Not withstanding Aryeh Deri’s assure that he will ensure that the agreement inked with interim prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it looks, at least right now as if Benny Gantz has sacrificed his political ambitions for the sake of the country. In other words, he has at last put Israel First, and in doing so, has shown that he after all a patriot.
A patriot is described as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors”.
Following events yesterday, I thought often of Samuel Johnson’s 1775 pronouncement that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.
Johnson, in fact was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism, the brand of patriotism that Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon appear to have embraced.
Lapid and Ya’alon feel cheated, let down by Gantz. And under normal circumstances they have a strong argument. However, these are not normal times. Whether or not we wish to call the conflict with the cornavirus a war or not, is pure semantics. The bottom-line is that we in Israel, and the world in general is in a fight for survival. For Israel, it’s a battle like no other.
In the many wars and conflicts Israel has fought since 1948, there has always been at some support both external support and arbitration and mediation by a third party or parties, which the other side has eventually agreed to. With the coronavirus, there is no other side, there is mediation or negation. It’s a fight for survival.
And while I salute Lapid and Ya’alon for their steadfastness, now is not the time to stand on principals when the country is at war. Neither would take a stand if the country was attached by an foreign army, of this I am sure. So, its surprising that given the unique circumstances Israel is currently in, they don’t rally to the flag and do all in their power to ensure victory.
Right now, they appear to be two school boys sulking over not being offered a bag of sweets.
And if it does turn out that Benny Gantz is hoodwinked in the months to come by Netanyahu, Gantz can take solace in the fact that in the end, he did the right thing, even if his route was somewhat protracted.
What history will make of Lapid and Ya’alon, remains to be seen.
Edmund Burke’s. often quoted “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, could in this time of crisis well be directed at Lapid and Ya’alon.