Taking Different Lessons From Same Threat

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Yeshiva students pray for safe return of three kidnapped youths

With the terrorist kidnapping of three teenagers dominating the news cycle and nearly every private conversation for the past two days, Israelis have had little attention to spare for America’s national agony in Iraq.

It’s hard to think of a time when the two nations’ fates were so closely linked, yet their concerns were so utterly disconnected. It seems like neither public has time for the other’s troubles.

The similarities of their situations go beyond their struggles with Islamist terrorists. In both countries, it seems, the initial horror of the events themselves — the fall of Mosul, the disappearance of the three yeshiva students — quickly gave way to anger at the perpetrators and their enablers.

And at that moment, when thoughts turned to the enablers, each country’s political sides began to turn on each other.

In America, of course, it’s those who blame Barack Obama for pulling out of Iraq before the mess there was fixed versus those who blame George W. Bush for creating the mess by going into Iraq in the first place.

In Israel, it’s those who blame Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas for opening the door to Hamas — and by none-too-subtle implication, the supporters of the Oslo peace process that created an openly armed Palestinian presence on Israeli-controlled soil — versus those who accuse the right, and especially Benjamin Netanyahu, of freezing forward motion and threatening the tentative stability that’s been won in the past few years.

There’s much more to be said, of course. Obama is accused of encouraging extremists throughout the region by his failure to stand with Mubarak in Egypt and failing to go after Assad in Syria. Netanyahu is accused of inflaming the current situation and weakening Abbas as he maneuvers for the upper hand against Hamas.

And while the squabbling escalates, three Israeli families suffer in agony while they wait for new of their teenage sons. And thousands of American families watch bitterly as the sacrifice of their sons and daughters goes for naught. And the world gets darker.

Chemi Shalev has an important analysis in Haaretz of the two nations’ current troubles and the way in which their current needs intersect and conflict. Here’s the nub:

And this:

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Taking Different Lessons From Same Threat

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