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Staying Alive: Israel In An Age Of ‘Martyrdom’

Louis Rene Beres

Louis Rene Beres

The truest source of global influence is always power, but the highest expression of power is not, as conventionally believed, superior military force. It is, rather, a perceived triumph over mortality. For Iran, and also for that proposed government (Hamas, Fatah, it makes little difference) of executioners now battling each other for control of some emerging Palestinian state, killing Jews – killing Israel itself – offers an incomparable fusion of private ecstasy and personal survival.

Sometimes, truth may emerge through paradox. Yet again, sworn enemies of Israel are convinced that in killing Jews, and, even more grand, in “killing” Israel, they will overcome their own insufferable mortality. For the Islamist “martyr,” whether as a terrorist murderer, or as a murderous terrorist writ large (as a suicide state), killing Jews and killing Israel is the ideal affirmation of a meritorious life.

Israel will remain standing. This is certain. Still, we must inquire, softly but also soberly, at what expected cost?

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


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