The cynic could say that our situation has never been better, echoing the wretched statement by the late Golda Meir, who has been inscribed in our history books as “Mrs. No” and brought the Yom Kippur War down upon us in 1973. The collapse of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, along with the downing of a Russian plane by Turkey and the revenge Vladimir Putin is planning to exact on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have created a new situation.
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Saving Syrian President Bashar Assad wouldn’t necessarily be to our detriment right now. Ever since the Yom Kippur War, the Syrian army hasn’t constituted a real threat to Israel. The Iranian nuclear threat has been removed for at least the next decade, sparing us a dangerous adventure. It’s impossible to say our regional situation hasn’t improved.
To be cynical once again, it’s possible to breathe a bit easier in light of the fact that blame for the mega-terror in Paris and the curfew in Brussels hasn’t been cast on us, for a change. From Paris, the cry “We must take action!” is ringing forth; and in Brussels, aside from the Mannekin-Pis statue of a little boy urinating, which works day and night, the entire city has been paralyzed. Even the famous Berlin department store has been forced to retract the boycott it imposed on Israel and restore wine from the Golan Heights to its shelves.
At long last, if only temporarily, all those decent, valiant people who assail Israel have worries of their own – the Muslims who are taking over enlightened Europe. But even though what’s happening around us ostensibly works to our benefit, our situation in reality is bad, very bad. Why? Because we have no leadership response to the kind of terror that’s afflicting us – the intifada of scissors and knives carried out by bloodthirsty boys and girls, or simply by ordinary Palestinians who’ve had enough and feel like taking out their anger at their own leaders by murdering any Jew who comes to hand.
The argument we’ve been having among ourselves over whether this is or isn’t an intifada is really irrelevant. You can call it whatever you please, but this is a popular uprising that stems from a feeling of having nothing to lose. It’s a version of Samson’s famous cry, “Let me die with the Philistines” – except it’s “Let me die with the Jews.”
It’s also a protest against the Palestinian leadership. The current uprising is a rebellion by young people against the failures of their fathers and leaders.
And among us, the automatic order is shoot to kill. It’s no accident that Education Minister Naftali Bennett is walking around with a pistol in his belt, Wild West-style, or that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat rushed to take down a knife-wielding Palestinian with his own hands, or that when Gershon Mesika, the former head of the Samaria Regional Council, spotted a Palestinian about to stab someone, he made a U-turn and ran over the Palestinian. A man’s man.
Meanwhile, the Hebrew language is being enriched with new expressions. For instance, the completely innocent, nonviolent word “neutralize” is now an order to kill – not just Palestinians, but anyone suspicious, from young boys to old men, even if it’s a case of mistaken identity.
We have no answer to this kind of terror, which is further eroding Israel’s legitimacy. What we do have is one of the worst governments this country has ever known, with a prime minister who has amassed unprecedented powers – he currently holds five cabinet portfolios – but isn’t capable of pushing through even the most basic decisions, like the natural gas agreement.
Moreover, our prime minister has an obsession about controlling the media (see journalist Ayala Hasson’s move to Channel 10 television) and the chutzpah to refuse Secretary of State John Kerry’s request that he freeze construction in the settlements, at least temporarily. “There is not and will not be a freeze,” he declared, giving Barack Obama a long-distance slap.
The Belgian boy, fashioned of bronze, pisses into a fountain in Brussels. Our leader, made of flesh and blood, does the same thing to us.