Noted Yediot Achronot columist, Yigal Sarna, writes a plaintive “letter to the President,” asking Shimon Peres to intercede to stop war with Iran. It is a touching and deeply- felt piece:
A Letter to the President:
Save Us from Ourselves [“from our own hands”]
I turn to you because you are the elected official I’ve known best since I was a boy, standing on Keren Kayemet Boulevard with my father, I was shaking hands with a very short, white-haired man who got out of a big car. This was the great man of the nation who founded it all, your rabbi and teacher was David Ben Gurion. You were a young man then, but involved in everything. Architect of diplomatic relations with France, the first atomic reactor [Dimona], armaments and construction, relations with the Persian Shah.
A generation comes and a generation goes. You remain with us. Full of lofty plans, you made a mess and fixed it, supporting the Hilltop settlers and compromise. You were an oracle and accomplished as much as the chief of staff.
In a country in which everything shone at the height of its glory and then disappeared as if it never was, you remained at the heart of things. The world turned upside down. Empires were lost. The globe was completely different. And you who were active in the days of Eisenhower are still with us. As popular as ever. Perhaps because a country that has no father embraces a grandfather. In a country which ruined so many opportunities, they are drawn to the last of those with deep experience.
I turn to you as a citizen because more than once when things were rough and no one could save us from trouble, you appeared and did. you saved us…
You and Yitzhak [Rabin] tried to save us from ourselves, from our zealotry, from our weakness. Like Yitzhak, you knew that our military power would wane in a country moving from ideology to material greed as its motivating idea; that if we did not solve the conflict–we would be sunk.
Now I turn to you with a desperate plea. Not to pronounce a polished, multi-faceted plan at the age of 87; not to exhaust yourself with a thousand deliberations as in the days of Oslo, but instead to put on the brakes. To prevent a folly, dangerous and pointless as no other; to stop the war with Iran. Use all your influence with the security apparatus, its advisors, its senior officers and those so brilliant at reading maps, to stop the air assault which will rain down on us a catastrophe to last generations.
Stop this ruinous miliary idea, whose source is in the reflex of those who devise new weapons systems and generals to make us forget the wounds of the past. You know better than all of us that no bombing of Iran will eliminate its nuclear capacity, if it even exists. This [Iran] is a land as vast as a continent, hidden and closed, which can buy whatever it needs. Anything that is blown up will bloom anew. The damage will be erased in a heartbeat, but the war of vengeance will begin, which Iranian forbearance and its ability to absorb hundreds of thousands of casualties and great suffering–will be something we’ve never before known in the history of this conflict.
Even according to the most optimistic scenario, the air bombing will instill Iranian vengeance which will lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis. I turn to you because there is no one else to turn to. Overseeing the security services, which are consumed [obsessed] by conflicts are two elected officials, a prime minister and [defense] minister each thrown out of their jobs by the electorate in the past because of their serious failures.
The military service has already inflicted on us a series of failed, impotent military operations against mere rockets. This is an institution unsuited to return a lost soldier home, one imprisoned in Gaza.
I turn to you, Mr. President as a man sentenced to life in prison turns to his president, as a last resort: save us from our own hand [“what our own hand might do”].
What is especially touching and aggravating about this piece is that Sarna turns to Peres because he knows there is no other address in government for his entreaty. He does so out of desperation, that of a man who knows his world is about to implode and that there is precious little he can do about it. He reminds me of one of those desperate characters that Rod Serling portrayed so brilliantly in the Twilight Zone, men filled with terror and aware of their impending doom.
God [or Obama?] help us and Israel if Sarna’s nightmare comes to pass.