Ron grew up in the South Bronx of New York, making Aliyah in 1980. Served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units. Prior to retiring was Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGO's and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities. Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world.
Israel is rapidly approaching the final stages of the war against the Iranian-backed terror organization Hamas as the IDF approaches the town of Rafah located adjacent to the Egyptian border. It will soon begin the expected elimination of the last vestiges of Hamas’s remaining terror forces and their leadership. Since the Oct 7th massacre of Israeli communities, the IDF operation, the hostages and over five hundred miles of underground terror tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip have been widely reported by the international media. And Egypt's role? To a large extent, the international media have ignored Egypt’s role over the past two decades in allowing Hamas to build an extensive underground tunnel system between the Gaza Strip and Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula.
Military analysts have estimated that in the Rafah border town alone there are hundreds of tunnels, some wide enough to allow transport vehicles to pass thru from Egyptian territory into the Gaza Strip, supposedly clandestinely. Egypt was silently complicit and contributed to Hamas’ military build-up, aiding Hamas in becoming a strategic threat for the State of Israel. So as the Egyptian elephant in the room becomes more and more visible, questions have been raised in recent weeks. Despite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s repetitive claim that Cairo is playing a very positive role in de-escalating the Gaza crisis, Hamas would not have been able to pose a threat to the State of Israel without the implicit and unrestricted approval of the Egyptian Army and Egypt’s political leadership.
Hamas smuggled weapons, ammunition/missiles, fuel, explosives, and so forth through tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border in the run-up to its October 7 attack and massacre of Israeli’s living in border towns. The Hamas terrorists reportedly carried the armaments below the Philadelphi Route, a narrow land corridor that separates Egypt territory from the Gaza Strip. Egypt’s claim to de-escalate and bring an end to the war would be more credible had they neutralized the tunnels that provided a critical artery for supplying weapons to the Iranian-backed Hamas terror organizations in Gaza.
Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace agreement in March 1979 to end hostilities and normalize relations. It marked the first treaty of its kind between an Arab country and Israel. The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel is viewed as having reshaped the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict for the better. Israel wanted to secure its Southern border and diminish the potential military threat by the region’s largest and most powerful Arab country. Egypt wanted to restore its sovereignty over the Sinai Peninsula, which it lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. It also wanted to redirect resources from military spending to strengthen its economy.
In 2018, the two countries signed a deal for Israeli gas exports to Egypt for 10 years, worth US$15 billion. This was followed by the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo with other regional partners. Israel’s gas exports are crucial for Egypt’s economy. They also support Egypt’s aspiration to become a regional energy hub. Lastly, Egypt wanted to strengthen its ties with the United States, by being at peace with its ally, Israel. With the bilateral agreements between Egypt and Israel having so many positive and strategic benefits for the Egyptian government, Hamas’ military build-up with Egypt’s tacit approval seems to be counter-intuitive and clearly against the national interests of Egypt.
Although Egypt is a poor country, with a low GDP per capita rating, with tens of millions of Egyptians forced to live in cemeteries or boxes as a substitute for a home; Egypt has built up the strongest army among the Arab nations of the Middle East with over: 5,000 tanks, hundreds of advanced fighter warplanes and helicopters, over 100 naval vessels and submarines, and an estimated one million soldiers in uniform. A study by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies reported that Egypt's air force has undergone the most significant modernization of any military in the Arab world. "From the point of view of weapon systems," the author concluded, "the military-technological gap between the Egyptian and Israeli Air Forces is gradually narrowing." In addition, the “Egyptian Air Force’s increasing confidence is reflected in its acquisition of aircraft for deep-penetration strikes into enemy territory.” Egypt now has some of the most sophisticated U.S.-made weapons, including Abrams tanks, F-16 fighter planes, and Apache attack helicopters. A critical footnote to Egypt’s military buildup; Western intelligence agencies are aware of and have leaked details that Israel - the country Egypt signed a peace treaty with - is the "enemy" in all of Egypt's war games.
Israel’s past experience with Arab strategic partners such as Iran during the Shah era, and Turkey before the Erdogan regime, leave Israel no choice but to carefully monitor Egypt's buildup. The United States has long turned a blind eye to Iranian smuggling through Egypt to arm, equip, and train Hamas. More worrying to Israel’s military planners has been the United States turning a blind eye to Egypt’s’ clandestine construction of as many as 12 major tunnels under the Suez canal all pointing towards Israel. Egyptian forces have staged large-scale military training exercises which included simulated operations crossing into the Sinai using these underground tunnels against an “unnamed adversary to the east”(meaning Israel).
Israel can no longer ignore the astounding armament rate of the Egyptian army, which has procured the very best offensive weaponry from the West in recent years. One Israeli military analyst expressed an assessment that leaves no doubt; "One day, all of it will be turned against us."
Egypt has amassed a substantial offensive military capability in recent years that can no longer be ignored by Israel. Although Egypt has a formal peace agreement with Israel, reaffirming Egypt as Israel’s strategic partner should start with the Egyptians shutting down completely the illicit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. This means ending any possibility that Hamas can re-arm and likewise ensure that Hamas leaders use those tunnels as an escape hatch to avoid the consequences of their atrocities on Oct 7. Should Egypt’s leaders including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s refrain from these necessary actions, the prospect for continued stable relations with Israel would diminish substantially.
How has the transformation of Benjamin Netanyahu into Israel’s national scapegoat become so pervasive, so without question or doubt that it is accepted as truth by many in Israel and too many others living in the diaspora? Is the Israeli public so gullible that it actually believes the mainstream media that portrays the war against Hamas with the object of demoralizing, depressing, and creating an atmosphere of witch hunting and blame instead of concentrating on the war effort? Netanyahu has become a dartboard for all that is wrong in Israel and all that is wrong with the war against Hamas.
Should you review the Israeli newspapers, in Hebrew or in English and watch the mainstream TV stations, you cannot escape the conclusion that everything is the fault of Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu. Don’t even think of blaming Yahya Sinwar, the barbaric and psychopathic leader of Hamas. No matter which channel, the malevolent message is identical; Netanyahu is extending the war against Hamas for his own political survival, Netanyahu is sidelining the generals—Benny Gantz, Yoav Gallant, and Gadi Eisenkot— despite them being an integral part of his own war cabinet, Netanyahu will ruin our relations with the Biden government and the rest of the European governments, Netanyahu puts his own political career over Israel’s vital interests. The list goes on and on and has nothing to do with reality and is not even slightly related to the high marks that the Israeli public have given the government in handling the war against Hamas in the South and Hezbollah in the north.
Only this past week, a letter signed by senior commanders of Israel’s military and intelligence leadership over the past decades has been circulating demanding the “immediate removal of Benjamin Netanyahu from the leadership of the State of Israel.” It almost seems like an Iranian bot of the type many Israelis got at the start of the war. The content of the letter is nothing new and rehashes demands of the same signatories from the past year during the anti-judicial reform demonstrations with an update as a result of the Oct 7th massacre.
In their letter they claim that Netanyahu represents an existential and ongoing threat to the people and to the State of Israel. These retired military and intelligence leaders who were personally responsible for developing Israel’s failed military, intelligence, and strategic doctrines and policies that guided and mandated the evolution of Israel’s military capabilities over recent decades, don’t even bother to mention the direct role of Iran and her proxies Hezbollah and Hamas that led to the Oct 7th massacre. As far as they are concerned Netanyahu is solely responsible, and they have doubled down with their condescension by refusing to be held accountable for decades of their devastating military doctrines that brought Israel to the current war with Hamas.
Moshe Ya’alon, Dan Halutz, Tamir Pardo, Nadav Argaman, Danny Yatom, and Assaf Hefetz are a few of the tens of left-leaning or ambitious former military and intelligence commanders that lead the list of signatories. What they fail to mention alongside the role of Iran and her proxies is the simple fact that they were at the head of Israel’s leading security agencies during the past thirty years during which Israel adopted one strategic catastrophe after another: The signing of the Oslo agreement, the Camp David agreement, the unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, the Second Intifada, the Second Lebanese War, and enabling, over the past decade, the Hamas terror organization to build the underground infrastructure and tunnels being currently systematically destroyed by the IDF under the orders and objectives expressed by the Netanyahu government. The list goes on and on, and instead of accepting some of the blame, they solely blame Netanyahu for everything, and take responsibility for nothing.
Helping these former military leaders in their attempt to cancel the results of Israel’s elections and the will of the Israeli public and their voting preferences is the Israeli mainstream media who have fallen over one another in their race to advance an agenda that claims that we in Israel are losing the war against Hamas. They claim at every opportunity that the war is unwinnable and that the IDF is demanded to do the impossible. Rather than emulating Israel’s heroes on the front lines, with thousands of examples of matchless bravery, sacrifice, and honorable bereavement on the part of the families of those that have given their lives protecting Israel, the media climb over on another and claim mendaciously that reserve soldiers are torn between serving and family. The high level of motivation expressed by hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the front lines who claim at every opportunity that Israel must finish the job and destroy Hamas and any future ability to threaten the residents of the Gaza Strip envelope and the State of Israel are ignored or dismissed.
The mainstream media has gone one step further. They claim that the economy is on the verge of a downturn and will soon implode. All this despite the coffee shops and gourmet restaurants being packed night after night in Tel-Aviv, traffic jams which have returned during rush hour, that the local stock market has reached heights, the local currency has strengthened against the dollar in recent weeks, and the unparalleled profits of the banking, insurance, and industrial sectors. Blaming Netanyahu all along the way.
The motivation behind making Netanyahu into the national scapegoat is less directly related to the war on Hamas but more in response to the Oct 7th massacre aftermath and greater forces at work here. As a result of the war, a number of political trends are emerging: The first has to do with the demise of the two-state solution and the political ramifications for the progressive/leftist political parties in Israel’s Knesset who have built their political reputation on this idea. A second trend emerging is that the Israeli public has shifted rightward politically and the progressive left will have a diminishing representation in any future elections. A third trend has to do with the public expectation for the establishment of a national commission of inquiry on the Oct 7th massacre after the war is won.
The generals and senior commanders who signed the letter to demand Netanyahu’s immediate resignation have a direct responsibility for decisions and policies that led to the Oct 7th massacre. In demanding that Netanyahu resign, they hope they can control the conclusions of any future commission of inquiry.
In a recent talk with Douglas Murray, Netanyahu said that what matters to him is not his "legacy" but the survival and success of the Jewish State. This past week in a recent press conference, Netanyahu touched on the idea that the progressive left and their cohorts in the mainstream media have nothing positive or worthwhile to say about Israel’s leader and the government that he heads. Netanyahu’s brilliant response says it all and was quoted widely over Israel’s social media: “I’ll keep fighting Hamas, and you’ll keep fighting me. That’s the division of labor.”
It seems that in today’s toxic public discourse, one cannot speak freely about anti-Semitism without Jew haters invoking the war against Hamas as a justification to falsely accusing Israel of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid. In the minds of Harvard’s faculty members, as well as in the terror tunnels of Hamas, both the leaders of Harvard and the leaders of the Hamas terror organizations are all too ready to ignore or justify anti-Jewish sentiment on their campus and the massacre of over twelve hundred Israeli civilians as a culmination of a 30 year reign of terror against Jews and the State of Israel.
Long before the October 7 massacre in southern Israel, pro-Palestinian activists at Harvard have freely spoken their minds by proclaiming on social media, on campus publications, to anyone willing to listen and pass the messages across: “kill the Jews” and “destroy Israel.” These messages of incitement to murder were always accompanied by terms like “intifada,” “apartheid,” “resistance,” “occupying power,” “right to self-defense,” “breaking the siege,” “Zionist,” “genocide,” “decolonization,” “death to Jews,” “F—K the Jews,” “All Jews should die,” “Hamas should kill more of you,” ”Israel terrorism” and let’s not forget the popular and all inclusive; “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
In America, criminal code defines “terroristic threats” as: “A person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to: commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another; cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.” Terroristic threats can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on circumstances, according to the code and of course in the words of Harvard’s former President, according to “context”. Essentially, just conveying these threats during a rally or demonstration constitutes a crime.
Publicly defending the Hamas terror organization and its actions has been awarded first amendment status and received across the board vindication under the banner of free speech by Harvard leaders and faculty. All this despite the sexual and gender-based violence and mutilation of victims of Hamas on Oct 7. So what are we talking about? Army reservist Shari Mendes of the IDF Rabbinical Unit; “Our team commander saw several female soldiers who were shot in the crotch – intimate parts/vagina – or shot in the breast. This seemed to be a systematic genital mutilation of a group of victims,” “It was often impossible for families to be shown faces – and it seems as if mutilation of these women’s faces was an objective in their murders," A survivor said she watched a terrorist who had cut off a woman’s breasts played with them – after he had raped her. Our unit has seen bodies that were beheaded or had limbs cut off, mutilated, “One young woman came in with no legs: they had been cut off. We saw several severed heads, one with a large kitchen knife still embedded in the neck.” “Charred remains arrived and had to be identified and prepared for burial. The bodies were burned beyond recognition, often without arms or legs; they did not resemble anything human,” “Sometimes we sifted through piles of ash that disintegrated as we touched them. These soldiers were burnt alive at very high temperatures.” Empowering students at Harvard to defend the actions of Hamas despite irrefutable forensic evidence of the atrocities depicted above shows that, for Gay and faculty members of Harvard, they have no expectations that Hamas and their student supporters can embrace the idea of the sanctity of life, this is the true meaning behind the bigotry of low expectations.
The bigotry of low expectations”, was a phrase coined by Michael Gerson. The phrase meant to explain the pervasive predisposition of American teachers of not expecting disadvantaged pupils or minorities to meet the same standard of behavior and scholastic achievement set for the general student population. Harvard's former and disgraced President, Claudine Gay seems to be the very embodiment of this idea. Gay, an Afro-American promoted to the position of President of Harvard, despite a long and pervasive history of plagiarism within most of her scholarly writings including her PhD dissertation.
In retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising that Gay’s promotion to President of Harvard was based to a large extent on a bigotry of low expectations of her abilities, and she herself has projected the very same bigotry of low expectations by justifying the anti-Semitic, and pro-Hamas actions of her faculty and student populations. The reluctance to expose and explicitly condemn the savagery inflicted by the Hamas terror organization or the wide spread support of Hamas articulated by faculty and students at Harvard is the logical extension of this kind of thinking and worldview. Demanding that Israel maintain an unsustainable level of respecting human rights even when it conflicts with Israel’s right to self- defense only perpetuates the racist and bigotry of low expectations not only of the Hamas terror organizations but also of the future leaders among Harvard’s graduates.
Now is the time for moral clarity. One need not be a supporter of Israel to condemn savage acts of terrorism without attempts at justification or equivocation. The academic leaders of Harvard should acknowledge that there is a climate of primal hatred directed at Jews and of the State of Israel. We must expose the “root cause of terror”: a “culture of incitement pervading Palestinian Arab institutions and their supporters on the campus of Harvard that glorifies violence and martyrdom – and demonizes Jews and Israelis. This incitement is nothing more than the latest manifestation of the bigotry of low expectations.
The annotated Palestinian narrative; 20 year cycles of self-induced Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe)
During the past century, the Palestinian Arabs have specialized in killing Jews and have committed their individual and collective existence towards one goal, the murdering of Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel and for the past 75 years, Israel has had no respite from acts of Palestinian Arab terror while their multi-generational leadership has proudly proclaimed threats of Israel’s eminent destruction. The establishment of their own state, namely the State of Palestine, has never been their primary goal, that goal was and will always be subservient to their goal of eradicating the State of Israel.
The UN partition plan of mandatory Palestine in 1947 that divided the land in a manner that would have allowed each state to have a majority population of its chosen identity,, and that both Israel and Palestine would be established one alongside the other was rejected outright by the Arabs. Since then, the Rogers Plan, the Road Map for peace, the Oslo Agreement, and the Camp David agreement have all been ultimately rejected by the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership. Any one of these plans would have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state, yet the Palestinian Arabs have consistently rejected again and again for the past century any opportunity to end their century old conflict with the Jews. The principal grievance of the Palestinian Arabs has always been counter intuitively not the absence of a Palestinian state, but that the State of Palestine cannot come into existence without the disappearance or destruction of the State of Israel. This principle grievance of the Palestinian Arabs spanning generations, has brought upon them one “Nakba” after another.
The October 7th invasion of Israel’s communities in the Gaza Envelope and the barbaric murder of 1200 Israeli civilians wasn’t a military operation; it was a Jew–killing spree. The invasion and the mass murder by Hamas will also enter the history books as the Palestinian Arabs' greatest tactical and political blunder over the past 100 years culminating in the fourth cycle of “Nakba” and an end to the presence of any Arab control over the area known as the Gaza Strip. Their goal of establishing an independent Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria (i.e., "West Bank") has taken a severe setback and has unified the Israeli public from both sides of the political spectrum against their state adjacent to the state of Israel. Hamas has not only dug its own grave, but buried once and for all the possibility that a Palestinian Arab state will come in to being..
What differentiates the Palestinian Arabs from other nations who have built throughout the last century on the ruins of their historic homelands? What has made the Palestinian Arabs so successful in ensuring that no Palestinian state has come into existence over the last century and most likely will never become more than a mantra for supporters demonstrating on the streets of New York, London, or Paris?
The first cycle most associated with the saga began during the mid-1920s culminating in the War of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The Arab leader Haj Amin Al-Husseini the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an avowed anti-Semite was extensively involved in Arab unrest and terror during this cycle. Haj Amin Al-Husseini met covertly with representatives of the Nazi SS, and not coincidently with Otto Adolf Eichmann, who was a German-Austrian Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major implementers of the Holocaust’s systematic annihilation and extermination of European Jewry. Haj Amin Al-Husseini played a leading role in inciting the local Arabs to attack and murder Jews. The Hebron Massacre of 1929 in which 69 Jewish residents of the ancient city of Hebron were viciously murdered by their Arab neighbors, the massacre and mutilation of the 35 young soldiers of the “Lamed Hey convoy”, and the Arab Revolt during the 1930s against the Jews who lived in mandatory Palestine are only a few examples of how the Arabs brought upon themselves their “Nakba”. Their revolt was unsuccessful, and its consequences affected the outcome of the 1948 War of Independence and caused the British Mandate to give crucial support to pre-state Zionist forces like the Haganah.
The second cycle of the “Nakba” from 1948 until 1967 was characterized by the self-expulsion by the Arabs. David Ben-Gurion wrote at the time: “The Arabs’ exit from Palestine….began immediately after the UN resolution, from the areas earmarked for the Jewish state. And we have explicit documents testifying that they left Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders, with the Mufti at their head, under the assumption that the invasion of the Arab armies at the expiration of the Mandate will destroy the Jewish state and push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive.” In retrospect, a war was embarked on enthusiastically, with much unanimity, and with much anticipation by the Arab countries of driving the Jews into the sea, and when they lost, their leadership, cynically transformed the narrative into a story of victimhood.
The third cycle of the “Nakba” between the years 1967 and 1987 culminated in the “first intifada”. Masses of Palestinian Arabs attacked Israeli troops with stones, axes, Molotov cocktails, hand grenades, and firearms supplied by their leadership, killing and wounding soldiers and civilians. Throughout the intifada, the PLO leadership played a leading role in orchestrating the insurrection frequently by issuing leaflets dictating which days violence was to be escalated, and who was to be its target. Jews were not the only victims of the violence. In fact, as the intifada waned around the time of the Gulf War in 1991, the number of Arabs killed for political and other reasons by Palestinian Arab death squads in what amount to an “intrafada” exceeded the number killed in clashes with Israeli troops. Victims were stabbed, hacked with axes, shot, clubbed and burned with acid.
The fourth cycle of the “Nakba” between the years 2000 and 2023 began with the 2nd intifada and culminated in the Oct 7th massacre. The 2nd intifada was a long, sustained, and intensive series of terror attacks with Palestinian Arab suicide bombers blowing up buses sometimes twice a day. Over 1000 Israeli’s were killed and over 8000 wounded. This 2nd intifada fundamentally altered Israeli society because it impacted everyone. No one, regardless of their political opinions, level of religious observance or ethnicity, was left unaffected. For the latter part of the fourth cycle, the Palestinian Arabs led by Hamas continued their war of attrition by firing thousands of missiles on southern and central Israel. Hamas instigated violent riots on the border with Israeli communities, kites and helium balloons with incendiary material attached were launched from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli side. Hamas spread its ideology to Judea and Samaria (i.e.- West Bank) resulting in the deaths of hundreds of local Jewish residents.
Each and every cycle of the Palestinian Arabs' self-induced “Nakba” has progressively diminished the eventuality of a separate state. Former President Clinton was quoted in the past - “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” “I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza, 96 to 97 percent of the \West Bank\, compensating land in Israel, you name it.”
The massacre of Oct 7, 2023, signaling the end of the fourth cycle of the Palestinian “Nakba” will most likely be the final cycle. No Israeli government, nor the Israeli public from both sides of the political spectrum will support the establishment of the State of Palestine. That is the Nakba, the self-inflicted tragedy of the Palestinian Arabs.