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From political insider to dissident

October 25th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Avraham Burg is many things: an observant Jew, a decorated paratrooper, the former speaker of the Israeli parliament. But over the past decade he has transformed himself into something surprising: a dissident.

“Mine is a call for changing direction,” Burg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “Do we want to be like the Crusades, with high walls and whomever comes to the walls, we shoot them down till eventually this kingdom expires?”

The Arab Spring (or Arab “Awakening,” as he calls it – “spring is too short of a season”) has, Burg says, given an opportunity to Israel to integrate itself in the Arab world. That, he said, is something Israel “never explored.”

Within the state of Israel, Burg thinks that extreme religious views are becoming more powerful than the commitment to democracy. Ultranationalists and militant politicians have hijacked the political narrative, Burg says, and become even more Hawkish than the Israeli military itself.

For the first time in 2,000 years, he said, the Jews and Israel are empowered by an army, an air force, and nuclear weapons – “it’s unbelievable.” But for “too many Israelis,” the military “became the essence rather than just a service to something else. And we've forgot to ask ourselves what is the something else.”

CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. TheThinker1958

    very refreshing... a smart Jew! maybe there is hope after all.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  2. Thinker23

    I have to argee that Mr. Burg's idea about "integration" of Israel in the Arab world is a pretty interesting one. Just like an idea about a chicken i(granted, a chicken with a black belt and a machine gun) ntegrating in the world of foxes around...

    October 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  3. Alex.

    WHY is this MAN nt leading Israel ?? The world really needs to listen to courageous men like this, I wish him all the very best and its so very refreshing to see attention being directed to people like this, people that matter.

    October 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  4. RS

    Burg is right about the impending failure of the 2 state solution, however a One state solution can never be allowed to materialize, as it will mean the end of the Jewish state. Israel would never allow it
    So we stay in this limbo as long as US foreign policy blindly supports Israel – "No Daylight" the new catchphrase of the 2012 US elections.

    October 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  5. Assaf

    He is such a loser... he even calls for Israelis to get a foreign passport so they can have an exit plan.
    advocating a 1 state solution will lead to a new Yugoslavia, more violence not less, 2 nation states living side by side will assure a democratic Jewish state, anything else will be neither Jewish nor democratic.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  6. Peter Fashola

    Burg you are very corageous and your idea is good but who will listen to u.Isreal,US,no way cause it will be shamefull.

    October 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  7. aloysius okereke

    its a shame that strong views like burg's are lacking in a boko haram infested country like nigeria. nigerian politicians, especialy those from the north, should wake up to embrace the fact that a two, three or even six geopolitical states remain the only solution and the farce called one nigeria should be boldly rejected. the world needs litle or no plitcal groundnuts or juganuts but indvduals strng enuf to spk the trut in al isues. oil in nija is a curse and not a blesing.

    November 5, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply

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