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A Leadership Vacuum and the Threat of Fascism

By       Message Uri Avnery     Permalink
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Because of a Small Nail

HAD HAMLET been a reserve soldier in the Israeli army, he might now declare: "Something is rotten in the State of Israel!"

And indeed, something is rotten -

- The President of the State refuses to suspend himself, in face of eight individual accusations of sexual harassment. He whines about a monstrous conspiracy against him and points at Netanyahu's men in the Likud.

- The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense refuse to resign, in spite of the overwhelming majority of the public's expressed lack of confidence in Ehud Olmert (70%) and Amir Peretz (82%). Instead of agreeing to the establishment of an independent judicial commission of inquiry, they have set up an examining committee that has already lost the confidence of the majority of the public - even before it has started to investigate the events of the Lebanon War.

- The Chief-of-Staff, under attack from retired and serving generals, declares that he "will not take off his uniform until somebody tears it off."

- The chairman of the Knesset Foreign and Military Affairs Committee is indicted for fraud and perjury.

- The Minister of Justice is on trial for pushing his tongue into the mouth of a female soldier.
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According to the polls, the overwhelming majority of the population is happy with their personal situation (80%) but depressed about the situation of the state (59%).

So what to do?

Simple: just change the system.

THIS IS a typical Israeli reaction. Perhaps typically human.

When a crisis threatens to upset the foundations of our perceptions, we tend to turn away from the main issue and concentrate all our attention on some detail. Thus we are relieved from questioning our basic beliefs and the world-view we are accustomed to. We take some detail, as small as possible, and put all the blame on it. That's it! Found it! That's the guilty part!
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As the old song goes: "All because of a small nail!" So when a major disaster occurs, we find the small nail that caused it, and we need not look further.

For example: the Yom-Kippur war. Why did this bloody war break out at all? Why didn't we accept President Anwar Sadat's earlier offer of peace in exchange for the return of the Sinai? Why did our Ship of Fools blithely sail from the Six-day war to the Yom-Kippur war on a sea of arrogance?

No, such questions were not asked. But what was asked? Things like: Why didn't the army intelligence department warn us that the Egyptians and Syrians were about to attack? Why weren't the reserve units called up in time? Why weren't the "instruments" (tanks and artillery) moved to the canal?

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