In the Middle East ideas that are considered aberrant insanity in the West are commonplace. Killing people is no great big thing. Most regimes do it from time to time to stay in power. Iran dispatched its Islamic militias to kill its own best and brightest in the streets of its capital. Virginity is believed to act as an instant pass to heaven for a woman, so teenage girls sentenced to death must first be forcibly married to their jailers and raped, before being hung.
The very idea that people think this way is incomprehensible in Washington D.C. But the simple question that Israel has to answer is, if this is what the Ayatollahs do to their own daughters, what would they do to those they consider the spawn of pigs and apes?
Israel already knows the answer to that. When Muslim mobs got their hands on Israeli Jews, before or after independence, they tore them to pieces and then sold snapshots of the remains. The policy of targeting all Jews, men, women and children, is not just something that terrorists do because they have no choice, it is the ideological position of Islamist leaders like Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in Egypt or Rashid Al-Ghannushi in Tunisia, and the policy of the Arab countries fighting Israel.
The liberal West has its illusions about the enemy. Israel has little room for those illusions. It will act when Washington is too busy fighting itself to focus on restraining it. It will act because it is alone as few other countries on earth are. It will act because it cannot afford to be Poland, Czechoslovakia or Tibet– sacrificed in the great game of nations. It will act because it has no real choice but to act. It will act because for it this is not a set of talking points, a diplomatic program or a regional agenda, it is life or death. It will act, because for all its flaws, its survival is on the line.
That sense of a nation’s survival and the life of a people hinging on a single course of action has become an alien one in an insulated world. It is not a thing that Washington D.C or Brussels can take seriously. It is not even a thing that all Israelis take seriously anymore. But those who hear the clock ticking know what is coming. They know the hard choices that will come in the months ahead. And they will make those choices as they made them before, because they will choose to survive.