Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, who served as Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2002 to 2005, after serving as Deputy Chief of Staff from 2000 to 2002 -- and who was thus at the top of the IDF for the entire post-Oslo war, before Ariel Sharon reversed course -- spent more than an hour today on a bloggers conference call organized and chaired by Allen Roth of One Jerusalem. There is a good summary of the call there.
Yaalon repeated several times that the outcome of the Hezbollah War was the result of mismanagement by the political and senior military levels (who he thinks should resign), not a result of lack of IDF capability. He said the IDF called up more people to manage the
He does think that significant damage was done to Hezbollah. They had 500-600 casualties, a huge amount for an organization based on 1,000 elite fighters. Almost all of the long and medium range rocket launchers were destroyed, even though thousands of Kytushas remain. He does not think that Nasrallah currently has the capability to renew hostilities, because it will take time to be ready, “but when they are ready, they will do it.”
He believes the root cause of the situation is not the occupation of the West Bank, but rather an Iranian goal to implement an “Islamofascist ideology” (his term) and that
Ultimately, he said, there is no chance to reach any stability in the region without confronting
Senator John McCain said recently: “There is only one thing worse than the
U.S. exercising a military option, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran.” I agree with him. But before going to the military option, Iran must be isolated politically and economically; the military option can be used only when these methods have been exhausted.
But the most stunning part of the call came in his answer to the question of Jerry Gordon of Israpundit about the existence of corruption in
His comments reminded me of one of the most remarkable portions of Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarkable interview last March with Ari Shavit of Haaretz:, which included this passage:
Of late there is more and more talk about corruption. You were prime minister, you were finance minister. Is
Israel a corrupt country?
"There is corruption in
Israel. It is increasing. In the past few years it has been growing and deepening at a dizzying pace. But those who talk about corruption are generally off-target. They talk about the connection between the member of [a party's] central committee and the politician who gets him a job in order to win his support. But that is a relatively minor phenomenon, and even when it happens, its material scope is limited. Therefore I say that this is only the tip of the corruption iceberg. It is the less important 10 percent that is above the water. The more serious corruption is below the surface. It is hardly talked about; it is hardly known about. But it is the truly worrisome corruption, it is the true danger."
Shavit returned to the subject later in the interview:
Has the corruption in
Israel become worse in recent years?
"Unequivocally, yes. Look at the international indices that examine corruption. But at the same time it is important to emphasize that when it comes to the wealth-government connection, most of the owners of capital are not part of that connection. Nor are many of those in government. But between a small group of the wealthy and a certain group of people in power, there is a connection on an astounding scale. And therefore I say that corruption has become a cancer. It is a millstone on the economy. It is hindering growth and it is liable to develop to Argentine dimensions.
Argentina is a very rich country that stagnated economically because the corruption there became a curse. Once a country sinks into the quagmire of corruption, it is very difficult to get out of it."
My principal thought after yesterday’s call is how different things would have been had Israel’s leadership at a moment of trial been Netanyahu, Sharansky, and Ya’alon -- all of whom left the government or were removed from it as a result of the disengagement plan -- instead of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz.
Fortunately, in a democracy, these things can be corrected.
(Be sure to check out Westbankmama’s excellent post on the call as well. In response to a question from Anne Lieberman of Boker tov, Boulder! about what caused Sharon's disengagement reversal, Ya'alon said he had an English translation of an article he wrote in Hebrew, and will provide it to One Jerusalem; it should be worth reading).UPDATE: Boker tov, Boulder! has a very perceptive post on the call. Atlas Shrugs has a good post and a transcript (how does she do that?). Brian of London participated in the call in a Starbucks across from Scotland Yard. Gateway Pundit’s post is here.