Opinion |

Israel Has Overcome Every Threat, Except the One From Within

After defeating the anti-Semites, the Nazis, the Arabs and the Palestinians — we are losing to the Israelis.

Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit
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An Israeli flag in Hebron.
An Israeli flag in Hebron.
Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit

At first we defeated Israel’s haters. Before the astonished eyes of the anti-Semites, we turned the Jews from Diaspora dwellers, dependent on their mercy, into cultivators of the desert and founders of the state who live in their homeland as strong, proud sovereign individuals. We proved to all those who despised, trampled and persecuted us for centuries that we’re neither inferior nor despicable, but rather confident men and women who returned to be a free nation in their land — the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Then we defeated the Nazis. Before the astonished eyes of the entire world, we turned a nation that was almost annihilated in the most horrific human catastrophe of the modern era into a living, vibrant people. We proved to those who tried to destroy us in massacres and death factories that our life force surpassed their killing force and that we could rise from the killing ravine. From the lowest nadir we rose and recovered and turned ourselves into one of most vital, creative and productive nations on earth.

Then we defeated the nationalistic Arabs. Before the astonished eyes of a hating Middle East, we turned a small and helpless Jewish community, whose enemies sought to wipe from the face of the earth, into a tremendous regional power on whose doorstep the Arab world is lining up. We proved to those who wanted to throw us into the sea that no hostile force could defeat us. The iron wall that we built over the course of 100 years and reinforced with endless wars turned many of our Arab enemies into allies.

Then we defeated the Palestinian extremists. Before the astonished eyes of the land’s native inhabitants, we turned ourselves from immigrants into deeply rooted, established native sons. We proved to those who saw us as a fata morgana, guests for a night, that we were neither modern crusaders nor foreign colonialists, but rather the descendants of an ancient people that returned to its homeland in order to reestablish itself there. When we overcame the rioters and the rejectionists and the terrorists and the skyjackers and the bus bombers and the rocket launchers, we made it clear to the neighboring nation that we are from here, we are here and we will never go away from here.

Concurrently with these victories over nationalist, religious and ideological enemies, we also defeated the forces of nature and of fate. We tamed the desert, that threatened to deny us the ability to plant, to sow, to make bloom and to blossom. We overcame the limitations of a tiny, dry harsh land without natural resources. We defeated the constraints of a small, isolated nation that is not part of any of the family of nations’ large families. We conquered the international embargo and the Arab boycott and the European condescension and the Soviet hostility and the Christian hesitation and the Muslim opposition, the loathing from the right and the alienation from the left. We vanquished all of the historical forces that tried to keep us from rescuing ourselves, from realizing our dream and from building a home.

There was only one force we could not overcome: ourselves.

Now, of all times, when there is no external enemy that can threaten our home, we are undermining it with our own hands. Now, of all times, when no foreign threat jeopardizes our future, we are destroying the future. At a time when the scenario of a second Yom Kippur War is disappearing, the scenario of the Second Temple is returning — zealotry, division, unfounded hatred. The nation that was once wise is struck blind. The state that was once enlightened grows dark. Daily, hourly, Zionism is digging its own grave on the peaks of Judea and Samaria and in the abyss of the one state. After defeating the anti-Semites, the Nazis, the Arabs and the Palestinians — we are losing to the Israelis.

Before the astonished eyes of history, we are turning into our own worst enemy.



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