As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
The new head of state in Israel took office some time after his mentor was assassinated.
He initiated at once a policy of appeasement.
Appeasement was openly advocated and declared, especially regarding the brutal dictator
in Syria. The Israeli head of state offered the Syrian dictator everything imaginable and then
some. When he was criticized by people opposed to his policies, he had them arrested for
incitement. The Syrian dictator refused to be satisfied with the terms of the appeasement. He
demanded more and more, including rights to the very capital of Israel.
The scenario just outlined does not refer to Ehud Barak and his policies. It is not about
Shimon Peres and his Oslo madness. It has nothing to do with Yossi Beilin and his Geneva
The scenario does not involve the Assads of Syria or the appeasement policies of Ariel
Sharon (not even his offer to release hundreds of imprisoned murderers in exchange for
Hizbullah releasing three bodies of murdered Israeli POWs and perhaps also a captive Israeli
drug smuggler). Nor is it an account of the parody of Dunkirk perpetrated by the Barak
government in Lebanon.
No, it is none of the above. What it does happen to be is a summary of events described
in the Bible - First Kings, chapter 20, to be precise.
In Ecclesiastes it says there is nothing new under the sun. The governments of Israelites over the past decade were not the first to attempt to achieve peace through appeasement. King
Ahab, the husband of painted Jezebel, was also the head of the Peace Now movement of his day. He offered the Syrian dictator, a fellow named Ben-Hadad, everything imaginable. For peace.
King Ahab sent tribute to Ben-Hadad. He stripped his capital of gold and silver. He even sent his wives and children to the Syrian dictator.
But as in all forms of appeasement, the goodwill gestures for peace merely emboldened the dictator. They were interpreted as a sign of Israelite weakness. Ben-Hadad demanded more.
He wanted direct access to and sovereignty within the capital of Israel itself. He must, he
declared, be allowed to roam the capital freely, searching homes and taking what he wanted.
Meanwhile, like his Oslo disciples thousands of years later, the original King Ahab attached to his “peace movement” a “secularist revolution” designed to detach the state of Israel from its Jewish roots. He would deny any role or importance for Jewish religion, and instead pursue politically correct paganism. Anything to increase his prestige among the nations!
King Ahab had myriad faults and indeed is probably the very worst king of the Israelites
described in the Bible. But unlike his direct Oslo and Beilinite descendants, King Ahab at least
had some national pride and set a limit beyond which he was unwilling to pursue appeasement
for “peace.” That limit was reached when the barbarians demanded parts of his capital.
Such a demand pushed Ahab over the edge. Never mind the massive hordes and sheer numbers of his enemy. Never mind his own track record of suppressing Judaism and promoting PC paganism. Ahab abandoned appeasement overnight, with the approval of the prophets.
He discovered that there really was a military solution to terrorism and Syrian aggression after all, and he devastated the forces of his opponent. Ben-Hadad’s Syria was annihilated. Even
Ahab’s arch-nemesis, Elijah, begrudgingly congratulated the king on his shift to sane national
Ahab whips the enemy twice, once on the mountains and once on the plains. Israel is redeemed, although not from Ahab’s bad government.
Even a villain such as Ahab could display fleeting good sense and courage, and atone for his having pursued appeasement for so long. Perhaps some day the Israeli political leaders of our
age will elevate themselves and achieve the moral courage and wisdom of a King Ahab.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at
Amazon.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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