For Israel’s Magen David Adom – a Pyrrhic Victory

“If that’s a victory, we’d hate to see a defeat,” declared the Dec. 9, 2005 editorial of the Wall Street Journal – the most influential daily in the United States. The editorial referred to Magen David Adom’s (MDA) admission to the International Red Cross, in exchange for relinquishing the red Star of David for a red crystal/diamond (unless the host country allows the MDA personnel to insert the Red Star of David into the crystal/diamond).

The stance of the Wall Street Journal, which is a staunch supporter of Israel, demonstrates the erosion in Israel’s strategic image as a result of its sweeping concessions since 1993.

MDA’s capitulation – with the active encouragement of Israel’s government – reflects the spirit of Oslo, which has defined every Israeli Prime Minister since 1992, and has transformed “Red Lines” into “pink lines”, in order to avoid pressure.

This state of mind represents weakness as if it were strength, appeasement as determination, vacillation as restraint, adherence and devotion to roots, principles and patriotism as extremism, and iron-clad historical and security assets as “barren hills”, negotiation cards and liabilities.

However, nations don’t concede their national ethos and values – certainly not the 3,000-year-old ones – for any benefits, but as an expression of caving in to pressure. History shows that sovereignty and national security rest on ironclad assets, which tend to exact a short-term cost, but yield long term benefits. The neglect of such national properties demonstrates weakness. It adds fuel to the fire of pressure and terrorism.

Arab countries have never conceded their Red Crescent symbol, in order to join the Red Cross. They consider Israel’s concession of the Star of David as one more symptom of Israel’s disengagement from its roots and another symptom of going soft, rather than a sign of restraint and strength. [emphasis added]

Magen David Adom’s capitulation – even its willingness to enter into negotiation over the fate of its historic symbol – would have never even been considered by any Prime Minister prior to 1992 (from Ben Gurion to Shamir). But then the Oslo state of mind has afflicted Israel’s policy makers. The current form of capitulation is just another stage in the dramatic erosion of Israel’s steadfastness and power of deterrence. It has joined the steep, slippery slope of withdrawals and flimsiness: Snatching thousands of PLO terrorists from oblivion in Yemen, Iraq, Sudan and Tunisia and importing them to the door steps of their intended victims, putting Jerusalem on the negotiation table, coming to terms with a growing balance of terror with the Palestinian Authority and Hizbullah, ignoring hate education in the PA and Abu Mazen’s central role in directing the escalation of incitement and terrorism, recognizing Hamas as a “political organization” running for elections, bowing to Condoleezza Rice’s demand to give away control of the Gaza passages thus facilitating a flow of terrorists and military hardware to Gaza, Judea and Samaria, etc.

Until the 1992 transformation of state of mind, Israeli prime ministers resisted much heavier pressure. Therefore, their views were not accepted but they gained in respect, and ultimately enhanced strategic relations with the United States.

Magen David Adom’s capitulation is yet another Pyrrhic victory for a policy that sacrifices a long term national security, an eternal vision and 4,000 year old roots and principles on the altar of short-term tactics and quick and tenuous political gratifications. [emphasis added]

The MDA capitulation is yet another case of defying the lessons of history, which have proven that the preservation of roots has preserved the Jewish people and facilitated the renewal of sovereignty on its soil. Pyrrhic victories have caused cracks in Israel’s sovereignty and have transformed Israel from a prototype of defiance to a role model of retreat and submission to pressure [emphasis added].

Yoram Ettinger