Israel’s behavior in recent decades reminds me of three anecdotes. The first concerns a businessman, a teacher and an engineer who were captured by enemy forces and condemned to death by hanging. Each was asked how he preferred to be hanged – head- or feet-up. The businessman replied that head-up was preferable. He was hanged accordingly, but the gibbet collapsed and he was freed. The teacher followed the businessman’s choice; the gibbet collapsed again and he was also saved.
When the engineer’s turn came, he said, “I see where the problem is and can put it right.” He was allowed to try, solved the problem, and was successfully hanged for his pains.
The moral is that sophisticated knowledge may turn out to be fatal, and excessive righteousness can be inadvisable. Says Ecclesiastes (7:16), “Be not righteous overmuch.”
Israel withdrew voluntarily from Southern Lebanon, the security buffer for its northern region. The eventual result was the second Lebanon War started by Hizbullah in the summer of 2006, with many casualties and heavy material damage to both Israel and Lebanon. Likewise the withdrawal from Gaza, rather than advancing the cause of peace, handed the Arabs victory on a silver platter.
The missile-stricken town of Sderot is the latest direct casualty of the “sophistication” of Israel’s current leadership.
The second anecdote that comes to mind: A popular paraphrase of Psalm 116, verse 6, is that the Almighty protects fools (which may be construed as a hint that sophisticates are expected to fend for themselves). Once upon a time a Jew named Motel decided to verify his widespread reputation for being a fool by jumping from the roof of the tallest building in town. If he remained unharmed, everyone would see he was indeed a fool and was saved by divine intervention. But if he were injured, it would become clear that he was wise and ineligible for God’s protection.
He jumped accordingly and ended up with broken arms and legs and multiple other injuries. Waiting for the ambulance he reflected, I always knew I was not a fool, but I never guessed I was so wise!
Israel’s signing of the Oslo agreements was considered by the intellectual elite as a sophisticated act of statesmanship (even though it resulted in, among other things, Arafat’s terrorists receiving thousands of Kalashnikovs, ostensibly for self-defense against Hamas, et al.). Instead, Israel got more bloodshed than ever.
Since then, suicidal/homicidal bombers have murdered over one thousand Jews and left thousands more maimed and in need of support for the remainder of their lives. Yet some of the political geniuses responsible for Oslo are still in power (irrespective of party affiliation) and do not even think of declaring the Oslo agreements null and void; instead, they keep striving for further agreements with the terrorists whose sole goal is destruction of the Jewish state.
Their alleged sophistication turns out to be the height of folly, or worse.
The third anecdote: A man went to a house of prayer and asked the Almighty for a million dollars. A rich man overheard the prayer and decided to put his fellow congregant to the test. The next day, before the petitioner came again to pray, the rich man placed on his seat a bag containing $900,000. The petitioner opened the bag, counted the money and said, “Thank you, God, for the $900,000, but please let me have the remaining 100 grand!”
The rich neighbor laughed and admitted that he had placed the money as a test. The petitioner refused to return it. The rich man suggested they bring their dispute before a court. The other man agreed but said, “Look, when the court sees my shabby appearance, it may find for me. Why don’t we exchange clothes?” The rich man carelessly agreed, and the poor man put on the rich man’s fur coat and leather boots.
They appeared before the court and the poor man said: “Look how this man is dressed. How could someone like that have placed such an amount on my seat? He is crazy, in need of treatment!” The court was convinced, and the crook kept the money.
Every time Israel grants its enemies recognition or territory, it forfeits its own heritage and rights. Everyone should know there is no Palestinian nation. The concept was invented, with renegade Jews in the vanguard, as a political weapon against Israel.