Once, about a generation ago, there was no entity called “Palestine,” no people called “Palestinians.” There was an “Arab-Israeli Conflict,” a continuing attempt over decades by the Arabs to eliminate the Jewish state and drive the Jews into the sea.
This approach was unsuccessful. In 1948 and in 1967 Israel prevailed, although outnumbered and tiny relative to her enemies. Then in 1973, despite all odds she survived an attack on her holiest day. It was not due only to military might, but something greater protecting the Israelis.
A very smart man looked around trying to understand what was Israel’s secret weapon. The religious Jews claimed it was their God, but the majority of Israelis were not religious. Something united them, transcending any political divide, bonding them into one whole. It was said this unity was strongest at times of existential threat to the Jewish State.
He also saw with amazement that many Israelis were leaving the country, residing in all corners of the world, and that the Diaspora Jewry was not rushing to immigrate to Israel. He noted, though, the great incentive that existed: A Jewish person could automatically, by right, move to Israel, no questions asked. The Ethiopian and the enormous Russian immigrations are evidence of this policy.
This man was a great student of his nemesis. Zionism, a “dream” expressed from a balcony in Basel, came into being, and waves of immigrants came to Israel (first under Ottoman rule then under British Mandate), drying the swamps, fighting malaria, building cities and making the desert bloom.
Nothing deterred them, not famine or lack of resource, not hatred or mob massacres. They remained, built and developed, thrived and expanded.
Mysteriously, they did not harbor ill will or hatred, as is common in the Middle East. Instead of never forgetting the massacres, the wars, the attempts to destroy them, they focused on growth, development and progress. They extended their hand in peace to anyone who would accept it willingly and peacefully.
The Jews brought to the world advances too numerous to count that moved the world forward, and the region continued to flourish.
Adolescence, however, proved a unique opportunity for him to penetrate this semblance of undefeatable strength and Israel’s ability to withstand even the most vicious of attacks.
Israel had become focused on the self, advancement of the individual and life’s comforts. The Jews grew tired of fighting wars and withstanding terrorism, less driven to serve in their Defense Forces, ready to travel and enjoy the fruits of the life they had created. Overnight, violence became rampant, corruption infested every level of government, from the President and Prime Minister down.
Israel, the man saw, tried to mimic her big American brother. Much like the older democracy, K-12 education in Israel deteriorated, people came to expect “entitlements” and responsibility and accountability quickly disappeared. It was always someone else’s fault, never the individual’s responsibility-from misbehavior to meeting the most basic needs.
This, the observer knew, was the time to emulate the first decades of the Zionist dream. If he created a notion of a state, a people, a capital and a right of return, and if he could only infect his people with the same bug that had so successfully energized the Jews to make Israel a flourishing country, from dry bones into a thriving body, then he could achieve his goal.
However, his problem was that his people were not as driven. They are lazy, more content to fight amongst themselves. Honor is of paramount importance, except it is applied in all the wrong places. The leader was not stupid. While he advocated one position to Western ears, he spoke quite differently in Arabic. These were two vastly different worlds, and he knew how to bridge them skillfully, masterfully.
The recipe was there, but he knew that was insufficient. One key element was missing. He could not be seen as the chef mixing the ingredients. For his idea to succeed, it must be implemented by the … Israelis themselves. Only they could bring on their own downfall. He, an outsider, was apparently smarter and could devise the most sinister plan, but Jewish blood and leadership was necessary for its implementation.
This, beyond any doubt, was the very greatness of Arafat. He mixed together all the right ingredients – a people, a country, a capital, a vision, a dream; even a “right of return.” He did not care these ideas were stolen, both spiritually and physically, for his was never a people, they never had a country, never once incorporated Jerusalem in their Holy Book or writings, or really cared about any holy places; neither theirs nor those of other religions.
Only one thing drove him to his last day, his hatred of the Jews. But he understood, better than anyone else, that in the Middle East, one need not rush his plan. Set your agendas and they will be achieved. Patience is key, but it is a resource abundantly plentiful in the region.
It was the Israelis themselves and alongside them (sometimes leading, other times marching in unison) the American Jewry who led his plan to victory while he was-and perhaps still is-laughing.
The Israeli Arabs did not want change. They preferred, and still do, to live as citizens of the Jewish State. So they were coerced and shoved until they rioted in the streets, threw stones and engaged in storytelling. They uprooted groves and set houses on fire, just to blame the Jews. To add insult to injury, they burned products by the Jews, getting ready for the day they could actually burn the Jewish people.
They created a narrative that mimicked the true Zionist history. They rewrote facts, claiming ownership of elements that occurred during three thousand years of existence. They hijacked and expanded.
It was Jews and Israelis who led the fight against the so-called “Occupation.” It was Israelis and Jews who demonstrated and called for a stop to Jewish settlements, advocated giving away land and even desecrating Jerusalem on the way. None other than Israelis and Jews blamed Israel, created blood libels and went overseas to carry Israel’s bad name for no fault of her own.
Women wore black and demonstrated every Friday close to General Headquarters. Others went to the roadblocks that were designed to protect Jewish towns from terrorists and with cruelty that knows no bounds targeted … the soldiers. Yet others, red headed and beautiful, went and documented every room being built, not by the enemy, but by loyal Jews.
They created contingencies who utilized the Israeli Supreme Court against every move, from erecting a fence and a wall to protect Israel against atrocities to carrying out the court’s own decisions against illegal takeover of state lands by Bedouins and others.
They covered themselves with a cloak of “human rights” and “activism,” but forgot they were attacking their own people, their own existence. So they went to demonstrate at Sderot, a city that for eight years was the aim of rockets from Gaza, and deplored … Israel.
What is worse, they did nothing positive to support the Jewish State. Even if some of their arguments could have been plausible, they utilized them to criticize and malign, to hurt and damage, rather than to build and strengthen.
Even though a small minority, they were the vocal ones, a driven force. Since no one stood in their way or offered a rebuttal, their efforts expanded like fire in a dry forest.
Israel was suddenly described as “Apartheid.” The Jewish State was at fault for her enemies bombarding her with rockets. Homicide bombers expecting 72 virgins exploded themselves up, and again, the fault was with Israel.
Logic no longer existed. There was a clear refusal to look at history or facts, since all knew Arafat’s ingenious scheme had no basis in truth or reality. A mere figment of the imagination taking root by the constant love and affection of those extreme-left Israelis and American Jews watering, fertilizing, nurturing.
Once infected, the virus expanded into every part of the body-Israel. Vital organs needed to be protected, or the body would succumb. These were the liver, the lungs, the heart and the brain; Jewish construction, security, Jerusalem and the right of return.
Arafat succeeded, even in the years following his death, to bring Israel to a point of no return. The body is infected and all red lines have been crossed. There is no peace, nor can one be achieved for the very simple reason that Israel’s enemies do not want peace; they only seek her destruction.
For a long time we asked, will Israel recoup? Will she survive? Can she heal from all the internal wounds?
Negotiation and more talks are futile at this stage. To restore normalcy and equilibrium, there will be a war. Israel must fight for existence against her enemies from within and from outside. She may not survive, although Jewish people know in their DNA she will prevail in the end.
The main question is when she will realize the need to rise and fight, as she still has not accepted this reality.
Until then, all we need do is listen to the news, to history unfolding in front of our very eyes and ears. Current events is a collage of stories, none grounded in reality, all perhaps designed to topple democracy, to destroy the Jewish State, and complete, once and for all, the “Final Solution.”
What the Germans and Hitler did not finish, Arafat seems to be successfully continuing from his grave.