David Grossman lost his son in the Lebanon 2006, arguably due to the ineptitude of the IDF and the political leadership, including Ehud Olmert. Even before then, Grossman was a noted Israeli dove solidly on the left of Israeli politics. He is critical of the attack on the flotilla, which is not surprising. However, there was one section of his op-ed that caught my eye. It states, politely, what I have been trying to communicate about the failures of those who are running Israel these days.

And somehow, all these calamities – including Monday’s deadly events – seem to be part of a larger corruptive process afflicting Israel. One has the sense that a sullied and bloated political system, fearfully aware of the steaming mess produced over the years by its own actions and malfunctions, and despairing of the possibility to undo the endless tangle it has wrought, becomes ever more inflexible in the face of pressing and complicated challenges, losing in the process the qualities that once typified Israel and its leadership – freshness, originality, creativity.

Freshness, originality and creativity. Yes, that is precisely what is lacking, as well as sensitivity to what is going on around the world to Israel and to Jews these days and an insensitivity to how Israeli actions are making things worse. Where is the inventiveness that we used to see Israel engage in, that today its high tech sector creates seemingly effortlessly? Did all the promising IDF commanders leave the army? Did all the promising politicians go into private industry? Israel always seemed to be able to do a great deal with very little, but it may well be that its powerful military has gotten so big and fat that they are focused on doing things without the ingenuity of an impoverished army. It might be that Israel’s politicians view themselves as leaders of a country that isn’t midget sized and instead believe that extensive media coverage make a country with a population smaller than Los Angeles into some mid-size power and they also no longer seek creative and original solutions to complex problems.

It would serve Israel well to bring back into focus the importance of doing things they way they had to when resources were far more scarce for them.

And yes, all of these events are symptoms. The illness, however, is that there’s no peace. To get to peace, Israel must be at its most original and most clever. Yes, the Palestinians are holding out and don’t want to sign a deal. However, it is the duty of the government to find a solution that will work. Olmert and Barak have laid the groundwork for a deal that Israel can live with and that, theoretically, should also satisfy Palestinian demands. No, not all of them, but many of them. The trick now, is for Israel to figure out how to press the supporters of the Palestinians and powerful brokers like the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia, to push the Palestinians into these deals.

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themiddle

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