Benjamin Netanyahu: The Hank Greenberg of world leaders
By Harold Witkov
Hank Greenberg was one of the top major league baseball sluggers of the 1930's. A Hall of Fame member who played almost his entire career for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg left baseball and fought for his country during WWII, just to return once again to the game after his military service was over.
For Hank Greenberg, it was not easy being a Jewish baseball star during the years of the Great Depression. There was a lot of anti-Semitism in this country. Hank took a lot of verbal abuse from opposing players and fans, and sometimes worse.
But Hank Greenberg did not always take it. There was the time the Tigers were playing the White Sox and someone on the White Sox yelled out from the Sox dugout calling Hank "a yellow Jew son of a bitch." After the game, Hank Greenberg surprised the entire Sox team when he barged into their locker room demanding that the perpetrator of insults say it to his face. Nobody stirred. The coward with the big mouth chose to remain anonymous.
There is no leader on Earth who faces the same pressure than does the Prime Minister of Israel. Tiny Israel, with a population of 9,000,000, and a geographic size not much larger than New Jersey, is a lone flickering light of democracy surrounded by theocrats, dictators, kings and emirs. Nearby nations and terrorist organizations yearn for her very destruction. The UN is steeped in anti-Semitism. The U.S. is more interested in making new friends than keeping the old. The Iranians are on their way to developing nuclear weapons. War is never far off. Terrorism is only a heartbeat away. Hamas rockets can start at the drop of a hat. God only knows when the next Intifada will erupt. And Israeli citizens look first to their Prime Minister to protect their freedoms, best interests, and safety. For the man who leads Israel, the stakes could not be higher and more dangerous.
The present Prime Minister of Israel is, as we all know, Benjamin Netanyahu. He is the head of the only Jewish State on the planet. Amongst the overwhelming majority of world leaders who have little to lose, save their own political hides, Netanyahu stands alone in that he and his nation have everything to lose.
Leading up to becoming Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu had a stellar military career. He joined the IDF during the Six-Day War, and is a veteran of the Yom Kippur War and various other military operations. He was twice wounded in battle. (His brother Yonatan Netanyahu, by the way, was killed in action during the famous IDF rescue at Entebbe)
For those who have been following the news over the last few days, certain senior officials in the White House have been dropping anonymous leaks to the media that they consider Prime Minister Netanyahu a "chickensh#t." The White House has had little to comment on the subject, except to say these are not the feelings of the President.
Years ago, Hank Greenberg had to listen to hate filled insults from fans and players. It seems today there are certain White House Senior officials anonymously doing the same thing to Benjamin Netanyahu.
Knowing how feeble White House security is these days, if I was Benjamin Netanyahu, I would catch the next jet to D.C., take a cab to the White House, scale the fence, make my way across the north lawn, and enter the executive mansion through an open window. Timing my surprise visit to a meeting between President Obama and his senior staff, I would make my way to the White House Situation Room, kick down the door, and demand, "Whoever called me 'chickensh#t,' stand up and say it to my face!" I'm betting nobody would stir, especially those anonymous cowards with the big mouths.
Of course, don't expect this to happen. Prime Minister Netanyahu is too classy. Besides, he is a little busy right now making life and death decisions for his country.
Harold Witkov is an occasional contributor to Enter Stage Right. © 2014 Harold Witkov