Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Sharon 1953 Is Not Sharon 2002

By Staff Reporter

"Sharon 1953 is not Sharon 2002," observed Dr. Uri Milstein recently in an interview at 'Kol Israel' (Israel's official broadcasting authority. Dr. Milstein, Israel's most distinguished military historian, is not afraid to challenge the Israeli military-security elite. He is also a professor and lecturer, a popular one, in colleges as well as to the prestigious 'National College' in Tel Aviv. Dr. Milstein is also the founder-president of 'Sridut Institute' (survival), Tel: 011-972-3-635-1062.

In this interview, Dr. Milstein, a creative military thinker and prolific writer on security and military topics, often controversial and militant, explained his notion about Arik Sharon by outlining the following insight: The Israeli army needs a structural revolution so it can cope with the new realities of Palestinian terrorism. Tshahal, the Israeli army, must be revolutionized but Sharon and the military elite will not revolutionize themselves because of their belief in their policies. They deny their ignorance of what to do next. "We do not need changes, we need a new approach, new ideas, new concepts, a true revolution."

Dr. Milstein urged Sharon to establish an Israeli West point or 'National Security College' in order to build a new military modern elite, a new type of commander. For Dr. Milstein, who argues that the Israeli army's concept is rooted in the 'Six Day War' approach, this is the first step for launching a real revolution, a revolution of method, ideas, concept so that Israel will enjoy what Dr. Milstein, a great expert who is being boycotted by the military-security establishment because of his controversial concepts and his tendency to slaughter the security and 'Holy Cows.' Dr. Milstein makes analogy between 2002 and the period of 1949-1953 in order to illuminate his notion: "Sharon-1953 is not Sharon-2002." In this period, Ben-Gurion understood the need to combat the first waves of Palestinian terror. But he was aware of the fact that he was not a military expert. In order to fill the gap, he came across a creative young officer - Arik Sharon. Sharon told him: "I will build a new unit." This unite is known as 'Unit 101.' The Israeli army was linked to the values, methods and achievements of this legendary unit.

Sharon was lucky to have hero fighters such as Shlomo Baum, a pragmatic military original thinker who died a few years ago. Sharon, then a captain, was lucky to have Meir Har-Zion, the greatest Israeli fighter since Bar-Kochla, according to Moshe Dayan. Har-Zion, a legendary fighter, lives in the Galilee and, as Baum, supported the idea of 'Greater Eretz-Israel.' Har-Zion is a national symbol! By the way, Milstein said that then Chief of Staff General Maklef and Moshe Dayan objected to Ben-Gurion. They were against the establishment of 'Unit 101,' a special counter-terrorist unit. Dr. Milstein admired Ben-Gurion for his ability to be original and courageous. Dr. Milstein concluded: "Ben-Gurion was a revolutionary. Sharon Baum and Har Zion joined his revolution. Sharon provided the pragmatic operating leadership of this revolution.

Dr. Milstein is a critic of the Israeli security - military establishment. He calls for an open national debate, for new creative thinking, for a future policy which will liberate Israel from the past, and from what he defines as Israel's 'Defeatist Policy' originated, according to his analysis, in the trauma of the 'Yom Kippur War.'

Milstein is worried as to the ineffective functioning of the Israeli army or its commanders at the top. Therefore, he promotes and lobbies for a revolution. He loves to draw conclusions. He argues that the Army has failed to draw conclusions from wronged actions of the past. Dr. Milstein pointed out the saga and heritage legacy of 'Unit 101' and said: "In the second half of 1953, Tsahal was revolutionized. Thanks to this, the Israeli army gained its ability to fight effectively. It was the 101 revolution. It was the only revolution in the history of 'Tsahal' A captain, then in the Reserves. Arik Sharon was the central hero of this revolution."

Milstein, who loves to glorify the achievements of 101 which was active only four months, has published many books about 101, The History of the Israeli Paratroopers, Shaked Patrol, and many volumes of the history of the Israeli Independence War.

Since 1996, University Press of America published four volumes in English of Milstein's great monumental History of the War of Independence. These volumes can be bought in many bookstores. One who wants to understand Israel's history and wars must read Milstein's military history.

Dr. Milstein hopes, for the sake of Israel's survival, that history will repeat itself: Sharon should act like Ben-Gurion of 1953. Then, he saw that the army lost too many battles with Jordan and Syria, he established the legendary commando, Navy Seal-like Unit 101. So, Sharon today, should say what Ben Gurion said: "All I know is that I do not know." And then look for a revolution in Tsahal, for good. Can Arik Sharon of 1953, whose Unit 101, Tsahal's manifesto and soul for many decades, re-invent himself in 2002?

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