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Israel has lived the past sixty years more intensively than any other country.
Its highs – the resurrection of a two-thousand year old state in 1948, history's most lopsided military victory in 1967, and the astonishing Entebbe hostage rescue in 1976 – have been triumphs of will and spirit that inspire the civilized world. Its lows have been self-imposed humiliations: unilateral retreat from Lebanon and evacuation of Joseph's Tomb, both in 2000; retreat from Gaza in 2005; defeat by Hizbullah in 2006; and the corpses-for-prisoners exchange with Hizbullah last week.
An outsider can only wonder at the contrast. How can the authors of exhilarating victories repeatedly bring such disgrace upon themselves, seemingly oblivious to the import of their actions?
One clue has to do with the dates. The highs took place during the state's first three decades, the lows occurred since 2000. Something profound has changed. The strategically brilliant but economically deficient early state has been replaced by the reverse. Yesteryear's spy masterminds, military geniuses, and political heavyweights have seemingly gone into high tech, leaving the state in the hands of corrupt, short-sighted mental midgets.
Americans support a strong democracy in the Middle East, but how much longer will they support a corrupt, ignorant one.
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