Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tel Aviv Rising

''I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings,'' Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Israeli Secret Service said this past week. The gathering was to celebrate Israeli’s Independence Day in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Saba. He was speaking in code.

One cannot use the word “messianic” in Israel today and mean it purely metaphorically. Diskin did not just mean that Netanyahu was acting zealously or with an arguably exaggerated sense of mission. His criticism reportedly focused on what he took to be Prime Minister Netanyahu's threats against Iran. But he also expressed concern about a government that apparently has “no interest” in negotiations with the Palestinians, and he stressed concern about relations with Washington.

The problem—which Diskin’s double entendre conveyed perfectly—is that Israel’s current leadership either believes, or has made itself hostage to people who believe, that a messianic era really has been at hand since the 1967 war: that a sacred land has been liberated for Jews to “return” to and the country is protected by something like a divine plan. These ideas, praise God, are finally starting to drive more nearly educated Israelis—centrists, even peace skeptics—a little nuts.

Read on at The Daily Beast