Opinion: Time to Thank Amir Peretz


amir-peretzBy Avi Shushan

When Ehud Olmert appointed him defense minister, people said he was forsaking Israel’s security. When he spoke with senior officials, they humiliated him and disregarded his opinions, claiming he should not interfere in things he knows nothing about. When he toured the northern border, he was given binoculars with the caps still on and was made a laughing stock all over the world. When he left office shamefacedly, people said that Israel’s security had been restored and that the appointment of a citizen for such a position would never happen again.

He was laughed at, disrespected and turned into an irrelevant product. But now, five years after he left the defense minister’s bureau, one thing is clear: Amir Peretz was one of the most important and influential defense ministers the State of Israel ever had, if only for one important decision he made during his short term – developing the Iron Dome defense system, which changed the rules of the game and is saving the lives of many Israeli citizens as we speak.

Peretz made a decision which appeared almost imaginary at the time. People said that he was pouring money he didn’t have into a technological adventure, that he was ignoring the opinions of senior officers who rejected this “absurd idea” taken from Star Trek, that he should stop presenting the army with creative ideas but rather invest the money in the familiar combat doctrines.

But Peretz, specifically because he was an outsider, saw what all those well-informed people didn’t see: A horizon. As a resident of the rocket-battered city of Sderot, he realized that the State must do everything in its power to provide the home front with a defensive shield, that residents must not be allowed to continue going like lambs to the slaughter and that you can’t threaten offense without thinking about defense.

Character assassination

Looking back, Amir Peretz was the right person in the perfect timing. He introduced creativity, imagination, inspiration and new solutions to a large, well-oiled and some would say cumbersome system. But all that did not help him. The Second Lebanon War was considered a huge failure at the time and was not appreciated as a successful and important battle as it is today. The Winograd Commission was appointed and the public was looking for blood.

iron-domePeretz’s blood dripped the most: A not particularly articulate Moroccan with a peasant’s mustache, who was not part of “the clique.” The Labor Party overthrew him, the public believed that he had asked for the job to boost his ego, and the media subjected him to an unprecedented character assassination.

Amir Peretz left the Defense Ministry shamefacedly, leaving behind “scorched earth” with a megalomaniac project no one knew what to do with. Upon his departure, there were even those who said that the huge amount of money spent on the Iron Dome system should be written off from the defense establishment’s budget.

We all know what happened in the end. The Iron Dome system saves the lives of dozens and perhaps hundreds of citizens on a daily basis. Its ability to identify the missile in one thousandth of a second, know if it will hit an open or constructed area and intercept the missile if necessary – is absolutely fantastic. The system has an interception success rate of 86%, and as we speak it is preventing many Israelis from getting hurt.

In special media broadcasts these days, presenters and commentators are regularly praising the system and its developers. They have forgotten to thank the one person who decided to give the system a chance against the majority of defense officials – Amir Peretz.

Now, as the Iron Dome system is raising global interest and is expected to become one of the most successful and highly esteemed Israeli developments in the world, we must thank Amir Peretz and apologize to him for the character assassination he suffered. History has done him injustice, and now is the time to thank him.

Yediot Achronot

{Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Thank you Mr. Peretz!! only Hashem can repay you for all the lives you save every moment as it says “kol hamikayaim nefesh achas b”yisorel keilu kiyam olam malay”! And you’ve taught a great lesson to mankind- don’t let poeple get in the way of your dreams!

  2. Why is this secular garbage being reprinted on Matsav??! Who is it we should be thanking – the Ribbono shel Olam or some secular politician for goodness sake??!

    Please, it is embarrassing enough that this was printed the first time in an Israeli (even secular) newspaper, to reprint it here is really inexcusable

  3. To the last self-righteous idiot. Obviously we thank Hashem for everything we have. But clearly Hashem gave Peretz the chochma and abilities . Clearly he had some zchus to be able to save so many Jewish lives and there is a chiyuv of hakoras hatov.

  4. To #6
    Yes we have to thank Hashem. But He has many messangers & in this case it is Peretz & we have to thank him for being a pitbull & making sure it got doen. If he would have dropped it we would not have the iron dome.

  5. If the facts are as presented above, we owe great hakoras hatov to Mr. Peretz. That is a fundamental of the derech of Torah.

    Yasher koach gadol and tizkeh lemitzvos!

  6. If hashem put this idea of the Iron Dome into his head then He wanted it to be created. In any case you still owe a Hakoras Hatov to this individual no matter how religios or non-religious he may be.

    If someone looses $100 on the street and a poor person finds it the Loser still gets a mitzva even if it was unintended.

  7. number 6 – yep, hakaras hatov is a terrible goyish concept indeed, isn’t it? When another person does you a favor, big or small, you should spit in his face and explain to him that you have no hakaras hatov at all and only contempt for him. Tell him you will only thank Hashem and not him.

    Of course everything comes from Hashem but if he was Hashem’s shliach to put into motion a system which saves countless lives, we definitely need to thank him.

  8. #6,

    You’re being a little silly. Of course we have to thank Hashem. But as Nachmonodies states – one who is not thankful to an inanimate object for the assistance it provided it will eventually be ungrateful to Hashem as well.

  9. Wrong # 6! Wrong! Where did you take it from? “Kol hakofer betovato shel chaveiro, sofo kofer betovato shel makom”. You give credit where credit is due. Especially and especially when it comes to a saving of Jewish life. Many many life

  10. Okay guys thanks for the mussar! (seriously)
    My point was not h’v that we shouldn’t have hakarat hatov, both for Hashem as well as those through whom He chooses to send his yeshuot – yes obviously even if the person is not (yet!) shomer Torah umitzvot, and even to inanimate objects (thank you Iron Dome missiles!) – and yes number 8 I do have family in the south and thank you number 7 for the compliment I’ll take it as a kapara and bear nothing against you for it.
    What my point was, was an objection to the word for word reprinting of an article (from a media source not exactly known for its Torah orientation, to put it mildly!) of an article which to me – and ashreichem if you didn’t see it that way! – that was concerned much more with the rehabilitation of a politician’s career than voicing the Torah concept of hakarat hatov. It makes it sound that if it wasn’t for this wonder politician, all the people who Iron Dome has saved would not be here today h’v – Ribbono shel Olam or h’v no Ribbono shel Olam. And that is without the kochi veotsem yadi dripping right through the entire piece. That was what I was objecting to. Gam Harvona zehor le tov – why?? Because he was an agent of Hashem, Eliyahu haNavi sent in disguise. Halavai that today’s politicians are even familiar with that passuk, let alone are holding by that standard…