Analyst pins hope
on anti-terror unity
by Steve Israel
Israelis have "broken the mold" by unifying around a hard-line anti-terror policy, a Hebrew University political scientist told a Dallas audience last week.
"Instead of behaving as every other democracy should behave, Israel speaks with one voice," Reuven Hazan argued. He said when terrorists attack a democracy, typically "the democracy can't triumph" because debate leads to polarized public opinion and renders the government less effective.
Hazan, a ninth-generation Israeli, is a senior lecturer in the Political Science Department at the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus. His political analysis has been published in The Jerusalem Post and other newspapers and has been broadcast on several television networks. He spoke to more than 150 persons attending a Dallas Jewish Community Relations Council forum at Congregation Shearith Israel on Feb. 6.
He pleaded that "we (Israelis and Americans) have to be an embattled democracy. Are you simply going to get on your horse and ride out? We must teach the world we can face down terrorism."
Hazan stood between two color posters of the seven Columbia astronauts who were memorialized during a brief service held prior to his remarks.
"Since 9-11, our two countries have been brought together by terrorism," he declared, "and by our heroes who fall out of the sky 16 minutes prematurely."
Hazan said he served in the Israeli Air Force with Ilan Ramon and stood in a room at a northern Israel military base 22 years ago when Ramon was named to join a mission to bomb an Iraqi nuclear reactor. As Israel's first astronaut, Ramon died in the Columbia shuttle tragedy on Feb. 1.
During a question period, audience member Harry Kabler asked Hazan if, by his praise for Israel's hard-line unity, he was "suggesting that Israel is winning the war on terrorism." His answer: "No. It's not losing the war on terrorism."
Asked how Israelis feel about the possible U.S. war against Iraq, Hazan had a ready reply: "We want you to go to war tonight." If a U.S. effort removed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power, there would be at least slight improvement in the Mideast political atmosphere for Israel, he predicted.
Before leaving Israel for the U.S., he related, "I got a sealed room ready at home." He made sure his wife's gas mask and their children's bubble tents were handy, along with a videocassette recorder. "We try to put on a Disney film and make this seem a little like an adventure."
At the same time, he added, "War is the last possible tactic. It's like when it hurts to get a shot to avoid a virus. I'd rather take a shot now than amputate a leg later."
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, February 13, 2003