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December 3, 2013-Reflections on Geneva- Where Have all the Heros Gone?

It has been a while since I have written an update– thankfully, because events have been generally quiet on all fronts. This morning's news was led by the fact that women were not allowed to say the blessings for lighting the Chanukah menorah at Ben-Gurion University. An important issue, no doubt. However, I have to go with the opinion of one of the newsmen who said, "if this is the most important story of the day, then things are pretty good."

This is a slight exaggeration, of the situation, but only a bit. Discussion of the nuclear agreement reached with Iran continues to be an item in the news. Though the only one bringing up the issue has been Prime Minister Netanyahu, and much of the talk has focused on whether his response to the agreement has been appropriate. After additional reflection, I have concluded that if the Iranians do not cheat, this was as good of an interim agreement as possible. Furthermore, better to have an interim agreement that stops Iran's march to a bomb, than the alternative.

I am very skeptical as to the chances of a long term agreement being reached. However, we will see what develops in the coming months. I am certainly against using AIPAC or any part of the Jewish community to undermine the agreement. There was one report suggesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu is concerned President Obama’s only goal is to kick the can down the road to his successor. If true, that is ok with me. Putting off any potential confrontation for 3 years is fine– that will give us 3 more years to deploy David’s Sling and to develop whatever additional projects are being worked on now.

Last week Israel said good bye to one of its most renowned singers, Arik Einstein. There was a public outpouring of true grief that was disproportional to the level of the tragedy (a 72 year old man who died suddenly). That grief was not necessarily grief for Einstein the man, but rather, for Einstein the hero. Israel in 2013 lacks any secular heroes. Not since the start of the Zionist movement has the movement and the country been so bereft of heroes. Whether in the political sphere, the military, or other realms, there are simply no heroes in Israeli secular society today. Even in the economic sector, there are no Eli Hurwitz' (founder of Teva) or Seth Wertheimer (the founder of Iscar). Today’s very successful high-tech entrepeneurs are mostly nameless, and seem to "exit" before the pubic ever get to know them.

Israeli youth are in need of heroes, of people they can aspire to become. Alas, for unknown reasons, we have failed to produce even one "Mark Zuckerberg". When the history of this period is written, a future historian will wonder– How a country, and a movement, blessed with so many strong leaders and heroes throughout its history ended up with only one unquestionably respected national hero– its 90 year old President– and with the great hope of the Labor party being its 62 year old newly elected leader.


Meanwhile the killing goes on in Syria- 130 people were killed today.


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