Here are a few snippets gleaned from the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz:
Amos Harel notes the growing influence of religious Right in the Israeli military.
"...the IDF of 1993 is not the IDF of 2010. Here is what happened in the officers' course for the infantry corps, the spearhead of the combat units, during that period: In 1990, 2 percent of the cadets enrolled in the course were religious; by 2007, that figure had shot up to 30 percent. And this is how the intermediate generation of combat officers looks today: six out of seven lieutenant colonels in the Golani Brigade are religious and, beginning in the summer, the brigade commander will be as well. In the Kfir Brigade, three out of seven lieutenant colonels wear skullcaps, and in the Givati Brigade and the paratroopers, two out of six. In some of the infantry brigades, the number of religious company commanders has passed the 50 percent mark - more than three times the percentage of the national religious community in the overall population.
Harel also notes the rightward shift of Israel's officer corps that followed the abandonment of officer training by the Israeli left and members of the Kibbutzim put off by the first Lebanon war and the first Intifada. As the Left has shunned officer school, the Right and the religious Right has gained increasing influence in the Israeli Defence Force.
Zvi Bar'el writes that there'll be no peace for his homeland unless Israel returns the Golan Heights:
... there is a balance of terror between Israel and its neighbors, whose purpose is deterrence. That's what every rational country does when it feels threatened and can't find a nonmilitary alternative. No doubt, Israel is threatened, but so are Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It's enough to listen to Israel's threats to "take Syria back to the Stone Age," "destroy Lebanon's civilian infrastructure" or smash Hamas to understand that the style of the Israeli threat approaches that of Iran. If anyone should be waking up in the morning in a cold sweat, it's the Lebanese, Syrians and Gazans, not the Israelis.
...But unlike Israel, which sees the threat but forgets the catalyst, each of its neighbors has territory under Israeli occupation, each has a legitimate national claim to get its occupied land back. Anyone looking for a nonviolent alternative can find it well-packaged and waiting to be used, but it's merely getting wet in the rain.
...Peace with Syria might neutralize the military threat from that country, stop Hezbollah from arming and put Iran in a confusing situation, even if it doesn't break off its relations with Syria. Peace with Syria and the Palestinians would also change Turkey's position and neutralize the hostility between Israel and the other Arab countries.
In short, the military threat would lose a great deal of its punch. A rational country, even one not seeking peace - and Israel, after all, is not one - would have done the arithmetic long ago and understood that by continuing to hold on to the Golan Heights, the chances of a confrontation would simply grow.
The paper's editorial calls on Netanyahu to change course while there's still time to save Israel's "very existance as a Jewish and democratic state."
Three destructive trends threaten Israel's very existence as a Jewish and democratic state. The first is the continued occupation of the territories, which as of next month will have gone on for 43 years. Ruling over a large Palestinian population through forceful and nondemocratic means compromises Israel's moral case and destroys its image in the eyes of the international community, while buttressing extreme nationalist sentiment within the country.
The second destructive trend involves the expansion of the ultra-Orthodox community, whose members do not work and do not bear the burden of military service or paying taxes. Instead, they are dependent on welfare payments and they deprive their children of the kind of education that would give them the necessary skills to join the labor force.
The third destructive trend is the discrimination against and marginalization of Israel's Arab citizens, who want to study and to work but have difficulty finding employment and integrating into society. If these trends are not reversed, the Haredim will continue to be isolated at the expense of the shrinking core of Israelis who work and serve their country, while the Arabs, in the absence of opportunities, will be pushed to the margins of society. The shortage of working people will cause the Israeli economy to collapse.
...In a weekend interview with Haaretz, opposition leader Tzipi Livni called for ending these destructive trends before it is too late. She also called for two strategic decisions to be taken: the first, to partition the country into two states, one Jewish and the other Palestinian; the second, to impose the teaching of a core curriculum to Haredim in order to enable them to integrate into the labor market.
Unfortunately this body of wisdom doesn't reach far beyond the Israeli Left which, today, is becoming increasingly marginalized by a national drift to the Right.