Thursday, July 27, 2023


As a newborn, Israel did not receive the warm welcome it might have been entitled to. After the horror of the Shoah, the Jews wanted a land to call home. Unfortunately the circumstances and history did not work in favor of this new country, which was resented by some and unloved by most.

These unbecoming beginnings did not stop the Israelis from creating the ultimate miracle in the most inauspicious circumstances. In a fortnight the country reinvented itself into a military, economical, technological, and creative powerhouse. It won the wars and the minds but too seldom did it win the hearts.

Its early leaders were visionaries. Thanks to the foresight of President Sadat and the input of America Israel found a footing internationally. Its Palestinian cardinal sin became almost curable despite the PLO's earlier aberrations and the Arab's "nonchalance" regarding the two-state solution.

The better mood from Oslo was short-lived. The various personalities who had found some inroads into a hopeless situation disappeared or ran out of creative ideas. Sadat and Rabin paid for their audacity. Then came Netanjahu, formidable personality, who was never able to forgive the killing of his brother Yonatan who led the rescue operation of the hostages in Entebbe in 1976 at the hand of a joint Baader Meinhof /Palestinian terror group operation.

The American Secretary of State James Baker could not stomach Netanjahu's arrogance then and the normal ties between Israel and the West never recovered from mutual suspicion and prejudice. 

The current political turmoil in Israel and the growing influence of the settlers and the religious orthodox right who became Netanjahu's hard-core supporters have further corroded the natural flow of shared interests between the democratic West and Tel Aviv.

One should beware of too hasty judgements. Actually, the tremendous protests in defense of the independence of the Israeli Supreme Court are a vital sign that democracy stays alive and well. This is not Hungary after all.  It is important to remain a reliable ally in such times (which remind us of January 6 in Washington D.C., by the way.) The outcome of this major crisis is hard to predict. It is essential, however, that the position towards the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary therein be made clear by the EU (an uphill battle).

All had better return to their sketchbooks and finally work out once and forever a two-state solution (for which various models exist by the way, but torpedoed by Arafat in the (in-)famous Camp David meeting in 2000.)

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