web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



What Islamic ‘Sacrifice’ Means To Israel (Part One of Two)


Beres-Louis-Rene

Israel may learn from history.

Volume III of Plutarch’s “Sayings of Spartain Mothers” reveals the Spartan mother as one who rears her sons for sacrifice on the altar of civic necessity. Such a mother was altogether pleased to learn that her son had died “in a manner worthy of his self, his country, and his ancestors.” Spartan sons who failed to live up to this particular standard of sacrifice were reviled.

One woman, whose son was the sole survivor of a disastrous military engagement, killed him with a tile – the correct punishment for his apparent cowardice. The 18th century philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, citing Plutarch, described a certain citizen-mother as follows: “A Spartan woman had five sons in the army and was awaiting news of the battle. A Helot (slave) arrived trembling. She asked him for the news.

“‘Your five sons were killed.’

” ‘Base slave, did I ask you that?’ The slave responded: ‘We won the victory.’ The mother ran to the temple and gave thanks to the gods.”

Why recount these tales from ancient Sparta about sacrifice? What have they to do with the current Islamic threat of war and terrorism to Israel? Today, the threat to Israel originates, at least in part, from cultures that embrace similar views of sacrifice. In these cultures, however, the purpose of sacrifice goes well beyond civic necessity. In these cultures, it is an expression of religion and the presumptively “sacred.” Here it goes to the point of personal death, to realizing the otherwise terrifyingly elusive promise of immortality.

For Israel, the survival implications are profound. Convinced that particular forms of violence against Jews and the Jewish state will lead to martyrdom, the agents and expressions of certain Islamic cultures cannot be deterred by ordinary threats of reprisal and retaliation. This means that effective measures additional to deterrence are now indispensable to Israel’s security.

It would at first appear that self-sacrificing terrorists are utterly fearless of death. In fact, however, it is precisely their profound terror of death that leads them to “martyrdom.” Paradoxically, because dying in the act of killing Jews (it is always “Jews,” never Israelis) is believed to buy freedom from the penalty of death, these enemies of Israel seek to conquer mortality by committing suicide. Such efforts are not an example of ordinary political violence, but of deeply religious sacrifice.

While Israel’s mortal enemies calculate one way, the Jewish state calculates another. In the fashion of many of its enemies, Israel imagines, for itself, life everlasting. But unlike these enemies, Israel does not see itself achieving immortality, individually or collectively, by killing others. Rather, it sees its collective survival as the product of diplomatic agreements. It is altogether well known that these agreements portend critical territorial surrenders and the creation of a 23rd existentially hostile Arab state called “Palestine.”

Israel and its Arab/Islamic enemies have decidedly different orientations to “peace.” This asymmetry, however much more humane and decent is Israel’s posture, puts the Jewish state at a catastrophic disadvantage. While Israel’s enemies manifest their expectations for immortality by the doctrinal slaughter of Jews, Israel’s Jews display their particular expectations for collective immortality by sacrificing vital territories.

In the end, the inevitable clash between Islamic believers in violence and Israeli believers in diplomacy will surely favor the former. In the end, unless the prevailing asymmetry is replaced by a new and far-reaching Israeli awareness of disaster, the believers in diplomacy will be forced to exit, yet again, from the Promised Land.

Nor should it be presumed that Jews outside of Israel are immune to Islamic hatred or that Israelis are hated merely because they are “occupiers.” Israelis are despised because they are Jews. End of story. In the words of a recent article published in Al-Ahram: “The first thing that we have to make clear is that no distinction must be made between the Jew and the Israeli…. The Jew is a Jew, through the millennia…. in spurning all moral values, devouring the living and drinking his blood for the sake of a few coins. The Jew, the Merchant of Venice, does not differ from the killers of Deir Yasin or the killers of the camps. They are equal examples of human degradation. Let us therefore put aside such distinctions (Jews and Israelis) and talk only about JEWS.”

In a current Egyptian textbook of “Arab Islamic History” (a textbook in a country “at peace” with Israel), new teachers are informed as follows: “The Jews are always the same, every time and everywhere. They will not live save in darkness. They contrive their evils clandestinely. They fight only when they are hidden, because they are cowards…. The Prophet enlightened us about the right way to treat them, and succeeded finally in crushing the plots they had planned. We today must follow this way and purify Palestine from their filth.”

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on world politics and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press in New York City.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “What Islamic ‘Sacrifice’ Means To Israel (Part One of Two)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/what-islamic-sacrifice-means-to-israel-part-i-of-ii/2004/12/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: