Violinist Seeks Orchestra

With time, religious fanatics here and in Arab countries began to dictate policies. In the meantime, Israel got heady with its unwritten alliance with the U.S.

Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus
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An Islamic State militant, August 2014.
An Islamic State militant, August 2014.Credit: AP
Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus

Israel is like that excellent violinist who had one small problem – no orchestra wanted to play with him. In the 1950s, for example, Israel wanted to join NATO. It wanted to be considered part of Europe, ridding itself of the fear of Arab states, which had threatened it since the day it was born. Israel colluded with France and Great Britain in their invasion of Egypt, leading rapidly to threats by the presidents of the United States and Soviet Union to use force against it if it didn’t immediately withdraw from what David Ben-Gurion termed in the Knesset “Israel’s Third Kingdom.”

Our leaders at the time dreamed of alliances with peripheral states such as Turkey and Iran. At the same time, special relations were established with newly formed countries in Africa, as well as with France and Germany. This was intended to obtain political support as well as military assistance.

Israel, like that violinist, sought security in order to survive in a hostile environment. Not only did Arab countries not want it around, they did all they could to annihilate it in the years following its establishment. With such a virus and a few ensuing wars, with “terrorist-itis” and “Greater Land of Israel-itis,” it all boiled down to our right to exist here.

With time, religious fanatics here and in Arab countries began to dictate policies, determining in which areas we have a right to live, if any. In the meantime, Israel got heady with its unwritten alliance with the U.S., which included massive financial and military assistance which it still receives.

The more the region we live in became a focus of strategic interests for the big powers, the more Israel became, for better or worse, a key stabilizing force. In earlier days, the Saudi king’s grandfather would secretly order yoghurt that he loved from Tnuva. Later, Israel agreed to include improvements it made to modern jets it acquired from the U.S. in American jets sold to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis currently view Israel as a potential partner for normalization of relations between them.

There were days in which our prime ministers dealt directly with Jordan’s King Hussein’s grandfather and father, in order to stabilize relations before and during times of war. An Israeli ultimatum saved Jordan from an invasion by Syria. Two peace treaties, with Egypt and Jordan, are holding up to this day. These two countries are worried by the Palestinian issue, even though fanatics there have not given up their dream that Israel disappears.

Thus, the source of evil does not lie with political interests or in a refusal by the countries involved, but with the radical Islamization that has spread throughout the region. The U.S. attack on Iraq and eventual removal of Saddam Hussein were carried out with the consent of regional states, including Syria. Israel was not part of that coalition – the Americans prevented it from joining. Residents of Israel were subjected to nightly Scud missile attacks, and people in Tel Aviv fled daily from these attacks. One could have argued then that this ended the matter, but it was not to be.

Iraq and Syria became the scene of something totally unexpected – Islamic State, Islam at its worst, with Gestapo-style murders and televised beheadings sending shivers throughout the international community. Even Iran is biting its nails, since this murderous terror, “in the name of Allah,” is spreading like wildfire.

Readers should not dismiss all of this as meaningless. “Our” Hamas is a good example of how religious ideological terror cannot be eradicated swiftly. So they ran out of rockets in Gaza and stopped firing. It’s only a temporary lull. Hamas is alive and well. The Muslim Brotherhood has also not spoken its last words.

The Islamic State is a lethal, infectious disease. American bombing will not get rid of it. Fanatical terrorism cannot be wiped out only from the air.

As for us, if useful coalitions are formed around us, with opportunities for a broader reach of an agreement with the Palestinians, our leaders should not miss out. Even the best violinist needs an orchestra.

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