Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Doron Rosenblum on Israel in 5768

From Ha'aretz:
To try to understand the spirit of the times, we need to go back a generation, to the War of Attrition, when Moshe Dayan delivered his "fear not, my servant Jacob" speech to the Command and Staff College: "Jacob, do not be fearful, do not be cowardly, you are fated to live in constant struggle, and heaven forbid you fail by cowardice," he said. Many were shocked that just two years after the great victory of the Six-Day War, Dayan could say "constant struggle." Yet, in the years since then we have known wars, peace treaties, a sea of terror and unilateral withdrawals, but never has the hope for rest been abandoned, never have the wishes and the yearnings stopped: if not for a catharsis of full peace, then at least for a type of tension-relaxing settlement.

Barak's return to the Defense Ministry is more significant than it looks. He is "corresponding" in a certain sense with Dayan's period as both chief of staff and defense minister: in personal courage, spirit of adventure and pessimism. From now on, then, we are going to have many murky operations about which silence is golden, many smart-aleck tricks and thrilling stratagems, a lot of action, abductions and counter-abductions, reprisals and painful counter-reprisals. Sometimes things will be happy, at other times the opposite. But that is what "living by the sword" looks like, in case you were wondering.