Luckily, We Don’t Believe Bibi

We are tired of the professional scare-mongers, for whom imposing perpetual fear is the basis of their rule.

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We presume to be rational people – we are not motivated by instinct or emotion, and nobody will brainwash us. But that’s a self-deception. We only seem to be rational.

Once I wrote about mothers and fathers whose sons are about to be drafted, when they are told to take their only son, whom they love, and put him on the altar of sacrifice. After all, they know who decides here on war, they’re familiar with the quality of his decisions, and they’re aware of what people kill and are killed for. And in spite of that, the parents rationalize their sons’ fate.

If we really behaved rationally, we would first find out about the option of a boarding school in Switzerland. And we wouldn’t be disappointed to be told that the boy will be serving for three years in the Shekem canteen - but instead of letting out a sigh of relief, we suppress a frown of disappointment. Even as parents we are irresponsible. Something is completely screwed up in our internal grammar.

We remain in Israel in spite of everything. We have no contingency plan for emigration, not even a foreign passport, just to be on the safe side. Will we regret our shortsightedness and recklessness some day?

Because that bitter day is liable to arrive soon. Who knows our true situation as the prime minister does, and for years he has been prophesying a second Holocaust if Iran crosses the threshold and gets its hands on the bomb.

So what do we do now when the interim agreement has been signed in Geneva, and it is “a bad deal - a very, very bad deal”; what should the personal conclusion of every reasonable citizen be? “Israel will not be able to live with this agreement,” says the “highly placed source” in Jerusalem. And when it’s impossible to live, one tends to develop suicidal plans.

Only lunatics who are divorced from reality will carry on with the daily routine, sit with their hands folded and not pick themselves up and run. We have learned and taught the historical lesson: What was the fate of Jews who missed the last opportunity to flee, before the gates of heaven and earth were locked? Never again, we will not fall victim again to illusions.

Now is a time of emergency, and there’s no choice but to decide whether we rely on Netanyahu, because then we must not rely on this dangerous country as a place of refuge. We love you, our homeland, but we also love our dear ones; and after being warned a thousand times – we have been convinced.

So why have we not yet picked up our wanderer’s staff, what are we waiting for; and why haven’t we rushed to the airport before the lights are turned out?

Because we aren’t rational people, we only pretend to be. And perhaps we’re also lucky: We’re lucky that we don’t believe a word that Bibi Netanyahu says. Anyone who sees wolves everywhere, and anyone who keeps on crying wolf, shouldn’t be surprised if the sheep become deaf and indifferent. The public’s confidence in its elected officials is a condition for proper administration of a country. But look at this: It’s actually a lack of confidence that’s sometimes a necessary condition for a country’s continued existence. We don’t believe him, and that’s what is saving him and us.

Like the new world, we are also certain that a “bad agreement” is preferable to a good, disappointing war; that war is the last resort; that “soft power” is more effective than force; that Netanyahu was born and lives in the old world. We are also tired of the professional scare-mongers, for whom imposing perpetual fear is the basis of their rule.

Don’t believe him: We won’t die, we will live, and all the rest is hysteria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, November 24, 2013.Credit: Emil Salman

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