Desire the right – Falkland Islands motto
Few foreign leaders participated in Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Most allies of the UK sent mid-range delegations; after all, few would like to be defined as Thatcherists. Even Prime Minister Cameron when asked for the justification for the expensive funeral, similar to the one awarded to Winston Churchill, said that she had been the first female Prime Minister, avoiding to mention any of her monstrous actions.
The sumptuous event was planned years ago by Thatcher herself and a crypto-Thatcherist, Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Big Ben was silenced during the event, but the bestial bells of fanatic ultra-nationalism rung stronger than ever.
A clear exception was Israel, which sent its Prime Minister and his Third Lady to the event. A wobbling Netanyahu, who recently lost his place in the 2013 Time 100 most influential people to his #2, won’t miss State funerals. Who knows? Strange accidents happen in Israel, as Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and others can’t testify.
Sharp ShiftOnly yesterday, I commented on a self-censorship of Hebrew media that caught me by surprise. Yet, not everything is censored in Israel. Large military moves and substantial arrivals of military items from abroad enter this category. What is the point of censoring what everybody watching the Israeli ports can easily discover?
What is the point of censoring the existence of a major drill, when troops can be seen moving unexpectedly? Thus, Israel discloses such information, hoping to stop the disclosure of secret details.This is not the only dramatic change. In 1992, following the Gulf War, Israel upgraded its Aga (Hebrew acronym for “Civil Defense”) with the Home Front Command, its commander was upgraded from brigade general to major general. Over the years, the Command grew incredibly, absorbing funds that were needed for the air force.
The new Command was highly criticized by its disastrous performance during the 2006 War between Israel and Hezbollah. Yet, the problems went beyond its performance.Israel got clumsy. Aga worked under the “Civilian Defense Law,” which was inherited by the Home Front Command. A related organization is Israel Police, which operates under the “Police Order” (“Pkudat HaMishtara,” odd name, but still a law). The choice between the two while operating in civilian areas is determined by the “Army Law.”
The choice is done by the size of the event. Massive events are operated by the Home Front Command, smaller ones by the police.Over the years, Israel created a redundancy which is criticized by citizens unwilling to be under the army orders during an emergency (the 2006 War proved them right). Moreover, the transition to the Command changed the chain of command. Aga was allowed to interact with civilian organizations, thing that created much needed flexibility during emergencies. Thus, its commander had the title of “Head of Aga,” and not “Commander of Aga.”
In contrast, the Home Front Command can receive order only from his military superior, the IDF Commander in Chief. Overall, Israel became inefficient.In April 2013, Netanyahu started a revolution of the Command; most of its capabilities would be transferred to the civilian Ministry of Home Front Defense, a new ministry created in 2011; Matan Vilnai was its first minister, sign to the importance given to the issue. The Command is about to change, it will resemble the historic structure of Aga. 2,000 Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are about to be fired, and they went with the story to the media.
Due to the magnitude of the event, it couldn’t be censored.Netanyahu’s only aircraft carrier is making a sharp shift. Its ground-army is being downgraded, to the extent that civil defense may be hurt, and its offensive aircraft capabilities are continuously upgraded. Does this mean something? Yes, Netanyahu plans an offensive war, 1967-style.
One of the events that Thatcher is closely identified with is the Falkland Islands War. In 1982, Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship closely related to the USA and Operation Condor. While taking a break in the torture of its own citizens, this paradigm of ruthless nationalism decided to attack one of Empire’s favorite colonies.
On April 2, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and other British territories in the South Atlantic. “The lady’s not for turning,” Thatcher repeated her infamous phrase uttered for the first time two years before, and sent her mighty fleet, which included two aircraft carriers and a nuclear submarine, to scare away the savages. Argentina surrendered on June 14, after a shameful defeat.
Netanyahu was unlikely to remember this during the Lady’s funeral, but he is orchestrating a shift in Israel’s military strategy that is reminiscent of Thatcher’s hawkish policy. “The third lady’s not for turning,” rephrased Sarah Netanyahu the original phrase while wearing a cute, pretty black hat and pursing her lips. “We are so civilized,” added the scared husband.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.