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Opinion: Israel’s Ultimate Scapegoat

How has the transformation of Benjamin Netanyahu into Israel’s national scapegoat become so pervasive, so without question or doubt that it is accepted as truth by many in Israel and too many others living in the diaspora? Is the Israeli public so gullible that it actually believes the mainstream media that portrays the war against Hamas with the object of demoralizing, depressing, and creating an atmosphere of witch hunting and blame instead of concentrating on the war effort? Netanyahu has become a dartboard for all that is wrong in Israel and all that is wrong with the war against Hamas.

Should you review the Israeli newspapers, in Hebrew or in English and watch the mainstream TV stations, you cannot escape the conclusion that everything is the fault of Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu. Don’t even think of blaming Yahya Sinwar, the barbaric and psychopathic leader of Hamas. No matter which channel, the malevolent message is identical; Netanyahu is extending the war against Hamas for his own political survival, Netanyahu is sidelining the generals—Benny Gantz, Yoav Gallant, and Gadi Eisenkot— despite them being an integral part of his own war cabinet, Netanyahu will ruin our relations with the Biden government and the rest of the European governments, Netanyahu puts his own political career over Israel’s vital interests. The list goes on and on and has nothing to do with reality and is not even slightly related to the high marks that the Israeli public have given the government in handling the war against Hamas in the South and Hezbollah in the north.

Only this past week, a letter signed by senior commanders of Israel’s military and intelligence leadership over the past decades has been circulating demanding the “immediate removal of Benjamin Netanyahu from the leadership of the State of Israel.” It almost seems like an Iranian bot of the type many Israelis got at the start of the war. The content of the letter is nothing new and rehashes demands of the same signatories from the past year during the anti-judicial reform demonstrations with an update as a result of the Oct 7th massacre.

In their letter they claim that Netanyahu represents an existential and ongoing threat to the people and to the State of Israel. These retired military and intelligence leaders who were personally responsible for developing Israel’s failed military, intelligence, and strategic doctrines and policies that guided and mandated the evolution of Israel’s military capabilities over recent decades, don’t even bother to mention the direct role of Iran and her proxies Hezbollah and Hamas that led to the Oct 7th massacre. As far as they are concerned Netanyahu is solely responsible, and they have doubled down with their condescension by refusing to be held accountable for decades of their devastating military doctrines that brought Israel to the current war with Hamas.

Moshe Ya’alon, Dan Halutz, Tamir Pardo, Nadav Argaman, Danny Yatom, and Assaf Hefetz are a few of the tens of left-leaning or ambitious former military and intelligence commanders that lead the list of signatories. What they fail to mention alongside the role of Iran and her proxies is the simple fact that they were at the head of Israel’s leading security agencies during the past thirty years during which Israel adopted one strategic catastrophe after another: The signing of the Oslo agreement, the Camp David agreement, the unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, the Second Intifada, the Second Lebanese War, and enabling, over the past decade, the Hamas terror organization to build the underground infrastructure and tunnels being currently systematically destroyed by the IDF under the orders and objectives expressed by the Netanyahu government. The list goes on and on, and instead of accepting some of the blame, they solely blame Netanyahu for everything, and take responsibility for nothing.

Helping these former military leaders in their attempt to cancel the results of Israel’s elections and the will of the Israeli public and their voting preferences is the Israeli mainstream media who have fallen over one another in their race to advance an agenda that claims that we in Israel are losing the war against Hamas. They claim at every opportunity that the war is unwinnable and that the IDF is demanded to do the impossible. Rather than emulating Israel’s heroes on the front lines, with thousands of examples of matchless bravery, sacrifice, and honorable bereavement on the part of the families of those that have given their lives protecting Israel, the media climb over on another and claim mendaciously that reserve soldiers are torn between serving and family. The high level of motivation expressed by hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the front lines who claim at every opportunity that Israel must finish the job and destroy Hamas and any future ability to threaten the residents of the Gaza Strip envelope and the State of Israel are ignored or dismissed.

The mainstream media has gone one step further. They claim that the economy is on the verge of a downturn and will soon implode. All this despite the coffee shops and gourmet restaurants being packed night after night in Tel-Aviv, traffic jams which have returned during rush hour, that the local stock market has reached heights, the local currency has strengthened against the dollar in recent weeks, and the unparalleled profits of the banking, insurance, and industrial sectors. Blaming Netanyahu all along the way.

The motivation behind making Netanyahu into the national scapegoat is less directly related to the war on Hamas but more in response to the Oct 7th massacre aftermath and greater forces at work here. As a result of the war, a number of political trends are emerging: The first has to do with the demise of the two-state solution and the political ramifications for the progressive/leftist political parties in Israel’s Knesset who have built their political reputation on this idea. A second trend emerging is that the Israeli public has shifted rightward politically and the progressive left will have a diminishing representation in any future elections. A third trend has to do with the public expectation for the establishment of a national commission of inquiry on the Oct 7th massacre after the war is won.

The generals and senior commanders who signed the letter to demand Netanyahu’s immediate resignation have a direct responsibility for decisions and policies that led to the Oct 7th massacre. In demanding that Netanyahu resign, they hope they can control the conclusions of any future commission of inquiry.

In a recent talk with Douglas Murray, Netanyahu said that what matters to him is not his “legacy” but the survival and success of the Jewish State. This past week in a recent press conference, Netanyahu touched on the idea that the progressive left and their cohorts in the mainstream media have nothing positive or worthwhile to say about Israel’s leader and the government that he heads. Netanyahu’s brilliant response says it all and was quoted widely over Israel’s social media: “I’ll keep fighting Hamas, and you’ll keep fighting me. That’s the division of labor.”

Ron Jager grew up in the South Bronx of New York City, making Aliyah in 1980. Served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units. Prior to retiring was Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGO’s and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities. Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world. To contact: medconf@gmail.com, Website: www.ronjager.com.

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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