This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

egozi's fury featureWhat does the decision to stop IDF patrols in the towns next to the Gaza border have in common with the insultingly low salaries of enlisted IDF personnel? That’s what – a combination of stupidity, lack of understanding and inflexibility. The decision to stop the patrols is one of the strangest ever made by the defense establishment. The residents, who live under almost constant Qassam bombardment, want the soldiers there at their side, but someone high up decided that they’re no longer necessary. We’ve seen many crooked military decisions lately, here’s another one.

On Friday Channel 2 presented a decades-old document which includes the basics on which the soldier’s salary is based. The document is completely detached from reality. The prices of some basic products mentioned in it, for example, have since grown by more than 1000%, but it’s still in use. An enlisted soldier with no financially stable parents is a poor soldier, and the state of Israel should be ashamed. Two decisions, two time zones – the same stupidity.

***

The decision on the defense budget, not to mention the entire campaign which preceded it in the government and the defense establishment, is a bad joke. Who really knows what the true budget is? Maybe three people. And yet everyone keeps blaming and arguing without knowing the facts. This entire debate has again shown that the government makes decisions without having all the relevant information. Some decisions, by sheer dumb luck, are never carried out, and so will be the case with the defense budget, nothing will change. The IDF will get exactly what it needs, and all the politicians who shouted for and against any changes will remain curiosities on yellowed newspaper pages.

***

The Hamas terrorists in Gaza are devious. They knew that after the discovery of the huge terror tunnel the IDF will demolish it, after everyone important got their photos taken at the entrance, of course. So they planted explosives in the area, which caused the injuries of a few soldiers. It was expected, but someone apparently didn’t take into account the fact that terror states like North Korea and Iran act as advisers to Hamas. You don’t need intelligence for that, you just need to pay attention to the news. The attack on the IDF soldiers could have been avoided if someone finally understood that the Hamas is more sophisticated than people usually assume. But the Hamas sees the Air Force bombard “launch pads” after every attack on Israel, and it sees that the Israelis have no idea who they’re up against.

***

“The Palestinian negotiating team quit!” was spread all across the headlines. Someone with a good PR sense created an artificial drama in these stale, dead-end talks. So the team didn’t really quit, but the results will be the same – and they won’t include a peace agreement. Even the immense pressure by the U.S. on the two sides can’t bring these two mountains together. There won’t be a peace agreement and every penny Israel spent on these talks should have been spent elsewhere – on IDF soldiers’ salaries, for example.

IHLS – Israel Homeland Security

The dramatic decision to build additional homes in the west bank, in order to balance the reckless release of murderers, is a joke: Israel continues to build in the west bank no matter what, so that was just a headline too, a show meant for the Israelis who didn’t understand what Israel will get in exchange for the release.

***

The headlines boldly declared “the U.S. will hand six V-22 VTOL aircraft to Israel.” Most journalists don’t use the archives, apparently, because if they had they would understand that there’s nothing new about the American statement. Every visit by the Prime Minister or other ministers to Washington in the last year was followed by the same declarations. The Air Force tested the aircraft, decided it wants it and will purchase it with funds from the American defense aid to Israel. But who remembers yesterday’s news? Everything gets recycled here, plastic bottles and weapons deals. Everything.

***

Boaz Harpaz’s interviews over the weekend gave us some more insight into the sordid affair. We’re not police investigators, but when faced with so many versions it’s clear that something was very, very wrong in the highest offices of the defense establishment. The only priorities of these offices should be the security of the state of Israel, but as it turns out most of the efforts went towards intrigue and political backstabbing. Only a serious criminal investigation by the police could expose the truth and restore the citizens’ confidence in the IDF leadership. If that won’t happen we’ll keep smelling something bad every time we go past the Kiryah in Tel Aviv.

***

The South African government stands by the Palestinians and boycotts Israel. No problem. Israel doesn’t have any business with South Africa. The country was once a prosperous island in Africa, but is now suffering from a growing economic crisis because no one seems to be able to manage it properly. It has every reason to cooperate with Israel, in defense as well as economy. But if they don’t want to, then no. They can handle their own affairs. The Israeli government should tell them that they’re not impressed: If you don’t want to visit Israel then no problem, but you won’t get any assistance from us. If South Africa prefers the Palestinians then it’s their problem, but we must stand firm against this country, who was one Israel’s African ally. Al Qaeda already has a presence in South Africa, as part of the organization’s takeover of some African states. So far the South Africans proved unable to handle this incursion. If they want the Palestinians as their friends, let them. Any country can choose its allies, but a boycott? We have to turn our backs on South Africa completely.