The outrageous remarks contained in an open letter from a group of far-left artists, authors and politicians preceding and following the appointment of Major General Yaakov Amidror (res.) as the new head of the National Security Council succeeding Uzi Arad are beneath contempt. They reflect the exaggerated self-importance in which these elements view themselves and represent a case study highlighting the hypocrisy and depths to which sanctimonious leftists continuously preaching about right-wing incitement, are themselves willing to stoop in order to defame their political opponents.
Amidror commenced his career in the army as a paratrooper in 1966 and served in Gaza and the Golan during the Six Day War. He was rapidly promoted culminating his career as a Major General, appointed military secretary to the Defense Minister and finally head of IDF Military Intelligence – all roles in which he served the nation with distinction.
He became a central target of the far left because whilst head of IDF Intelligence, he bitterly opposed Prime Minister Sharon’s disastrous unilateral disengagement from Gaza. What particularly infuriated and embittered them was that his prediction that the withdrawal would bring about an intensification of missile attacks from terrorists regrettably proved to be only too true. At the same time, it should be noted that despite his bitter opposition to the withdrawal, Amidror adamantly opposed and publicly castigated those religious Zionists and rabbis who were willing to encourage soldiers to disobey military orders, even including the traumatic eviction of the Gush Katif settlers.
Since retiring in 2002, Amidror has written and published prolifically on military affairs, was vice-president of the Jerusalem Lander Institute and has been a major contributor to the leading Israeli think tanks, including the Jerusalem Council for Public Affairs.
Amidror further incurred the wrath of the left when during the course of Operation Cast Lead, he urged that the IDF be enabled to carry on the battle until Hamas had been toppled.
Underlying all the factors infuriating the left over Amidror’s appointment is the fact that he is a religious Zionist — the first religious officer to have been promoted to the general staff.
The so called “intellectuals” signing the defamatory open letter to the media included Shulamit Aloni, David Tartokover, Naomi Chazan, Yehuda Bauer, Yoram Kaniuk and Hannah Maron. While some of the signatories are intellectuals, artists, and academics, the list also includes failed politicians and mediocre literati. They are described in the Hebrew media as “anshei ruach” – suggesting that they are gifted with intellect or spirituality. The reality is that sharing far-left political views does not endow them with any right or claim to any moral high ground. In fact, some of them are renowned for their stupidity.
It is thus unfortunate that every time such a group issues a letter condemning the right, they are given front page exposure in Haaretz and other Israeli media outlets who consciously or unconsciously present them as custodians of national morality.
In this case, to describe the content of the letter against Amidror as unconscionable is an understatement. It is a clear case of willful distortion and defamation.
The signatories endeavored to portray Amidror as a wild and demented lunatic. They even went to the lengths of quoting a colorful aside he had uttered in response to a question about dealing with soldiers refusing orders to charge and distorting to suggest that he had formally called for the death penalty to be employed under such circumstances.
Those crafting the letter also displayed their ignorance when they alleged that as a Shabbat observant Jew, Amidror should never be permitted to hold a senior military position as he could endanger those relying on immediate responses. Of course anyone with a minimal understanding of Halacha is aware that a soldier is obliged to sets aside the Sabbath when confronting danger.
The actual wording of the letter is truly despicable. It described Amidror as a “fascist” stating that his “approach not only positions his worldview in the fascist stance of the 1930s, but also looks like a copy of the atmosphere of domestic terror …that paved the way for the destruction of the second Temple.”
The behavior of the extreme left over this issue reflects the exaggerated self-importance they attribute to themselves as well as their appalling use of the language of incitement which makes a mockery of their repeated claims that the right are responsible for creating an atmosphere of terror and distrust.
It will be interesting to see whether the moderate left are sufficiently responsible to distance themselves from these irresponsible outbursts against a former IDF officer who has an impeccable and distinguished record of service to the nation.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post