Tuesday, February 1, 2011


By Schmoel Yitzhak

Once upon a time the genius of Israeli technology produced a fighter-bomber that was so special it was deemed the best in the world. It was called the Lavi and received world-wide critical acclaim.

Under normal conditions, an Israeli-designed airplane which passed all tests with flying colors would -- in reasonable time -- be produced and utilized in Israel by the country's own pilots.

Grimly, we have learned over the decades that simple logic does not apply when it comes to Israel's relations with its so-called allies; especially the United States of America.

In defiance of all reason, Uncle Sam said, "No, no, no -- a thousand times no; you can't build your own aircraft, you must buy your fighter-bombers from me."

And so rationality was tossed out the window and Israel -- against considerable pressure in Jerusalem -- caved in to Washington so that there could be more jobs for American aircraft workers.

Yes, Israel had an alternative move which would have involved more than a fair amount of chutzpuh.

That, of course, entailed telling the White House in no certain terms: "Hey, we appreciate why you want us to "Buy American," but this time it makes much, much much more sense for us to proceed with an Israeli plane for the Israeli Air Force.

No question, Uncle Sam would have responded with huffs and puffs, threats and more threats but you can bet that he would not have blown down Israelis house.

The outcome would have been a new, invigorating respect for Israel rooted in the fact that the Jewish State should be able to protect itself in as self-reliant a manner as possible. And what could be a more self-reliant move than to build the best fighter-bomber in the world for arguably the best air corps on the universe.

The moral then as it is more than ever now, is that timidity simply does not work.

It doesn't work in politics -- especially in the Middle East where Uncle Sam is fast becoming the laughing stock of militant Islam. (And, by the way, in which remote corner of the Earth isn't Islam militant?)

More to the point, volcanic events in Egypt must -- that is MUST -- change Israeli political thinking at the highest level.

When the Lavi project was scrapped after intense lobbying by the White House, Israel assumed that Washington would compensate for Uncle Sam's underhanded blow with enough materiel over enough years to protect the only democracy in the Middle East.

Perhaps it was a reasonable assumption at the time but events since the last presidential election harshly demonstrate that all bets are off when the time comes for Benjamin Netanyahu to depend on American support.

Since Barack Obama entered the White House support for Israel from his general staff has had all the substance of smoke rings flying in the air.

Think of it this way: as Obama begins planning for his re-election -- and he certainly has -- the Chief Executive has yet to visit what once was regarded as America's closest ally in the Middle East. In that regard, Obama treats Israel more in the manner that it does Pago-Pago or the island of Samoa.

This president, who is so fanatically concerned about "settlement-building" in the West Bank, hasn't found the time among his numerous continent-hops to check out Tel Aviv, let along Jerusalem.

Were he to suddenly land at Ben Gurion Airport tomorrow, I would urge a quick trip to Sderot and nearby communities which continue to be assaulted by assorted missiles fired from Gaza.

Obama will yell and scream about peaceful construction of "settlements" but I haven't heard so much of a peep about exploding grads being fired at innocent Israelis.

The assaults from Gaze must not go unpunished and by that I don't mean the token reprisal raids over munition-smuggling tunnels.

Hamas is being goaded into these attacks by its Iranian mentors not to mention the Islamic Brotherhood which soon will annex Egypt.

Bibi much act quickly and with sufficient force to once and for all quiet the mortars and rocket-launchers.

More important, the moment Islamic Brotherhood takes over Egypt and tears the Sadat-inspired peace treaty with Israel to shreds, the Israeli Army must move right back into the Sinai; and stay there until another treaty is signed.

Uncle Sam may not like that and when he huffs and puffs, Bibi should reply with one word, "Lavi!"

Should Obama make a fuss, Netanyahu should shoot back, "Once upon a time you loved us -- but that was long ago!"

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