Despair Is From the Devil

Despite all the trouble, never before in history has the Jewish state flourished the way it does today, nor has it been as secure as it is now

Israel Harel
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Soldiers at the Passover Seder in Ashkelon
Soldiers at the Passover Seder in AshkelonCredit: Ray Scally
Israel Harel

The main headline in Yedioth Ahronoth last Tuesday was: “The country is in grave condition.” This frightening diagnosis summarizes the opinion of six former Mossad heads: Zvi Zamir, Nahum Admoni, Efraim Halevy, Shabtai Shavit, Dani Yatom and Tamir Pardo.

According to Zamir, “the country is sick”; Pardo believes “we’re getting lost”; Shavit says that “as intelligence people, our most important ability is forecasting the future.” And the future – according to the prophetic abilities of these six observers of the House of Israel – is gloomy and depressing. Yatom, for example, envisions “the end of the Jewish state.”

The sickness of corruption, my dear and honorable Zamir, is indeed a major malady, but it is curable. It is now being treated by quite good doctors – the police, the prosecution, the media and public opinion. Thanks to the healthy foundations of society – like you, for example – we always take courage and manage to remove from our midst (most of) what is contaminated and loathsome.

I dare say that even the sins in absorbing the immigrants from the lands of the East are to no small extent exaggerated. Dr. Zvi Zameret, who spent most of his adult life in outlying towns, proved a decade ago that the immigrants supposedly “dumped” from trucks in the desert in 1951, in Yeruham for example, were from Romania and Hungary. The first immigrants from Morocco arrived there only in 1955.

I of course share your pain and worry over corruption, especially in government, and share Admoni’s anguish – and, I believe, that of most people in Israel – over the rift in the nation. But his statement that this rift “is greater than at any other time” does not stand the test of history. I recommend that Admoni and you look at the newspapers (and books) from the time of the Altalena, the Wadi Salib and Yosseleh Shumacher affairs, the dark days of mutual incitement in the Oslo period. Most of these events, and many others, were harsh and difficult – quite incomparable to what is happening these days, and most of them happened when the government was from the other political camp. Then, for some reason, the moral and societal condition was not described as “grave.” In retrospect – justifiably not. The fact is that we overcame. Together.

Yes, despite all the trouble, never before in history has the Jewish state flourished the way it does today, nor has it been as secure as it is now. It is within my people, all of its far-flung parts, that I dwell. Moreover, during the week you described Israel’s situation as “grave,” the Bank of Israel published its annual report. “The economy of Israel is at its peak,” it stated.

Like many in Israel, you too are holding your breath in the face of what is about to happen (it’s the government’s fault of course) on Friday on the Gazan border. Remember, please, the various petitions and other acts of persuasion in which you stated (including some of you who were then “in uniform”) that disengagement would put an end to bombardments from the Gaza Strip, and the area would become Singapore. Yes, your joining forces with a corrupt prime minister to uproot Jews from their communities is incontrovertible proof of shortsightedness. The hell in which the Gaza Strip’s Arab citizens and the Jewish inhabitants of the communities near the border with Gaza have been living for the past 13 years is, largely, the outcome of your ability – then and now – to “predict the future.”

Not only haste, but also despair, gentleman, with such great credit to your name (truly!), is from the devil. A happy – and encouraging – holiday to you and the whole House of Israel.