Gone in a Snap – Will Israel be Saved?

We are told to trust God, that everything will be OK. We will do what we want, behave any way we see fit, expect no consequence for our actions and everything will be forgiven, forgotten, passed over and ignored.

“If we do not live the moment, then we are victims,” was told to me by a person who could not understand my focus on preparedness and fighting back. So let us rejoice and celebrate, while our enemies attack and get ready to finish a job began long ago, a task so hideous yet so acceptable of late – the elimination of the Jewish people.

Why bother ourselves with an enemy that uses every moment of every day and night to plan and execute our downfall, when we can go out, dine and party, travel and vacation, shop, entertain and enjoy?

Israel does not have the luxury of time. We are at the very last moment of sanity, when the world around us is reaching a boiling point. Tomorrow will come, and with it horrors the likes we have not known will be unleashed. To the might of our enemies will be added our own astonishment at how little we have done, how unprepared we have become, how fragile our continued existence remains.

But why worry? If the unimaginable arrives at our doorsteps, said my friend, we will all join forces and stand with Israel. We will then show our enemies and the world our true spirit, our ability to overcome. If the situation becomes truly precarious, there is always the ability to nuke our enemies, and when all else fails, God will not allow our ultimate destruction. He will stand and fight for us, for His own glory, and He will prevail.

So, it is a win-win situation. Do nothing at the present; indulge in the frivolities of life. Laugh, play and party. Entertain thyself. If tomorrow is really bad, then retaliate, and if that fails for any reason, then we have the winning ace in the deck of cards, the eternal promise and pre-condition that Israel will survive.

How wrong is this train of thought. Who would want to experience and taste the Holocaust “just to show” the world that the God of the Hebrews will not allow their destruction? Is the fact that we have reemerged and achieved so much in the last sixty-five years proof enough that we are indestructible? Besides, are we absolutely sure that the Israelites have carte blanche to do everything and a free pass to the eternal paradise?

The fault in the argument is that it presumes an end and thus negates any pre-conditions. God loves the Hebrews as a parent loves a child. But unconditional love does not mean the child is permitted to do anything and everything – from indulging in wild sexual activity to experimenting with drugs, to being abusive and cruel to others – weaker than him. On the contrary, the child must be punished and guided to a corrected course of action to recovery.

When the child has gone too far, and is infected by AIDS, is addicted to heroin and the body responds no longer to any counter action, even the parents’ love cannot help. Even their promise for everlasting protection may suffice no longer. All that will be left is the melody of lamentation for a beauty of an innocent soul gone astray, a child who befell victim to the momentary illusions of comfort, joy and satisfaction and who has thus succumbed and left this world, never to return.

But – my friend would counter – God, the Almighty, is all-powerful. He will be able to reverse the course, to undo what science and will cannot undo and to restore normalcy, literally from the ashes of the concentration camps and the crematoriums or the deathbed of the child. Would He want to? Did He not allow six million to succumb?

Israel is too smart to ignore her past. The Jewish people remember the Destruction of the First and Second Temples, the expulsion from Israel, the Spanish Inquisition and the centuries-long hatred of the Catholic Church. The Jewish People will forever know the Holocaust as the period that has decimated as many of them as there are today in the Land of Israel by the most intelligent and cultured people of the time. They know that “this cannot happen” is the wrong phrase, for they experienced exactly that which could not have happened and led to six million dead.

The Jewish People also know that God’s protection is not an obligation of God but must be earned by deeds. Those deeds are so plainly absent today – from respect to one’s elders to honesty and modesty, caring of others and putting not the self ahead of everything. Thus, violence and corruption are rampant throughout Israeli society and excuses aplenty. It is always someone else’s fault, not one’s own.

If one examines Israeli society today, those “deserving” to be permitted into God’s shelter are those members of society so maligned by the vast majority of Israelis. They are “earning” the possibility of enjoying God’s protection not by working for that purpose, but as a byproduct of their way of life, that of humbleness and family values, human values and care.

They have been labeled as outcasts, and many in the pro-Israel crowd treat them as disposable, an obstacle to peace or a hardship that needs to be dealt with.

I remember years ago that a debate was raging in Israel whether or not it was correct for so many soldiers to protect so few people in communities around the Gaza Strip. An overwhelming majority of Israelis did not see the need, or the logic, and objected to their sons and daughters serving to protect so few “crazies.”

It was some 15 years before Arik Sharon decided on and led the State of Israel to execute a unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Little good did it do, other than convincing the Israelis that such unilateral action should not be exercised ever again.

“Never again” did not really last, and Judea and Samaria, “Occupied West Bank,” are next on the Disengagement block. It started earlier this year, when the Prime Minister decided on yet another gesture, this time more meaningful than all others: a freeze of all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (including parts of Jerusalem), i.e. in lands that belong not to the Jews.

The Palestinians managed in the interim to reconcile most of the “differences” between Fatah and Hamas and to engage the Arab League who pronounced that there should be no further talks about “peace talks” until the gesture-now-considered-a-must be reinstated.

What before was an Israeli initiative has become an obligation, something expected of Israel without any return, in other words, a pre-condition. Israel is now facing a unified front, both by its Muslim enemies and the world at large.

Israel has thus managed, unilaterally, to fix her borders as the pre-1967 war. Judea and Samaria are no longer Israel’s and the world will not permit them to be. There is no one else to fault, no one to blame but Israel’s “right wing” Prime Minister Netanyahu and “right wing” Likud. Who said it is impossible to work with “right wing extremists” to achieve far-reaching concessions?

Continue to dance and party, my Israeli friends. End the Occupation of the West Bank for you do not even recognize it as your own. The three hundred some thousand Jews living there, on Occupied Arab Land, will have to be dealt with, but you have already amassed some experience during the past five years with the Gush Katif evacuees.

Possibly the Turks can learn from Israel and unilaterally disengage from parts of Turkey in favor of the legitimate owners of the land, the Kurds? Why is the world standing silent to the plight of these freedom fighters? Why is the UN not supporting these refugees as they struggle to regain their homeland?

Come world, teach Israel. She is not listening to anyone right now, and has lost sight of right and wrong. As she is consumed with the joys of the moment, with everlasting gratification and satisfaction, she is drowning deeper and deeper into the abyss from which she will not return.

A mantra of “God will not let it happen” seems to have stuck in the Israeli and Jewish collective mindset. Be assured that to earn such a great privilege one must work to earn it, inheritance in this case will never be enough.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.