Israel’s Lost Opportunity With Turkey

Aluf Benn, writing in the Israel Haaretz, discussed his sadness concerning the collapse of close relations between Israel and Turkey. He expressed pain at remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan who described Israel as “a nation of liars and murderers” and “Turkey is not an Iran that seeks to wipe Israel off the planet as (foreign minister) Avigdor Lieberaman believes.” For decades both nations had close working relations from the beginning of Israel when its initial prime minister, David Ben-Gurion spoke Turkish and his successor, Moshe Sharett not only spoke Turkish but served in the Ottoman army during World War I. During the 1990s, a close working relationship between Israel leader Yitzhak Rabin and the Turkish Prime Minister was evidence both nations shared common values and belief in a secular society. Israel has changed and today 45% of first graders in Israel schools attend a religious run institution while secularism in Turkey is under attack.

However, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu must assume responsibility for creating the current divide with Turkey. The very idea of appointing a crude ignorant thug like Avigdor Lieberman was an invitation to diplomatic disaster. Lieberman deliberately insulted the Turkish ambassador to his nation and Netanyahu has pursued policies of obstruction with Palestinian leaders. Such behavior meant it was simply a matter of time before an inept, stupid action such as the attack on the flotilla was bound to occur.

At this point in time, Israel leadership is more akin to the leaders of Iran than to democracy. The real question is when will the people of Israel begin acting like Jews?