A Hilltop Government

When it turns out that this country has managed to acquire so many "enemies," there is a suspicion that maybe we're not talking about paranoia or a successful public-relations spin, but actual strategy.


PM Netanyahu addresses cabinet meeting

There is no better feeling than to be surrounded by enemies. Otherwise it's not possible to explain the ease with which Israel is eager to find enemies lurking everywhere, to the point where it cannot, or does not wish to, distinguish between real and imaginary foes. Everyone's a bitter enemy.

First among them is U.S. President Barack Obama, whose middle name, Hussein, proves beyond any doubt which camp he belongs to. And what could possibly be expected from an American president with "this kind" of background, especially when he begins his tenure with two speeches in which he extends a friendly hand to the Arab and Muslim world? No sanctions on Iran will be of any help to him.

As for Russia, no comment. After all, Russia has been an enemy since the dawn of time. Is she not closely linked to Iran? Did she not build a nuclear reactor for Iran and will now sell it advanced S300 anti-aircraft missiles? Britain is a suspect country, not only because of its criticism of Israel's failed operation against the flotilla and its attempt to put on trial Israeli officers, but mostly because of its merchants' boycott on goods from the settlements and its academics' boycott on their Israeli counterparts. Like Britain, perhaps even worse, are Norway and Sweden - refined countries that are unable to comprehend the nature of Israel's harsh war against 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

It's doubtful whether there is any point in even mentioning the Turkish prime minister's name. The man has apparently gone off the deep end and is constantly barking at Israel, dispatching terrorist flotillas under the guise of humanitarian aid, inciting thousands of Turks to scream "to hell with Israel," and is even opposed to sanctions against Iran.

And what about all these artists and rock bands that are canceling their shows in Israel? Each of them individually, and all of them as a group, are enemies, not to say anti-Semites.

And we also have enemies at home: that same Arab fifth column whose representatives in the Knesset are nothing less than terrorism-supporting traitors.

The notion that Israel is "a small country surrounded by enemies" has served its foreign policy well for decades. The Israeli definition of enemies was adopted by most countries in the West and established a strong bond between Israel and Turkey, where Ankara saw the Arabs the way Israel did. This notion helped fill the coffers with aid and donations.

But when it turns out that this country has managed to acquire so many "enemies," there is a suspicion that maybe we're not talking about paranoia or a successful public-relations spin, but actual strategy. According to this line of thinking, Israel is not just surrounded by enemies threatening its existence but by a satanic world that is unwilling to understand the righteousness of Israel's way.

This can be a successful strategy as long as it aims to rally and unite the Israeli public around its government, because the more enemies we have, the more the public is frightened, the tighter its ranks as it seeks cover under the government's wings. This strategy does not suffer exceptions. Everyone must cover themselves with Israeli flags and shout "gevalt." Anyone who criticizes the Israel Defense Forces, proposes an international commission of inquiry or hints that the operation was not in line with international law will be tried for treason. If Israel had its "hilltop youth," now it has a "hilltop government."

But this strategy has a fundamental flaw. It is false. The United States and Europe, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are actually party to the Israeli definition and consider Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations. None of them wants to see Iran go nuclear. Turkey, too, did not wake up one morning and decide to become an enemy. Turkey's closer ties with Iran are not meant to instigate a new Islamic revolution, otherwise it is not possible to explain its ties with secular Syria. Even Lebanon, whose government contains Hezbollah as an inseparable part, did not oppose the sanctions on Iran but abstained, in all its audacity.

In short, when Israel points to a real enemy, it is usually convincing. But when it stretches the definition to include 1.5 million people, when it is unable to implement UN decisions or behave seriously to advance processes that will minimize the number of its enemies, no one is willing to believe its claims. And maybe the blame is on an evil world that is not mature enough yet to understand us.