The Puzzle That Is Peace
Netanyahu was in sync with his right-of-center politics, from
rosperity and security are prerequisites to Israel
defending the assassinations of Hamas leaders Sheik Ahmed
gaining even an icy peace with the Palestinians.
Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantissi to positioning the West Bank
Seeking a negotiated peace is like chasing fool's
fence as a proven deterrent. He cited the successful security
gold, insists Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, Israel's
barriers on Israel's Gaza border and in the Korean peninsula.
most charismatic politician.
Netanyahu is U.S.-educated and oh, so candid. He was
Netanyahu spoke on opening night of the Jewish Federation
quick to cite Detroit ties, including friendships with mega-
of Metropolitan Detroit's latest community mission to Israel.
leader Max Fisher, Wayne State University benefactor Spencer
His view tilts the model that peace precedes security and pros-
Partrich and 2004 mission co-chair Peter Alter. Netanyahu's
perity — together the three things that Israelis most want. I
daughter, Noa, assists Tova Dorfman, the Detroit Federation's
don't know if there's case study to validate Netanyahu's formula
Israel and overseas director in Israel.
for foiling terror. Still, it's thought provoking
Netanyahu was eloquent in describing the most shocking
coming from a guy who — as a soldier,
aspect of a shocking culture, a Palestinian culture that honors
United Nations ambassador and prime minis-
men, women and children who martyr themselves for Allah
ter — has fought terror on Israel's military,
and kill Jews in the process.
political and diplomatic fronts.
The Sharon administration realized long
ago that terrorists don't negotiate. Their bar-
gaining chips are human bombs. So chang-
ing the order of things in Israel has at least
ROBERT A. theoreticql merit. Netanyahu, prime minis-
ter from 1996 to 1999, is now Ariel
Sharon's finance minister.
To bolster his point, Netanyahu said
Israel's current economic spurt is at least 3
percent after two years of a shrinking economy. He said the
security fence going up along Israel's West Bank border will
further strip away the power of madmen like Palestinian
Authority President Yasser Arafat, duly "elected" by the
Palestinian people, and terrorist groups like Hamas, which is
dedicated to Israel's destruction.
"I'm absolutely confident we're heading in the right direc-
tion," Netanyahu declared in a 25-minute address to the 568
Bibi Netanyahu talks at Hebrew University.
participants of Federation's Michigan Miracle Mission 4.
Time, of course, will tell if that direction indeed is right.
But Netanyahu, the favorite to be prime minister for a sec-
ond go-round should Sharon face a criminal indictment for
"It doesn't make any difference what the Palestinians say in
alleged bribery, correctly cites Islamic terror wrapped in suicide
Oslo or Geneva," Netanyahu said. "What counts is what they
bombings as the key impediment to a lasting Mideast peace.
say in Jenin. They don't talk about a solution; they talk about
At the end of the day, Netanyahu said, the long-term ques-
dissolution of the Jewish state. They call it 'right of return' or .
tion must be: "Can we defeat the demon Of militant Islam
just blowing us up."
before it defeats us?"
Mission-goer Chuck Domstein of Orchard Lake echoed my
By us, he means the civilized world, led by America.
feelings, saying that Netanyhu played well to the pro-Israel
Palestinian terror has taken more than 950 Israeli and for-
crowd, but his core conclusion seemed simplistic.
eign lives over the past 42 months. America's war on terror
"He was saying if you cut off the head of your enemy, if you
routed Al Qaida's leaders, but Osama bin Laden morphed his
do certain things like that, you'll have the answer and Israel will
human bomb network into sleeper cells throughout the Islamic
have peace," Domstein said. "But when you're dealing with an
irrational enemy, one preaching hate and that all Jews must
History gives us pause for.hope. It gives the forces of civility
die, nothing will bring peace, unfortunately"
an edge over the forces of evil.
Domstein hit on a central tenet to countering evil. It
Netanyahu served in Israel's anti-terror unit while a soldier.
embraces Netanyahu's call to go on the offensive (strikes) and
"We've seen that civilized societies, in times of crisis, can
defensive (fences) simultaneously.
muster the will, organization and motivation to overcome," he
"Israel must show the world it will stand up to evil,"
Domstein said. "That means the fences may have to stay up.
Netanyahu spoke Monday night on the Mt. Scopus campus
That may be a drain on the economy, but it may be what
of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. That choice by Federation
Israelis will have to sacrifice."
and its parent group, North America-based United Jewish
Whether Netanyahu is too far right is debatable. But his
Communities, was calculated. On July 31, 2002, a bomb
belief that Israel's future is tied to America's record in battling
planted in the cafeteria by a terrorist who worked on campus
terror is sound.
was ignited by remote control. The blast killed nine people and
As he put it: "This is the real test: Do we have the power
wounded dozens. The cafeteria is a short walk from the hall in
and resolve to overcome evil? My answer, near and far, is yes. I
which Netanyahu spoke.
think Israel has a brilliant future and I think America has a
Our being on campus said, despite the bombing, the Detroit
Jewish community stands as one with Hebrew U. and the
We must think that. We can't wallow in self-pity.
State of Israel. We haven't deserted our ancestral homeland.
We can't let the terrorists win. ❑