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“We dreamed that the new state would be a place in which the next chapter of the Bible would be written as a prelude to world-wide redemption. After all, you are the Treasured Nation. We had great expectations. But now look at what you have done.” (Professor Ze’ev Tzachor, deacon of Sapir College, describing in an interview with Meir Uziel how his British colleagues explain their hatred of Israel).
Basic anti-Semitism is certainly a factor. When all is said and done, the Jews were expelled from England 200 years before they were expelled from Spain. On the other hand, England also romanticizes the Bible.
England is seen by many as the peak of Western culture. It is a bridge between Europe and America, and is how many Israelis would love to see themselves. Today, the most significant intellectual attacks on Israel come from England. It is there that General Doron Almog was almost arrested for “war crimes,” and it is England that banned a certain Likud politician from entering its borders. “We had great expectations from you and look what you have done,” the British say to us. If you have not written the next chapter of the Bible, then you are nothing more than colonialists. If you are not a light unto the nations – the light from which the Biblical elements of our culture can be sustained – then you are a blight upon the nations.
For Israel’s political and military leaders, Biblical destiny might as well be Chinese. They do not concern themselves with the undercurrents of reality. As a rule, the entire “post” culture busies itself with describing reality while it flees from any attempt to understand it. But the result of all this “Chinese” is that Israel’s current leaders are obsessed with leaving the London legitimacy infusion open. Israel’s present leadership has no tools with which to write the next chapter of the “Bible for the entire world.” Instead, it defers to the values system of British academia. If the Torah does not come forth from Zion, it will come forth from the International Court in The Hague.
The Western criterion for determining which side of a dispute is just is quite simple. According to Western values, the weak is the just. As long as Israel defers to the Western values system, it can never attack its enemies. All it can do is defend itself. Israel’s right to its homeland is nowhere to be found in the Israeli foreign relations lexicon. All that you will find there is “Israel’s right to defend itself.” If we dare initiate an attack, we may suffer the fate of Doron Almog. We will no longer be able to spend the weekend in London, and we won’t be able to shop at Marks & Spencer. We won’t be able to forget who we are even for a moment. And then we will be stuck with our Jewish selves.
That is why Israel’s leadership does not even consider simple, logical solutions to stop the attacks from Gaza. Turning off their electricity or placing an embargo on their fuel supply is impossible because these moves would collectively punish Gaza’s civilian population. Israel can only allow itself to fight as the underdog – only against an enemy holding a weapon in his hand. Civilian casualties would endanger our shopping trips to Marks & Spencer.
In truth, the situation is even crazier than that. Israel funnels cash to Gaza so they can shell Ashkelon. If we do not provide them with the cash, they will shell Tel Aviv. And our fearless leaders cannot remain comfortably in their government positions if Tel Aviv is bombarded with Kassams or Grads. And anyway, we must leave the runway to Marks & Spencer open. So we pay.
There are two ways for Israel’s leaders to maneuver between shell-shocked southern Israel and Marks & Spencer, and still remain in power. The first option is to build protective barriers. That is fine with the British. But this option seems to have run its course. Even Israel hasn’t discovered an effective way to build a wall that can be raised like an accordion as the missiles fly ever higher.
Lucky for us, the self-defense principle leaves us one more option that can barely merit British approval. We must catch the assailants red-handed. But to do that, we must send our sons into the killing fields that have sprouted there since we expelled the settlers from Gaza.
Many will be killed, God forbid. But the runway to Marks & Spencer will be wide open. [Editor’s note: This column was written prior to Israel’s ground invasion in Gaza.]