also unclear what statesmanship-like values are. Eisenkot can, for example, think that deporting tens of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria in order to establish a “Palestinian state” there is “statesmanship.” Either way, past experience proves that the chiefs of staff who jump into the political waters don’t really contribute to our ability to deal with the challenges facing Israel. On the contrary, many of them join the political arena half-baked, lacking fundamental experience and values. Eisenkot, like many of those who fell to us from the heights of their seat in the IDF, tried to hide his views – excluding, of course, the one concerning Binyamin Netanyahu – but it isn’t unlikely that he would be ready to order another evacuation of Jews from their homes in order to prevent, according to him, a “binational” state. This would be a continuation of the stupidity parade started by Ariel Sharon, in whose office he previously served as military secretary, after completing a similar position under Ehud Barak. This leads me to believe that the luck of the Jewish people – and the millions of Jews who came here, like my parents, due to their faith in the Zionist vision – is that the founding fathers saw things in a different light. The Law of Return, for example, the one that opened the gates to every Jew in the world to come to Israel, would today be thrown into the trash by the Supreme Court using ethereal progressive concepts, borrowed from cultures that the Jewish people have nothing to do with. This is ultimately what these elections are about. – Haim Misgav (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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