Arnon Grunberg



On farewell speeches – Harel in Haaretz:

‘The farewell speech given on Monday by Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the outgoing head of the army's Central Command, provided an internal glimpse into the events there throughout these nine months of war. Fuchs didn't hide behind obfuscations, but rather described his feelings of guilt – as part of the Israel Defense Forces high command and as the former head of the Gaza Division at the end of the previous decade – in the face of the army's resounding failure in preventing October 7 massacre.
There was no attempt at covering up his feelings and experiences of persecution from extremist settlers, who have long marked him as an independent officer who refused to bow down to them, and therefore became a target for their slander and incitement. The best example of which occurred last October when right-wing extremists were demonstrating in front of his home, arguing that he was endangering them – some of them even threatened his family. The Southern Command head, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, experienced a completely different attitude from the residents of the Gaza border region, who had been the victims of a real atrocity.’


‘He said the "great majority of settlers" are law-abiding citizens who "live in the shadow of the threat of terror." But, he added, "unfortunately, in recent months, nationalist crime has reared its head under the cover of war and has led to revenge and sowed calamity and fear in Palestinian residents who do not pose any threat. To my dismay, the local leadership and the spiritual leadership for the most part did not see the threat as we did. It is intimidated and has not found the strength to come out openly and act in accordance with the values of Judaism."
He continued: "Even if the perpetrators are few in number, those who have remained silent have failed to isolate them and their actions from the majority. This isn't Judaism in my eyes – at least it's not the one I grew up with in my father's and mother's house." It is hard to say these things – except when you remember that (then) Lt. Gen. Nitzan Alon said similar things a dozen years ago at the end of his term as commander of the Judea and Samaria Division. The situation has only gotten worse since then.’


‘Nevertheless, it should be said that in his speech, Fuchs emphasized the need not to harm Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and that it was in the State of Israel's national security interest in preserving the Palestinian Authority's status despite repeated demands by far-right coalition parties to bring about its collapse.’ (…)

‘What was only hinted at in the speech concerned the political drama playing out behind the scenes, namely the takeover by the settlers, through their representatives in the government, of the civil administration of the West Bank. Bezalel Smotrich, by virtue of his dual role as finance minister and minister in the Defense Ministry is amassing more and more power and authority, at the expense of the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. He is now dictating Israeli policy in the West Bank.’

Read the article here.

Often, high-ranking officers are better at assessing the situation than many politicians. I saw that in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007 among Dutch troops.

The Messianic right in Israel, that lethal combination of zealotism, nationalism and paranoia, is out to destroy the country.

‘The situation has only gotten worse since then,’ – I’m afraid that in ten years from now we will read the same sentence.