February 3, 2006

A Tip Too Far?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:26 pm by yisraelmedad

January 31, 2006

Is Israel on the verge of a major breakthrough forward or poised on the tip of a significant collapse? Are we approaching our tipping point?

Malcolm Gladwell is responsible for popularizing the term “tipping point” in his book of the same name published in 2000. He enriched our modern vocabulary by resurfacing a 1960s sociological term that described that moment when “one too many” black families arrived in a previously all-white neighborhood and the remaining white families moved out en masse, the so-called “white flight” phenomenon. When something unique transforms into something quite common, we now refer to this as “the tipping point”.

In commenting on the success of his book, Gladwell has said, “I like to think of it as an intellectual adventure story. It draws from psychology and sociology and epidemiology, and uses examples from the worlds of business and education and fashion and media.”

The tipping point is the convergence of a variety of factors (human, mechanical, biological or physiological) that then increase dramatically the rate at which any process proceeds, be it AIDS, a run on banks, a unexpected fashion or food success, or the collapse of previously held opinions.

The tipping point, though, can be an ominous threat, because once the convergence sets in, it is nigh impossible to contain the rapid development of the process. The factors that have lain latent unreservedly assert themselves with no restraining elements in place.

Israel, I suggest, is fast approaching its own particular tipping point.

Despite verbal assurances to the contrary, every Israeli politician running for election acknowledges his or her readiness to continue a territorial concessionist policy. Disengagement, as many of us knew, would prove to be a failure and that D-word is avoided in polite conversation.

It failed because it has not enticed the terrorists to halt their terror. Some 300 Kassam rockets have already fallen. Not only do the Kassams fly over the so-called “security barrier”, but suicide bombers have been successful and dozens of attempts to break out from Gaza have resulted in a dozen Arabs shot dead. Their future success is only a matter of time.

In the diplomatic sphere, Disengagement has definitely not improved Israel’s standing among the nations. The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice needed but one night to convince Ariel Sharon to backtrack on his promises to the Israeli public that he would not yield on measures that would protect our security at the Rafiach crossing. Israel found no support for its demand that the undemocratic Hamas be kept out of the Palestinian Authority elections, and it was revealed that the US State Department was expending foreign aid funds to promote the Fatah list in the balloting.

Whereas the PA has avoided fulfilling any one of its commitments, Israel’s leaders insist that Jewish residency in the area of the reconstituted Jewish national home be categorized as a crime and as an illegal act. In the excitement to bulldoze away the unlicensed outposts, Police Chief Moshe Karadi admitted he would be willing to shoot at protestors, and Meretz MK Ran Cohen suggested that those who damage olive trees be shot in the legs.

A major reason for this yielding is justified by the so-called demographic ‘threat’. Even if the harrowing statistics were correct, though I would claim they are not, no one has proffered an answer to the question of what happens when Israel in its pre-1967 borders faces the internal Arab demographics.

This internal disavowal of any Jewish or Zionist empathy, not to mention pride, in the face of a continued terror war by a declared enemy is astounding in its implications. A recent study supervised by Prof. Dahlia Mor of Rishon Lezion’s College of Management showed that the group most hated by all the Jewish sectors was the Palestinians, although only 32% of the leftists hated them. The second most hated group was the “settlers”, hated by 67% of leftists, 38% of centrists and 46% of secularists. Solidarity in the face of animosity has crumbled. Moreover, this would seem to indicate that Israelis are losing their national pride.

This is apparent in the attitude towards corruption. Kadima, a party projecting 40+ seats in the 17th Knesset, not only has attracted some of the more lackluster politicos around, but is riddled with persons with questionable public morality. Omri Sharon, if the state prosecution has its way, will go to jail. Sharon Sr., for all the sympathy any sick person deserves, has three times escaped criminal charges on technicalities and the less-than-objective opinion of Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz. Kadima’s new leader, Ehud Olmert, has himself escaped trial appearances just barely.

The political system, permitting elected parliamentary officials to avoid any direct accountability to those who elected them, encourages if not apathy, then surely indifference. More and more of our media broadcasting is given over to silly entertainment, while serious discussions on major issues and investigative reporting, which would add to the public’s ability to judge those who make the fateful decisions, are minimized.

Israel is placing its trust in too many fallible people and policies. Shunning the assertion of Jewish rights, avoiding current problems that only undermine our future, and ignoring a reinvigoration of Zionist principles has led Israel to the brink of a tipping point that may prove too steep a slope to be re-climbed.

Not another Disengagement, even disguised as rearranging Jerusalem’s municipal borders, nor a redrawing of our “defensible borders”, is the correct agenda issues. Israel, once tipped over, may never right itself.


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