Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Mel Pearlman

Great leaders know when to retire


October 25, 2019

As a native born American of the Jewish faith I have been doubly blessed by being born into two great peoples. I am a proud and patriotic citizen of my native America and a proud supporter of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide.

I am not however, a citizen or resident of Israel and have no vote in Israeli elections or how Israelis go about choosing their leaders. I do have a right and an obligation along with my fellow Jewish Americans, to express my opinion about everything that goes on in the State of Israel and work for American policies that strengthen the United States-Israel relationship. While my status allows me to express my opinion, it does not give me a right to compel or impose my views on the Jewish state. This applies as well to my fellow Jewish Americans of all political persuasions or degree of religiosity.

This brings me to my concern about the uncertainty of forming a stable democratic government in Israel after two elections within the last 6 months. The twin election results can be interpreted as a consistent refusal of the Israeli electorate to give the current prime minister and his Likud party a mandate to govern in a majority coalition.

Israel is facing a new Middle East security situation with the sudden exit of the U.S. military from Syria, and the abandonment of the Syrian Kurds who fought and died in alliance with the U.S. to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The decision without consultation to withdraw U.S. forces in Syria at this critical time, taken on a whim by an increasingly impulsive president, removed the military buffer allowing the Turks to invade Northeastern Syria for the stated purpose of creating a safe zone for refugees; but in reality has created a killing zone and a humanitarian disaster for civilians in the area.

Nothing could be more disheartening than to see Russian soldiers and heavy weapons taking over American bases in the area vacated by our troops.

The increased presence in Syria of the Russians, Iranians, Assad forces, remaining Jihadist rebels, Shite Iraqi militia, Hezbollah, and now Turkey, complicates the IDF’s ability to attack and contain the Iranian military buildup without engaging other forces, most notably the Russians.

This administration has been a great friend to Israel and professes to continue in that friendship and support. Given the president’s mercurial behavior, creating a sudden American military vacuum in Syria, Israel now has to consider the depth and continuity of that friendship and support.

The second election in less than 6 months has left the government of Israel in a quandary not experienced in its 71 year history of democratic elections, an inability to form a stable government with a majority coalition or a unity government with the two major parties.

Much has been written in the media about every aspect of this politically unstable situation, but in reality the solution to forming a unity government is simple and in the hands of one man, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Netanyahu has served continuously and successfully as prime minister for more than a decade and his Likud led coalitions have brought Israel to a position of security and prosperity. He has increased Israel’s standing with the Arab world and has expanded Israel’s political and economic relationships throughout Africa, Asia and South America. From an economic and security perspective, Israel is stronger now than at any time in its 71 plus years since independence.

Mr. Netanyahu has been a great leader and his place in history is assured. But the people of Israel have spoken. Mr. Netanyahu will serve his country well by retiring now from public office and giving up his leadership of the Likud party to make way for new leadership and a unity government that can speak with one voice at this perilous time in Israel’s history.

If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at melpearlman322@gmail.com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.

Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.


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