Photo: Meir Partush
Eitan Haber
Photo: Meir Partush

Facing a leadership crisis

Op-ed: Israel, West desperate for leaders like Churchill, Roosevelt, and Ben-Gurion

The real crisis we face isn’t economic (unlike the case in many world countries,) isn’t diplomatic (unlike the case in many world countries,) and certainly isn’t about security (unlike some world countries.) As of July 2010, the real crisis faced by the State of Israel, and apparently by the world around us too, is a leadership crisis.


There is no leadership that can extricate us from the difficult situation; neither here nor out there, in the great wide world.


What’s worse, given that leaders grow and develop over a period of years, at this time we do not hear or see anyone who can be characterized as a great promise. The leadership reservoir is empty.


Unfortunately, these are fateful years for the Western world, including the State of Israel. Unexpectedly and as opposed to earlier predictions, a fundamentalist, radical Islamic wave has emerged and is sweeping the world. At first, mostly in Europe, it was treated lightly. The lazy Europeans (we are too, by the way) needed people to wash dishes in restaurants and allowed the masses to pour into their countries. Now, many Europeans are forced to wake up at 4 am every morning to the sound of the muezzin.


The tough Islamic wave is led by Iran, which registers more success stories each week. The world monitors its acts with concern, while some of it watches on with existential anxiety (Gulf states, for example.) Another part of the world is happy to hate the wealthy, oppressive West rather than to embrace the Ayatollahs and their political platform.


In the eyes of that part of the world, the “wealthy, oppressive West” constitutes first and foremost the United States, and right behind it there’s its satellite state, Israel. Barack Obama, who noticed this trend a while ago and certainly during the initial briefings from intelligence agencies after assuming the presidency, is already winking to the rising Muslim power and the part of the world that always accused the US of favoring Israel.


Obama making us pay

Obama is trying to shirk the “Zionist” image of his country, and he is doing it at our expense. The dangerous process of de-legitimizing Israel, which currently crosses states and continents, would not have been possible had the radical world believed that the US still stands by Israel at any price.


As the whole world undergoes this process these days, the main casualties (Europe, the US, and Israel) are desperate for exceptional leadership that would extricate us from these potentially destructive troubles, with the worst yet to come. The world needs leaders like Churchill, Roosevelt, De Gaulle, Ben-Gurion, and others – instead, we got Sarkozy, Berlusconi, and…what the hell is that guy’s name in London?


Obama is indeed being perceived as a leader with a vision and a way, and one who may save the world from the Islamic threat, yet he is sunk neck-deep in the inheritance he received in Afghanistan and Iraq, and until he cures us of these maladies his time shall pass too, apparently.


So we have to make do with what we have. What do we have? Let’s assume for a moment, just for a moment, that Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are our best leaders at this time. Let’s just assume. Does anyone see on the horizon Ben-Gurion-like leaders that would replace this duo? Here’s the shelf of future leaders, just reach out your hand - who would you bring down from there to serve as our savior? Who?


We may face a diplomatic, social, and possibly a security crisis. However, the leadership crisis is the gravest one of all.



פרסום ראשון: 07.26.10, 18:36
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