Friends, neighbors, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come not to bury Peres, butto praise him. The good that men do lives after them; The evil is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Peres.
Oh, how the media and the world leaders fawned over Shimon Peres! How everyone remembers his courage and perseverance in establishing Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel’s nuclear program. How we remember Peres’ role in going around the world procuring weapons and ammunition for the infant IDF. How some old timers in Kedumim with their selective memories even recall how the late President gave a helping hand in the establishment of their settlement. How everyone now chooses to remember Peres’ early years of service to the fledgling Jewish State.
And then something happened. Unlike his first quarter century of service, somewhere along the way Shimon Peres stopped basing his policies and actions in response to the real world and began to live in an alternate universe. He began to push policies that failed to take into account the intractable hostility of our enemies to the existence of any Jewish State, large or small. He succeeded in undermining every non-Labor government in which he participated as part of a broad coalition. I remember when he told a woman who disagreed with his policies to “go back to where you came from!” Oy, such a tzaddik! He gave us Oslo . . . and we are still living with its consequences unto this very day. The terrorism of the intifadas was felt more within the green line than in the territories. And, during the intifada which followed Oslo, when Jews were being murdered, it was old Shimon Peres who had the audacity to call these victims “Sacrifices for peace.”Yeah, I remember. I cannot forgive and I cannot forget because to his dying day Shimon Peres could never admit that he was wrong and request forgiveness from the settlers he and his buddy Rabin so frequently demonized.
Yes, we shepped nachas when we watched all the foreign dignitaries come to Israel to pay homage to the old man. We forget so quickly that the only time Israel is “liked” by the nations is when we permit ourselves to be attacked and fail to respond in the manner any normal nation would. Do you remember the Iraqi missiles raining down on Israel during the first Gulf War? Oh, the nations praised us for our self-restraint in not hitting back because our Big Brother in Washington was going to look after us.
I believe that since Oslo, the only Israeli leaders who gain the “respect” of world leaders are such men who inflict irreparable damage on their own country in the name of “peace.” Of course, the leaders of the nations don’t have to live with the ill-conceived policies of the former President—but we do . . . every day.
Yes, if he were alive today, I would probably wish the old man a happy new year with the hope that maybe, this year, he would awaken from his dream-world and recognize that when the chips are down, we in Israel might not have any friends but ourselves.