LOYALTY TO THE 'GOOD OL' BOYS'
By Uri Milstein
In Israel we continue to pay the price for Ben-Gurion's Bolshevism. Instead of a meritocracy, we are led by a clique of 'appointees' whose promotion is unrelated to their achievements
The ethnographer, Prof. Lev Gomilov of Petersburg University, claimed in his research on the formation of nations that different mental fields exist in the world, to which people are drawn according to their characters, so that the borders between the mental fields determine the national borders.
Gomilov compared the mental fields to magnetic fields, with all of their physical characteristics, and marked them with geographic tracks which, according to him, are the mental - magnetic spheres of influence. He determined that new nations were formed in history along certain geographic axes, and not by chance, and over limited historical periods, each of which lasted approximately two hundred years.
In 1997 Prof. Andrew Dovrin, an expert in business psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology, published the book 'Personal Magnetism', in which he identified magnetism with charisma and explained how it helps in personal and professional success. According to him, magnetism is not a substitute for talent, but it doubles the power of all the other personality traits. He further claimed in his book, that everyone has a certain amount of magnetism, which can be developed.
1.1. The task of the real leader: to attract
The analogy of the magnet and its attributes is very effective in clarifying man's behavior in general and especially the phenomenon of leadership, because it is possible to maneuver people in a certain direction. One man is the basic unit of the group, but he is also a complex biological and physiological system in and of himself. Every person has his own policy of survival, which is also expressed within the framework of the 'group', which has its own survival policy.
The complexity of man (like the complexity of a group of people) is measured by the length of the message needed to describe his character. The policy of survival, on the other hand, can be described as an algorithm (a series of programmed and defined instructions for performing a task) for use with personal and social energy for survival purposes, depending on the power of the energy and the quality of the program. Since no two people are alike, their survival policy is also different, and the length of the message required to describe it is also different.
In order for national action to achieve its aims, the nation must prevent mutual neutralization of its components. Therefore, the group must be magnetized, i.e., all the operation vectors of all its members must be pointed in one direction, along one axis, like the operational vectors in the molecules of magnetized metals. And so, the task of a leader is to magnetize the units within the group, and the leadership trait is the trait of magnetism.
One can magnetize in various ways, depending on the task, the group's character (which is derived, amongst other things, from the character of the people in the group) and the circumstances. For each task, each group, and the various circumstances, it is possible to adjust the different styles of magnetism, and therefore - the leaders also vary. There are leaders who can adjust to different styles and others can only operate in a specific set of circumstances.
In the history of Zionism there were only two national magnetic leaders, and their magnetism worked for only a short, but very critical, time: Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl, at the founding of the Zionist Federation at the end of the 19th century, and David Ben-Gurion during in the War of Independence and at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel. Herzl's influence before the aforementioned period and thereafter was not great because he had no mobilized followers. On the other hand, Ben-Gurion's influence on the design of the Jewish settlement and the State of Israel was decisive, since he was a magnetic leader of the dominant party in the Yishuv and the State: Poelei Zion, which evolved into Achdut Avoda which evolved into Mapai.
Both Herzl and Ben-Gurion were leaders' leaders. They led natural national-political elites that formed among in the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in Israel. Famous members of Herzl's elite were Menachem Ussishkin, Zeev Jabotinsky and Chaim Weizmann. Famous members of Ben-Gurion's elite were Berl Katznelson, Eliahu Golomb and Moshe Sharett. These people didn't owe their positions to Herzl and Ben-Gurion, they didn't owe them personal loyalty, but they chose a magnetic leader, in order to achieve the aims of the group they led, and from this aspect 'they used' the leaders no less than they 'used' them to establish their position. But Ben-Gurion also had negative characteristics, the most prominent of which was his being a Bolshevik. Like his teacher Lenin, Ben-Gurion viewed the totalitarian party as the driving force forming the image of the Jewish settlement and of the State of Israel. His party controlled the security (the 'Hagana'), the professional union (the Histadrut), the economy ('Solel Boneh', Koor, Bank Hapoalim), education (the workers' stream), health (The General Sick Fund), culture ('Davar', 'Am Oved') and even sport ('Hapoel').
The kibbutz movement, and to a lesser extent the moshav movement, which were financed by national funds, supplied Ben-Gurion with free activists to carry out his policies. This explains why Ben-Gurion flourished in the Zionist movement while Zeev Jabotinsky, whose national potential was even more magnetic, was relegated to the margins of the Zionist endeavor.
One of the disastrous results of Ben-Gurion's magnetic Bolshevism was that it destroyed of the mechanisms for developing natural elites in the Jewish settlement and in the State of Israel. The gap was filled by appointed elites, who served Ben-Gurion and his friends, and when the latter retired the apparatchiks took the place of the leaders and became the dummy-leaders of the State of Israel.
During the transition stage between Ben-Gurion and Ehud Barak the state was led by second rate leaders, without national magnetic ability, such as Moshe Sharett, Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. After them the slaves took over: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. The recent period can be characterized as "The slave who would be king."
In order for a state to exist and fulfill its aims it must enable the workings of three elite groups: The ideologues who serve the government and the behavior code for its members is loyalty; the knights, who take personal risk upon themselves for the sake of the country and the people and whose code of behavior is responsibility; the intellectuals, who finds flaws in the government, in order to learn from them, and whose code of behavior is criticism.
The Ben-Gurion Bolshevism glorified the ideological stream and ostracized the other two groups to their extinction. People with knightly or intellectual potential joined the ideological stream for their personal survival - and assimilated. This is the situation in Israel today in the universities, in the press, in the senior officer corps and in the economy.
1.2. The task of the 'intelligentsia': to assimilate
Ben-Gurion and his group controlled the Yishuv and the State directly from the days of the Second Aliya at the turn of the century up until after the Yom Kippur War and the publication of the Agranat Report in 1974.
Even though the Yom Kippur War exposed the failure of the Palmach clique's security doctrine, it didn't prevent that same clique from taking control of the political system or Rabin, the clique's preeminent representative, from becoming Prime Minister in 1974.
The Palmach clique was nurtured from the time of the Arab revolt in the late 1930's to become the elite whose future was to control the country. It was during that period that the 'Wanderers' and the 'Night Divisions' of Wingate were formed. The Palmach itself was formally found in 1941. The commanders of the first two divisions of the Palmach were Yigal Allon and Moshe Dayan, who were then earmarked to become leaders of the Yishuv after the founders had departed. As opposed to the ideology of the Zionist Left which was not militaristic, since the end of the 1930's it became clear that 'Judah will rise in blood and fire' - a conviction still widely accepted in Israel today. As a result, since that period, the consensus has been that since the leaders of the Yishuv and the State had to lead wars, they should come from the army.
The officers of the Palmach, the enlisted unit of the Hagana, all came from the Left, even though most of them were Yitzhak Tubenkin's men and not David Ben-Gurion's cadres. The first commander of the Palmach, Yitzhak Sadeh, was counted amongst the generation of the founders, but the second commander, Yigal Allon and the other senior officers, were counted amongst the generation of the sons, whose future was to inherit the founders.
The officers of the Palmach were not appointed to their positions because of their military abilities, but on the basis of their political loyalty. Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin did not take part in any real battle in their lives and didn't command under fire in any battle. Nor did they express any military doctrine nor publish any original military study. Allon was loyal to the founders and Rabin was loyal to Allon. Their fame as military men and heroes was supplied to them virtually by the intellectuals who joined, as mentioned, the ideological stream and in fact filled the post of public relations men who were disguised as intellectuals. The most prominent amongst them was Colonel Meir Pail (ret.). Ever since Pail decided he was a 'historian,' he has not stopped praising the Palmach and its senior commanders as heroes with superior military intelligence.
Together with Pail, who has negatively influenced Israeli military culture- as commander of the military officers' school, a military lecturer, a lecturer in the National Security College, a lecture in the Avshalom Institute of the Tel-Aviv University and a popular writer and interviewer in the media - worked Chaim Hefer - the verse writer for 'Yediot Ahronot,' Prof. Gabi Cohen - the historian and ex-Palmach member and founder of the Zionist Research Institute at Tel-Aviv University, and Prof. Anita Shapira - the historian from Tel-Aviv University who in her youth was Gabi Cohen's disciple and later on became the head of the Rabin Institute for Israel Studies.
And so, with the help of this mobilized intelligentsia, the Palmach received overwhelming national esteem and adulation to the point where any company commander became a hero, battalion commanders became visionaries, brigade commanders - strategists, and the heads of the Palmach have been thought of as military giants on the level of Napoleon. This brainwashing, which has been carried out over decades, helped the ex-Palmach members to be painted as a super-elite suited to take the national reigns of power and hold tight.
In order to qualify the Palmach members to control the state they were appointed to senior posts in the Israel Defense Forces, without any connection to their abilities and or past performance. And so, most of the Chiefs of Staff of the State of Israel were graduates of the Palmach: Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Chaim Bar-Lev, David Elazar, Mordecai Gur and Rafael Eitan. Apart from David Elazar, who was dismissed from the army after the Agranat Committee Report (to investigate the Yom Kippur War) was published, all the others were Knesset members, and one of them became Prime Minister.
These men performed poorly both in the IDF and in the government. Even more problematically, they promoted even worse people to key positions beneath them, and brought them into the governing elites from Ehud Barak and on from there.
1.3. The task of the 'commander': to become tame
The Palmach and the rest of the units that the Hagana set up did not operate well in the War of Independence, but the least bad army won the war. After the war Ben-Gurion and those who carried out his orders covered up the true facts on the war, in order to prevent having to pay the political price of poor performance by losing power.
The struggle to hide the truth of the war's history continues on today. By hiding the facts Ben-Gurion and his legions managed to attain their most important achievements. It is the citizens of Israel who pay the price: the causes of the failures were never located, no lessons were drawn, failed commanders were promoted and went on to build a flawed military, and when they finished their military careers they transferred seamlessly to the seat of government.
The army's failures in all its tasks, from the late 1940's to the early 1950's exposed one natural leader from the knightly stream who did not change his spots to get promoted: Arik Sharon. Sharon formed the first elite unit in the Army to combat terrorism: Unit 101, at the time when Mordecai Makleff was the Chief of Staff. Unit 101 was only active for four months - from August to December 1953. Moshe Dayan disbanded it immediately after his appointment as Chief of staff at the beginning of 1954. The 101 was considered an 'undisciplined' unit, since Sharon's code of behavior was responsibility and not loyalty. Most of the army's commanders, and especially the ex-Palmach people, wanted it destroyed for this reason, and Dayan did destroy it.
But Dayan knew how low the level of the army was and he valued Sharon as a ''war horse.' Accordingly he appointed Sharon commander of the army's paratroop unit: battalion 890, which Sharon turned into a retaliatory force. For two and a half years the battalion expanded into a paratroop brigade under the command of Sharon and became the army's spearhead, until the Sinai Campaign at the end of October 1956.
While Unit 101, whose men were knights, didn't contribute anything to the Bolshevik elites of the State of Israel, battalion 890 and the paratroop brigade took the baton of elite formation from the Palmach. The liaison officers for this power transfer were the paratroop company commanders Mordecai (Motta) Gur and Raphael (Raful) Eitan.
The well-oiled machine of the elite power structure undermined Sharon's plan to launch a revolution in the army by preventing the paratroopers from becoming a superior military unit. The men promoted in the paratroopers to command positions, were promoted not because of their abilities or past accomplishments in battle but for their loyalty - to the state's governing bodies and to the political machine in charge. The only one who didn't change his skin was Ariel Sharon himself, who reached the rank of general by the skin of his teeth. Sharon was not made Chief of Staff despite the fact that he commanded the army's most successful units, both in the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.
On the other hand, his domesticated officers, Motta and Raful, were unsuccessful Chiefs of Staff. Sharon's deputy in the 101st, Shlomo Baum, one of the most outstanding military knights in the army's history, was forced to finish his service when he refused to play the game.
The elite that grew up in the paratroops received the command of the army and the leadership of the State. The Chiefs of Staff, Moshe Levy and Dan Shomron were officers of Ariel Sharon in the paratroops. Amnon Lipkin-Shachak was enlisted into the paratroops slightly later on as were Major General (ret.) Matan Vilnai, who serves in the Barak government, and Yitzhak Mordechai, who was also the general of three regional commands during the first Intifada, and failed in all of them. Mordechai survived all these failures unscathed and went on to become a failed Defense Minister, a candidate for Prime Minister, and appointed the current IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz who also comes from the paratroops.
Before he was wounded, the hero of the 101 (the non-virtual), Meir Har-Zion, began to set up the professional elite unit, inside the paratroop brigade of Arik Sharon. This unit was supposed to operate across the border, on operational and intelligence missions. Har-Zion's wound deferred the plan by a few years until at the end of the fifties the Reconnaissance Company of the General Staff (GSRC, in Hebrew 'Sayeret Matkal') was established.
Apparently this company was supposed to fill the historic position of Unit 101: to be the fighting model for the entire army, and to act as the intellectual-battle arm along the model of the General Headquarters Corps in the Prussian Army and the German Army established on the initiative of General Schranhorst at the beginning of the 19th century. But while Prussia had a high military culture, the enforcement culture in Israel was Bolshevist.
And so the GSRC became the incubator for senior officers, who were loyal to the clique and the political leaders. Like the Palmach and Battalion 890, from the outset the GSRC was fashioned in the national consciousness as a unit whose soldiers were heroes, its team officers - strategists - and its commanders - visionaries. Real intellectuals, whose code of behavior was criticism, did not supply the public with information about the unit. Rather, the unit's existence and glorify were disseminated by the 'intellectuals of the lie,' whose code of behavior was loyalty. This PR job was consciously undertaken to groom the unit's commanders for the command of the army and the leadership of the State. In this regard, Ehud Barak is the 'Yitzhak Rabin of the GSRC'.
Between the paratroop brigade and the GSRC there was cross-fertilization: The first officers of the GSRC, Dov Tamari and Uzi Yairi, and later on Matan Vilnai, came from the paratroopers. Yairi served as Bureau Chief for the Chief of Staff Bar-Lev, and then received the command of the paratroop brigade. The present Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, came from the paratroops, transferred to the GSRC and returned to the paratroops, before being promoted to the senior position in the army.
The true and confirmed facts about Ehud Barak as a member of the GSRC are not known by anybody. They are guarded as state secrets. It is only known that he received five medals for bravery - something that in the public mind makes him worthy of the Chief of Staff position. What is known is that as commander of the 100th Armored Battalion in the Yom Kippur War he failed to carry out his mission to evacuate Yitzhak Mordechai's soldiers in Battalion 890 from the Chinese Farm in the Sinai; as a Deputy Commander of the Eastern Corps in Operation Peace for the Galilee he was personally responsible for the rout at Sultan-Yaakov and a partner to the rest of the fiascos on that front; as head of Military Intelligence he failed to forecast the outbreak of the Intifada; as Chief of Staff he fled from responsibility in the Tzelim B incident where five men from the GSRC were killed in an operational exercise; as Prime Minister and Defense Minister he was defeated by the Hizballa in South Lebanon, and trounced by the Palestinians in the current Intifada.
The irony of history is that many in Israel view the flight from Lebanon as a badge of honor for Ehud Barak. Clearly, a military man does not need to be in charge in order to plan a strategic blunder. Yossi Sarid could have carried it out just as 'successfully.' These people forget that Barak's stunning defeats in the Lebanon War and the first Intifada were what forced the 'Oslo Agreements' on Yitzhak Rabin in the first place.
The GSRC has given the nation of Israel former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Minister Matan Vilnai, the former Head of the Mossad and current head of Barak's strategic policy team Danny Yatom and the parade still marches on.
The only high ranking exception to the pageant of failures in Israel's military menagerie is Ariel Sharon, who succeeded while battling the military and political establishment. To repay him, the elites fought him tooth and nail with people like Meir Pail cutting into him - casting aspersions on his military achievements. The ideologues pitched battle against Sharon demonstrated how the appointed elites set out to destroy real potential leaders, most of whom they managed to distance from political activity and other bases of elite power.
This is the price that the Israeli people and the State of Israel pays for Ben-Gurion the Bolshevik who built the political - security - social system of Israel in the Bolshevik mold.
- Item #: LOYALTY TO THE 'GOOD OL' BOYS'