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Palestinian Arabs burn Israeli flag.

Lets see, as I recall, when I first arrived in Israel back in the early 1970″s I found a population super sure of itself and feeling very safe.

It was thrilling for me as an American Jew to feel that the streets were mine. Yes, even streets where there were no Jews.
In those days, a little old Jewish woman could walk any where in the land, and the Arabs would step aside in respect.


Alas, that was a world ago. It seems that I made Aliyah, in 1977 just when the tide was about to change. Who knew it then? It takes historical perspective. We have it now.

It was Moshe Dayan who made the colossal mistake of playing Mr. Nice guy at the expense of our future by urging the Arabs NOT to flee their shocking defeat in the Six Day War and handing the keys to our holiest sites, including the Temple Mount to the incredulous Arabs.

It is when I arrived as a new Oleh in 1977 that Menachem Begin had just become prime minister, breaking the Labor’s party unbroken monopoly of leadership. I was certain that the great Begin with his truly amazing biography of struggle for Jewish truth and rights would usher in an era of ever rising Jewish security and pride.

It was Begin who introduced the precedent of expelling Jews from their homes in favor of a political deal with Arabs.
Jews were dragged from their homes in Yamit in 1982. The flourishing Jewish towns and villages returned to the desert sands.
The raison detre of Zionism crashed in the face of Arab demands.

I knew then that I was witnessing an historic moment. Many praised it as the best face of Zionism. I knew it was anything but.

Did Begin choose to live his last years in depressed isolation partly due to his misgivings about this about face of his entire legacy? Certainly he was not happy about giving away parts of our land and expelling Jews from their homes. He made a difficult choice .

For those who followed him, the Begin “precedent” was just the slogan they needed to justify continued retreats from our land and erasing gardens of Edens – the pride of Zionist achievement. For those that followed Begin, trading Jewish land and expelling Jews for political advantage was not a decision that racked their souls. They did it with a broad smile on their faces. It was what progressive politicians did. The press loves it.

Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak, Sharon, Olmert; all invoked the Begin precedent. They were all going to bring greater security, international support and a New Middle East to boot in return for just giving our lands to those who need to be appeased.

I did not have to listen to the ever increasing reports of attacks upon Jews to know that retreat brought us death. I understood that Arab terrorism was not the result of Arab despair but rather by their hopes; the hope of victory. As we retreat, their hopes soar and thus their blood lust.
They can not help it. We just kept feeding it.

And so, when I first arrived to our beloved (and since, shrinking) land there were no security roads that forced you around Arab villages and towns. There were no walls. No barricades at bus and train stops. No special neck guards for police and soldiers. No panic. No despair.

There were no suicide bombers. Arab Children did not attack Jewish children with knives. Older Arab women did not run down Jewish babies with their cars. Arab employees did not use tractors to kill Jews nor did Arab phone company employees use their company cars to run down Jews. They are not in despair, they are on a feeding frenzy that we initiated.

There is an evolving new world here.

If one clears away the hype and spin, our leaders message is,” get used to it, we have no solution”.

Historically, Jews rather be loved than feared where as Arabs prefer being feared than loved.


There are solutions, but our leaders are not yet ready to say the words aloud.

We may not be loved.


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Shalom Pollack, a veteran Israeli tour guide, served in the Israeli Navy and lectures on the Mideast.