Israel's Great Foreign Policy Debate:
The Crisis Mood Continues
Unnoticed by an outside world very much preoccupied in other quarters, a foreign policy debate of unusual scope has been under way for some months now in Israel. It has involved a tremendous amount of discussion, both vocal and printed—and perhaps even some thinking. This debate is not directly connected with any specific current event or development; foreign affairs have certainly not played a major role in the Histadrut and Knesset election campaigns. But perhaps “debate” is not the right word since what is taking place is more like a series of uncoordinated monologues.
No important idea or argument has emerged in the course of all this discussion that was not heard as long as a year or two ago. One is reminded of the China debate in the United States in which it came to be assumed that the changes in the Far East since the Second World War were for the most part, if not exclusively, the consequence of the acts of certain American statesmen, and not due to factors over which the West had little control. In Israel the deterioration of the country’s position in foreign affairs over the last five or six years is in a similar way attributed solely to the fact that somebody high up bungled matters. I do not know about China, but such an assumption is surely wrong so far as Israel is concerned.
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