In December 1973, shortly after the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War, Israel’s director of central intelligence submitted a report about the performance of the intelligence community before the war. The report acknowledged an “intelligence failure.”
Thirteen years ago, right at the beginning of the so-called second Palestinian Intifada, on Sept. 30, 2000, a reporter of a French TV station aired some 60 seconds of footage of the killing of a Palestinian boy.
In the last two years, the Western Wall in Jerusalem — also known as the Kotel — has become a place of controversy as much as of worship. It’s the site of a battle that has long been waged by a group called Women of the Wall, who are demanding they be able to pray in the women’s section wearing tallits — Jewish prayer shawls — and also be permitted to read from the Torah, rights that the rabbi of the Kotel, backed by the police, wouldn’t give them.
There comes a time in any successful movement for change or reform for cashing in, and it is often a time of crisis. Getting so close to achieving a goal, one has to struggle with two challenges: the temptation to overreach — and pass on a deal that might be the best realistic one — and the difficulty of having to accept the less glorious (and more mundane) missions of a reformed reality.