Despite its power, tiny Jewish state vulnerable to hateful campaign of destruction.
by Giulio Meotti
Israel’s victory in 1967, its superiority in weaponry, the success of its economy, and its triumph in every war in which its existence was at stake has bred a dangerous complacency. Indeed, most Israelis today ridicule the very idea of Israel’s impermanence.
At a first glance Israel looks like an independent, vital, productive Jewish state in its historical land; a state capable of self-defense and of ingathering millions of Jews from the Diaspora. In spite of dreadful wars, continued Islamic terror, world bias and blatant Arab attempts to destroy Israel, the tiny Israel has grown and prospered.
Schools, universities, hospitals, technical institutes, theatres and publishing houses have flourished in a newly refashioned but ancient tongue. So did Jewish democracy. Israel made the desert bloom and it showed that Jews, too, can wage war. Israel survived, after 16,450 troops have died in six wars with Arab countries.
Imagining nightmarish scenarios may be an illusion of some pessimist, non-Jewish writers. Perhaps Israel will live through a happy period ahead and the worst-case predictions will never materialize. After all, a recent Gallup poll found Israel to be the seventh-most happiest country in the world. However, according to another poll, released by Yedioth Ahronoth a few years ago, 47% of Israelis are concerned that in 2048 – the centenary of Israel’s founding – there will be no Israel.
Israel’s enemies are currently working hard for a future that is clear to them: a world without Zionism; a world without Israel. Will Israel survive? This looks like a strategic question now that the United Nations is going to decide about Israel’s future with the recognition of a new Islamic state on its borders: Palestine.
Israel is a small country. This is not to say that it’s destined for extinction; only that it can be. Of the children of Abraham, the descendants of Ishmael occupy 800 times more land than the descendants of Isaac. Any political change in these countries would have a quadrupled effect on Israel’s security and sovereignty.
Moreover, in its vulnerability to extinction, Israel is not just any small country. It is the only small country whose neighbors declare its very existence an affront to God and make its extinction an explicit, paramount national goal. Only one nation is regarded as virtually having no civilians: Israel.
Is Turkey the next Iran?
The rulers of Turkey and Egypt are now leading Israel into a dangerous corner. Egypt was cleansed again of all its Jews, after the Israeli embassy was attacked and destroyed. Even the PLO, which was forced into ostensible recognition of Israel in the Oslo Agreements of 1993, is still ruled by a national charter that calls in at least 14 places for Israel’s eradication, a sign of how deeply engraved the dream of eradicating Israel remains in the Islamic consciousness.
History has proven that what the Arab people desire rarely coincides with what is good for Israel and the Jews. The current Middle East is like Iran in 1979 and the Palestinian territories in 2006: many words on liberalism and democracy, but anarchy, death and political Islam on the ground.
Professor Bernard Lewis has just warned that Turkey could be "the next Iran." And what would happen if, instead of the corrupted Assad regime, another government took power, one with Islamist genocidal ambitions toward the nearby Jewish state?
The vast majority of Jews in the Diaspora are assimilating and intermarrying at a level unequalled in Jewish history. “The dissolution of European Jewry,” observed Bernard Wasserstein in “Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe since 1945”, “is not situated at some point in a hypothetical future. The process is taking place before our eyes and is already far advanced.”
There is a sense of increasing erosion of support abroad for Israel, also in the friendly US, and of a constant and unrelenting air of tension, a nagging sense, somehow, of having lost the way despite immense accomplishments.
The odorless scenario of Israel's end sees Theodor Herzl’s picture taken down from the wall of the Knesset, the Star of David flag and the Hatikva anthem modified, the seven-branched candelabra removed as the expression of Am Yisrael, the Chief Rabbinate abolished and the name of the state turned into Falastin.
Jews in gas masks
The realistic scenario sees the Palestinian state arming itself and forming alliances with, say, Islamists in Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Iran. War breaks out between Palestine and Israel. The Muslims attack from without and the home front comes under terrorist, guerrilla attack from Palestine. Chemical and biological weapons rain down from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Israel can be overrun.
Will the Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah launch their rockets at the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, Beersheba, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Zichron Yaakov and Kiryat Shmona? Will thousands of Jews flee to underground shelters? Will bloody attacks be planned against Jews at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem? Will the Jewish holy sites - Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem, Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron and Joseph’s tomb in Nablus – be destroyed by local mobs? Will Jewish areas in eastern Jerusalem be subjected to Arab sniper fire? Will Katyusha rockets start falling on runways at Ben-Gurion Airport or on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, so that Israel’s economy would simply cease to exist?
Then we arrive at the worst scenario. Western Intelligence is whispering that Iran is only awaiting the order of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to announce its atomic bomb. To destroy the Jewish people, Hitler needed to conquer the world. All that is needed today is to conquer a territory smaller than Vermont. What will be of Israel in case the Iranian mullahs launch a nuclear bomb on the coastal plain, where more than 70% of population - one-third of all world Jews - lives?
Israel’s ports, airports, refining capacities and industries are all there, and 600 feet in the air you see it all, from Ashkelon in the south to the Haifa Bay in the north.
The first Gulf War reminded even the most wishful thinkers that in an age of nerve gas, missiles and atomic bombs, Israel with its compact population and tiny land area is particularly vulnerable to extinction. Twenty years ago, Saddam Hussein’s Scud rockets began to rain down on Tel Aviv.
The specter of a chemical attack was Israel’s nightmare, because anthrax was a reality in Iraq. In all, 39 missiles fell on Israel. On those cold nights, Jews wore gas masks, because Saddam had revived the idea in the Israeli unconscious that the Jews could be gassed again. And so Israelis checked their shelters, sealed doors and windows, stood in line for gas masks in the hallways of schools and watched chemical-warfare defense videos. Food cans quickly disappeared from the supermarkets.