Though I live outside the borders of Israel, for many reasons my heart is in Israel. Mostly, because as a Jewess, supporting Israel is helping to make and keep the nation state of the Jewish people strong. It assures me, and like me, that if, God forbid, there is trouble for Jews wherever they live, Israel will always be a safe haven for them to where I/we can escape and where I/we can find a home and shelter from trouble I/we have not caused, or made happen, but the trouble happened for us happened just because we are Jews. My parents were Holocaust survivors, they had no place to run away from Nazi Europe.
History taught me, and I hope other Jews, that having a homeland is the Jewish people’s first and foremost protection and deterrent.
And so, the other day I got into an emotional discussion with a dear friend, living in Israel, about Israel’s deterrence. We discussed the recent incident on Israel’s northern border in which, allegedly, Israel blew up a top Hezbollah commander, including an Iranian top commander convoy. They were up to no good, planning an attack on Israel.
Israel was warned that an eye for an eye revenge will ensue. And it did. An IDF vehicle full of soldiers driving on the road in the Har-Dov area, came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region near Israel’s border with Lebanon. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were wounded. For now, the eye-for-eye round ended. My question was, “Why were these soldiers not riding in an armored car? Why were they not extra cautious after they were cautioned and thus knew the enemy is openly seeking revenge?”
My friend had no clear explanation. I then continued to criticize the Protective Edge War in Gaza, this past summer 2014. “We are speaking about deterrence,” I reminded my friend the topic of our discussion.
“Israel is fighting to please the world, not its own security,” I started my bluster. “Israel has enough intelligence to know that Hamas, the ruling party and the only one in Gaza is making a living on the base that it will go to war with Israel as often as possible. Hamas made this clear since Israel, unilaterally, evacuated Gaza, in 2005. But Israel has no plan as to how to end this ongoing threat. So practically every two years a war breaks out, which Hamas starts and Israel defends herself, always to the critique of the world, never Hamas. But the war never ends with outright victory, rather is written on one more page added to the book of Hamas-Israel wars that will continue, in perpetuity, to never end till one side will finally bring the other one to a total surrender. My solution is clear. When rockets are indiscriminately fired at Israel from Gaza you send a bunch of heavy bombers and indiscriminately destroy Gaza, lock, stock and barrel, just as the Allies destroyed Germany in WWII, because there was no other solution. You do not send notes, pamphlets, or make phone calls to warn the citizens just as Hamas does not warn Israel; they fire rocket after rocket praying they hit and hit Israel hard. What is with Israel letting the enemy know she is coming after them? The citizens of Gaza know Hamas starts the wars; they elected Hamas for that job. Time for them to pay for the bad choices they made. You bring Hamas to an end or you destroy Gaza to sand. Otherwise this circle of wars will never end, never!”
“And after you end the threat from Gaza Israel either rebuilds the Jewish communities that were there, or Israel makes sure no one who wants to harm Israel will live there so peace prevails and endures. End of chapter.”
“But what will the world say?” my friend asked as a reply.
“Well,” I replied, “the world is angry with Israel no matter how she acts and how she defends herself. And Israel is always in a defensive position from its neighbors’ aggression. It is always Israel at fault, even if 99% of the times she is not. The world will be angry and will condemn Israel, as they do so often, and then all will be quietened, even forgotten, just as the world fast forgot the Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Bosnian Genocide, and now some call to forget the Holocaust.”
“Human minds operate in a very strange way when it comes to the suffering of others. We, Jews, have a country to defend, we have a homeland to make sure it survives and endures so the Jewish nation survives and endures.”
“Yes, but it is easy for you speaking from there in the comfort of your peaceful country,” my friend puts the stab in my heart. “You do not know how fearful we were during the war,” my friend restated.
But I knew what I went through on the other side of the ocean. “Just like you, I was horrified and worried sick that the Azrieli buildings, the pride of Tel Aviv skyline will be hit. I was sleeplessly watching, for 50 days, the war in Gaza. Just like every Israeli, though I was not constantly running to and out of the shelter, I was worried that the beautiful buildings in Tel Aviv will be harmed. I was dreading to hear that Israel suffered casualties. Luckily, with Israel’s Iron Dome all ended somewhat well and the damage somewhat bearable. Needless to say I was worried stiff. I was in Israel with my mind and soul. I do not want Israel to get hurt, so from far away I prayed, because there was not much else I could do. I put my prayers toward the brave Israeli soldiers sacrificing their lives since the establishment of the state. But I also wanted Israel to demolish Gaza so it is no more, so that it is no-longer a threat to Israel. To my dismay the war did not end that way.”
“But what will the world say?” My friend again worried about the world and not her existence. “When we fight to win and we destroy Gaza, how will that bode for us?”
I am frustrated. “But the world does not say a word, or meekly mentions when innocent Jews are murdered, killed, blown-up, attacked. At times they even justify it,” I got angry. “I do not care much, it is us or them; it is a war and I prefer it is us because Israel’s enemies do not want her around, just like Hitler did not want the Jews to be in Europe. We have a duty to ourselves to defend ourselves so we, Jews, last. It is a war, and in a war you fight to win not to only endure so another war does not follow. The sky will not fall if Hamas and its followers are no longer on this earth,” I summed up. “Rather, civilization will be better off if Hamas, a terror organization, is part of history,” I ended my vision.
We went back to discuss Hezbollah as it was getting late at night for me. “Hezbollah is preparing a war, there is a war in the making on the horizon,” I began. “One other escalation with Hezbollah in the north, what will Israel do? Wait, as she waited for 5,000 rockets to be fired from Gaza with no real strategic plan? Wait for Hezbollah’s thousands of missiles to be fired on every city and town in Israel? Or, one other small escalation, Israel will send a bunch of heavy bombers and flatten Hezbollah’s land in Lebanon to become a rocky land, just as the Allies did to Germany so that the Nazi threat to the world was put to death for once and for all? There are situations when logic should transcend emotion.”
“Israel needs to find peaceful existence and if not willingly, then forcefully, but peace must be delivered, peace that will endure for centuries to come. Sixty seven years of wars is over the top, it is crossing all red lines and must come to an end,” I summed it all up.
I am still awaiting for my friend’s reply.
For the sake of Israel and somewhat for the sake of the free world, I second Minister Naftali Bennett and I say, Israel, STOP apologizing for being a sovereign state, stop apologizing for each move you take; take care of business and secure the life of every citizen living in the land. It is your ONLY duty.
The way I see it from here is as you see it from there and perhaps somewhat clearer.