Israel’s Leaders

We spend a lot of time in Israel complaining about our political leadership. Often, for good reason. It is only fitting, therefore, that when they do a good job, we should be equally complimentary.

Israel’s leadership has been outstanding during Operation Pillar of Defense. They have combined the right mix of humility, forcefulness, preparedness, determination and compassion. Most importantly, they have embraced the very just defensive battle to protect Israel’s citizens from the years of Hamas rockets. That is what a government is supposed to do: defend its citizens.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has shunned the media spotlight andshowered praise on the brave citizens who have been forced to spend their nights “sleeping” in shelters and concrete pipes and who have been forced to spend their days scooping up their kids and running for cover. He has had a steady hand in managing the battle and an outstreched hand to a cease fire under the right circumstance.

The same goes for Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Unlike the bluster displayed by Defense Minister Amir Peretz during the second Lebanon War when he famously promised Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah that he would not forget Amir Peretz, current defense minister Barak has been reserved and restrained. The attack has been well coordinated and has learned the lessons of the lebanon war by calling up reserves early. As has been said already, even Peretz has had a redeeming hour for his persistence in developing the Iron Dome rocket protection. This war would be very different if 300 missiles landed on houses in Israel.

Foriegn Minister Lieberman and Ambassador to the US Michael Oren have managed the diplomatic efforts with aplomb. It is never easy to manage Israel’s image in the foriegn press and with European Government but the United States and Europe have stood behind Israel and our online efforts have been superb. Kudos are due to the foreign Ministry,The Army Spokesman, The Prime Ministers office and the citizens of Israel for the supreme efforts in pressing our message online.

The one exception to this great display of leaderrship is Shas leader Eli Yishai, who publicly said that “We will return Gaza to the Middle Ages.” If he believes this, it is disgusting and wrong. If he does not believe it and he said it, then he is a moron. He does not belong in the Prime Minister’s inner cabinet which has been a model of leadership.

There are two more true leaders that have emerged during this war. Army Joint Chief of Staff Maj. General Benny Ganz and young Naftali Bennet, the new Chairman of the National Religious Party. Major General Ganz has restored calm and humble leadership to the IDF. He has eschewed publicity and focused on running this complicated war. He has clearly built a management team (area commanders) that is competent and confident and does not need to wear it on its sleeve.

And young Naftali Bennet has done an incredible job of telling Israel’s story to the world. Doing round the clock interviews on CNN, BBC, Fox and others, Bennet has cogently and calmly made Israel’s moral case clear. Like he said, this is a war against terrorists who kill their own people and ours and it must be waged.

Lastly, to our brothers and sisters, who on a moment’s notice ran to the battle front to morally and ethically defend their brothers and sisters in the South and Center of our small country: you are the most inspirational leaders we have.

Thank you all.

[Originally published on 20th November 2012 by MIchael Eisenberg]