Open Letter to (Interim) Prime Minister Yair Lapid

October 2, 2022

5 min read

Dear Interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid,

Shalom Haver!  Perhaps I should begin this letter by admitting that I may not be your biggest fan, but with a view to giving credit where credit is due, I admit that your handling of the latest regional conflagration in Gaza last month was really well executed on many levels. We all know it and thank you for that!  The truth is, as a concerned (and very average) Israeli citizen, I am simply writing my thoughts and sending them your way.  Do keep in mind that the following are merely suggestions for you to consider moving forward. I’m not attempting to set Israeli policy!

This is what I propose. Regarding the upcoming elections, we are indeed most interested in the leader who will be involved in solving Israel’s personal domestic problems as the #1 priority.  After all, it’s a fact that elections are won by first making people afraid of the problem, let’s say inflation for instance, and then telling the middle age, middle-class, middle income voters who remember better BC (Before Corona) times, that the other parties are to blame for it, i.e., the ones responsible for their current lot in life.

Do Israelis know this?  Yes, after 4 elections, we sure do.

What I’m getting at is, the candidate that should win the elections and be Prime Minister is the one that has our best aspirations in mind, and is willing to compromise his/her own glory to achieve that end.

I’d like to address our security needs first though.  I must submit that I’m about as far from an ‘Arm-chair General’ or military correspondent as one could possibly imagine.  In fact, I’m a biblical (Orthodox) scholar, not a politician. My forte consists of mostly investigative reporting and films about biblical archaeology.  That being said, I do feel compelled to share with you, as a fellow journalist, some salient points with respect to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the world powers and Iran, since it will indeed affect all of us here together in terms of security.

In my view, the future Prime Minister must deal with the Iranian nuclear threat at hand while keeping these three things in mind:

  1. The only logical reason why the US administration would agree to a toothless deal of this nature is for one purpose, and that is to continue the legacy of former US President Barack Obama, the one who initiated it. As such, we should appeal directly to him in Washington in order to effectively try and stop it. Let’s face it though, both Obama and Biden are both in desperate need of a diplomatic achievement, and Obama in particular is no friend of Israel (think UN Security Council Resolution #2334)
  2. When President Biden says that the US is committed to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, what he’s saying in effect, is that his administration is committed to containing Iran’s nuclear weapons. From the get-go, the JCPOA takes it as a given that the Mullahs will eventually obtain the nukes.  The US may resort to using military force as a last result, but only to prevent them from having a means for missile deployment. The US might be a good friend of ours, but lest we forget, more important than Israel right now is guaranteeing bringing down gas prices before the November US midterm elections!
  3. You might want to consider preparing, in conjunction with the US, a means for putting new boots on the ground in Tehran in a practical and proactive way, so to re-establish a new government in the event of a civil revolt/war there, which I’m calling the Persian Spring (ala the movie: ‘6 Underground’).  We in Israel must not be complacent and indifferent to what’s happening right now in the notorious Islamic Republic. The civil rage against the regime street protests will no doubt continue, as they should, and this time please send them our help

Let’s pause for a moment. What’s the rush actually? According to some military experts, we might even have up to 2 years before Iran can obtain the means to deploy a nuclear weapon. To this, I would humbly note that if a strong left-wing government emerges again that includes the Arab parties, there’s very little chance that any Arab Minister of Knesset will allow a pre-emptive strike on a fellow Arab country (Shi’ite or no Shi’ite), no matter how much money is thrown at them.  In the meantime, there is a threat developing on a scale we’ve never seen before, a new regional superpower in the Middle East.  Thus the need to act, and as they say, the best defense is a good offense!

As I wrote years ago here in my letter to former PM Netanyahu (April 2015), it is my opinion that Israel’s answer to this particular situation, and indeed the future of the Jewish State in general, lies with the leader being openly proud of our ancestral heritage and proclaiming to the world what the Bible promises, namely, that another Jewish exile will never take place again, not to mention the annihilation of Israel, heaven forbid. Both Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin, though not religiously observant, were proud Jewish Zionists and had no hesitation in publicly declaring this fact.  Please note this surprising and startling statement as said to then Delaware Senator Joe Biden on June 22, 1982, who at the time was threatening cutting off aid to Israel during his Senate Foreign Relations committee testimony that day. PM Begin responded:

“Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”

Both Christians and Jews, and in fact all faiths that live here and love the Good Land, the Land of God, can relate to this quote.  In fact, please send a clear message to the whole world that on Israel’s 75th birthday, thank God, the Jewish People are here to stay!

I watched as you recently addressed the UN General Assembly. What a splendid moment for your amazing career.  I heard you take advantage of the spotlight and bring up your support for the Two-State Solution.  That was a big thing that most Israelis believed in back in 1993, and still remains the darling of the EU today.  However, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s Voice of Israel Index for the month of September, only about 35% of Israeli’s actually agree that the new government should advance this track.  Mr. Prime Minister, after suffering over 20 years as a result of the terror base that is now former Gush Katif, it’s not that Israeli’s don’t ‘get it’ – your election problem now is that you can no longer sell it!  There are serious problems in our region requiring serious leaders to solve them using new and creative methods. That innovative and courageous approach was what spawned the birth of the Abraham Accords.

I have fond memories from years ago when I heard former PM Bibi Netanyahu being interviewed at the World Economic Forum.  Indeed, I’ll never forget the last question: “How would you like to be remembered?”  He looked down, thought about it for a second or two, and then responded something to the effect of:  I would like to be remembered as the Protector of Israel… “The Protector of Israel.” I was floored. Amazing words at the time.  Nowadays, that might be you!

I guess that in this letter, I have started, and ended with presenting my simple views to you regarding the current issues of security, if I may.  I wanted to include other matters as well, but perhaps that should be left for another occasion.

Thank you for your time and patience Mr. Prime Minister.

Good luck and God speed!

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