Since its earliest days, Israel has faced the dilemma of distinguishing false prophets from those who foretell the truth. The founders of Islam circumvented this complex debate by labeling their Jewish enemies, as early as the seventh century, as killers of prophets (leaders, kings and visionaries were considered prophets), and as an infighting, warlike cowardly people. They later wiped out the Jewish presence that flourished in Saudi Arabia in those days through massacre, expulsion and enslavement. Whether the Jews of that time were or were not internally divided, waging an internal war in the face of an external enemy never ends well.
The wheels of history are now being horrifically woven into the Iranian centrifuges, which are concocting the destruction of the Jews in the land of Israel even as we speak. It is at this time, of all times, in the face of this enemy, that Israel's security experts have chosen to rise up and cast doubt on the leadership skills of our democratically elected prime minister and defense minister.
I must give credit where credit is due: These security experts are very accomplished. They all achieved senior positions in the defense establishment by merit of their hard work, talent, track record, creativity, risk taking ability and a thousand other magnificent skills. But they weren't selected for their jobs as a result of the public will. The nature of their positions signifies that they are not qualified or experienced in diplomacy or in leading a nation in the face of historical threats.
It is a shame that certain security officials, once retired, call the same leaders that they themselves served up until recently "messianic" -- this implies that these leaders are operating on the basis of visions, and that their judgment cannot be trusted. In what capacity did former Israel Security Agency chief Yuval Diskin make this declaration, and with what authority? He is not an elected figure. He did not score higher than they did on intelligence tests. His defense accomplishments don't exceed those of the prime minister or the defense minister. Nor has he ever even taken a psychology course.
He has the right to criticize, but he didn't point to personal shortcomings. He actually accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of mistakes stemming from professional and intellectual inadequacy. He found fault in their psychology and in their ability to make decisions. It is inappropriate to attack a person's psychology -- an elusive charge that can't be refuted -- and target a person rather than an issue. Stalin's insane asylums were filled with dissenters who had been labeled "psychotic" -- back then they didn't use the term "messianic."
The responses from Barak and Netanyahu also included personal attacks, unfortunately. But one central issue remained unclear: Why did these security officials continue to serve under a "messianic" leadership until the end of their terms? Why didn't they resign? Perhaps the accusers are a bit messianic themselves, believing that their presence in their posts was the only thing saving the people from destruction, until they retired. Now they must issue criticisms in order to continue saving the people.
We must understand that the job of a leader is to withstand criticism, even if it is issued by an entire nation and not just three people, and lead the people toward whatever future he envisioned, as opposed to being dragged. The scope of their vision is what differentiates security officials, whose vision only extends as far as the frontlines, from leaders, whose frontline is their vision. Get it, Ahmadinejad?