“And your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.” Leviticus 26:33
There is a monopoly on news and opinions for the Jewish community of Greater Los Angeles in one paper, the Jewish Journal. Not unlike most papers, the Journal’s existence was threatened until recently, when three local philanthropists injected a million dollars into its operations as silent investors.
Some would say Rob Eshman, the Journal’s editor-in-chief, is a reflection of the community. In his latest editorial he wished for Israel to have acted differently with respect to the March on her borders. According to Eshman, Israel is required to formulate creative solutions to her enemies’ attacks in a manner that ensures her enemies are not injured or killed or their emotions hurt.
Eshman’s stance reflects an existing approach that Israel should risk her very being and her soldiers’ lives, health and mental wellbeing for the sake of her enemies. Thus, in Lebanon, Israeli soldiers went building-to-building attempting to save everyone rather than flattening the ground below which bunkers had been built and fortified for six years.
In Gaza, Israeli soldiers went door-to-door to protect the local populace while booby-trapped mechanisms exploded and other entrapments were activated. For risking her soldiers’ lives, Israel was accused of war crimes. Go explain that to officer Aaron Karov who required four series of plastic surgeries to recreate his face. I met him as he returned with his parents from the third series of operations during which a nose was crafted.
It was exactly one year ago, on May 31st , 2010, that a Turkish terrorist flotilla approached an area under maritime blockade by Egypt and Israel. The leading vessel, the Mavi Marmara, had mercenaries on board determined to attack any Israeli soldier boarding the vessel and kill them.
Israel sent her soldiers armed with paint guns. They were trained to expect verbal and physical abuse, but not an assault by lethal weapons. A well-documented lynch ensued, in which five of the Israeli elite soldiers were badly wounded, at least one thrown overboard, others taken underneath to complete the task.
Nine terrorists were killed during this operation in pure self defense, and Eshman laments that there were no other creative solutions for dealing with the situation. Then Chief of Staff promised that the next time, things would be handled differently: The landing area should be sterile and terrorists wanting to kill those boarding the vessel would be dealt with accordingly. No more soft approaches to hooligans.
Eshman, though, is not alone in his position. In many ways, he reflects the feelings of the greater Jewish community in Los Angeles. It is “Israel’s fault,” things should have been done differently. Indeed!
What would Eshman do if upon returning home one evening he found his wife tied to a chair in their kitchen, no longer conscious, three home invaders standing around her doing her harm?
What if Eshman survived the ordeal only to find his family and friends, and the community at large, feeling uncomfortable with his behavior? He should have prepared, he should have behaved differently; he shared responsibility, others muttered. Many avoided visiting while others were more vocal in their opposition to his actions, to his survival. Chutzpa! He should not be breathing and walking.
Israel is expected to perform miracles. Her enemies fire from within civilian centers, kindergartens and schools. They use hospitals and mosques as their headquarters and warehouses for firearms and ammunition. They grab children for live shields and use apartment buildings as bases of operation. They shoot to kill, plant fear and mayhem. They aim to murder, and they enjoy and justify what they do.
Israel is prohibited from doing anything other than surrender. At first she does not, but at the very last minute she understands there is no other choice but to respond if she is to survive. This angers the beautiful, concerned souls of American Jewry, partially represented by people like Eshman. They expect Israel to wave her wand and ignore or acquiesce to what is happening, to risk her soldiers’ lives, to allow her citizens to suffer long years of constant fear from rockets falling, exploding and murdering.
There is much more in store for Israel in the coming months. Nothing will be off limits to her enemies now, as the swirl of activity accelerates toward the creation, at last, of Palestine and the recognition of the world community in this marvelous experiment. Carve yet another part from the Body Israel in favor of Palestine. Allow millions of well-cared-for, eternal “refugees” to “return” to “their” so-called homeland and capital Jerusalem.
Israel will find herself in a much more dangerous position than ever before. She needs to realize that in war, one must fight to win. Her enemy will. There will be casualties, and Eshman and those who believe as he does must be reminded once again that Israel’s casualties are not Israel’s fault, but the hatred of her enemy’s.
Israel seeks peace. To exist without rockets launched at her, her citizens butchered at home, terror afflicted on her citizenry in buses, wedding halls, performance auditoriums, shopping centers and universities. But her very existence angers many, incites them to hatred and terror and justifies their deadly actions.
It is time for the Jewish community to stand strong with Israel and stop second-guessing her every move. It is time for every leader of the Jewish community, including opinion shapers, to stop fighting on the enemy’s lines and stand where they should-on Israel’s side.