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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Photo: AFP
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Photo: AFP
 
 

Don’t waste money on Iran

Op-ed: Instead of spending huge funds on Iran strike, Israel should invest more in its people

Amnon Shamosh
Published: 02.15.12, 17:47 / Israel Opinion

I’m just a layman living in tiny yet megalomaniac state intoxicated with power and afflicted with paranoia; a state that focuses its entire attention on its enemies while neglecting its poor.

 

The common folk who dare to use their common sense realize that nothing is more important for the people and for the state than intensive care for education, healthcare, and welfare. We need billions for all this, yet the money is being invested in hectic, mad preparations for an Iran strike.

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These preparations eat up the funds needed for food for the poor, medicine for the sick, daycare centers for children and money for higher education.

 

The Iranian nuclear problem is grave and threatens us; yet it does not threaten only us, or mostly us. We must not volunteer to fight the Free World’s war. We’ve experienced too much war as it is already, sustained too many victims, and now spend most of our money on defense, not to mention offense.

 

Ahmadinejad’s threats are indeed repulsive, yet we must not panic. Not every barking leader ends up biting. Egypt, for example, did not deploy anti-aircraft batteries to protect the Aswan Dam when Lieberman threatened to bomb it.

 

In my view, the gravest danger is that given the great preparations and investment, we would become so intoxicated with our capabilities that we would not be able to or want to retreat, even if logic and reality dictate a retreat. A chef and a sous-chef who invested all their talent in preparing a gourmet meal will not want to forget about serving it, even if their clients are satiated.

 

We all know the dictum whereby wars are too important to be left to the generals; this is even truer for nuclear wars.

 

Don’t do West’s dirty work

India and Pakistan are bitter enemies. Both have possessed nuclear arms for many years. Deterrence has prevented any strike. In the same way, we can and should realize that even if Iran produces a nuclear bomb it will not rush to use it – neither against us nor against its closer and greater foes.

 

The blind hatred towards us is the product of a temporary government. Yet Iran’s animosity towards its Arab neighbors involves immense economic interests as well as historical and cultural rivalry. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates and Iraq are threatened by the Iranian nuke project more than us. However, the above states are less hysterical than us, for obvious reasons. For us, the hysteria stems from our history. Yet woe is a policy motivated by hysteria.

 

Should we take the front seat and do the dirty work for the concerned West and for the threatened Gulf region? Should we earmark our depleted resources to an adventure whose outcome is unforeseen instead of investing the money in fixing social injustice among us? Shouldn’t we invest in stabilizing the healthcare system, lowering housing and food prices, and in boosting education, which used to be the Jewish pride in every generation and now has reached a nadir?

 

Please do not brainwash the common folk. Ease up on the preparations for Iran and direct the resources, concern and creativity to the people, which demands social justice. The common people deserve it; the ones who hit the streets en masse, who were willing to sleep in tents, and who are unwilling to embark on wars, even if they’re just.

 

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer warned us that investors may leave Israel. But so can the hundreds of thousands of wonderful youngsters who hit the streets and squares this past summer. Don’t make them run away from this fine land. We have a strong country; now make it good too, for the common people and for the middle class.

 

 

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