In order to intelligently address an issue, one must understand it, or at least have an underlying comprehension of the grounds of the issue under discussion.
President Obama, the White House staff, the vice president and members of Congress are publicly taking steps that convey a measure of disrespect for the leader of our most faithful ally, Israel. In light of the current Middle East situation, this is unwise to say the least and fraught with danger at most. These actions are (hopefully) rooted in ignorance, as the alternative is too frightening (for Bible believers) to consider.
On the one hand, Israel is a literal testament to blood (six wars, two intifadas, ongoing terrorism), sweat (limited water supply, two-thirds of the land was desert and barren hills), and tears (children blown up in schools or citizens murdered in cold blood).
On the other hand, Israel has absorbed and settled millions of immigrants, is one of the largest exporters of fruits and flowers, has revived a centuries-old language and ranks third in the world in the number of university graduates per capita. Israel has produced numerous Nobel Prize winners, has the highest per capita number of scientists in the world and its high-tech industry is second only to California’s Silicon Valley.That’s not too shabby for a country only 67 years old.
Despite her remarkable progress and continuing attempts to make peace with her neighbors, Israel is still the only country that not only must consistently defend to the international community of nations her right just to exist, but it is the only nation today publicly threatened with extinction by other countries. These and certain other realities should be taken into consideration as we approach Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the U.S. Congress Tuesday and any remarks vis-à-vis the Middle East situation.
First, not all Muslims are terrorists, just as not all Muslims are Arabs. There are several countries with a majority Muslim population that are not Arabs; in fact, 62 percent of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Pew Research, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan than the Middle East and North Africa. It is also true, however, that the overwhelming majority of people who have threatened or committed acts of terrorism worldwide – launched rockets into civilian populations and/or have been prevented from attacking Israel with armies – have been Muslim.
Second, Israeli Jews are not paranoid simply because they take threats of murder, terror and annihilation seriously. Israel’s ancient history is replete with episodes of the same, including the entire nation being enslaved. In the lifetime of some reading this column, the attempt to annihilate the entire Jewish nation is vividly remembered.
Although there are now those who would seek to deny it and many Muslim youths being taught it is a myth, the tragic truth is that the Holocaust was real. More than 14 million people died, including 6 million Jews horrifically murdered by the Nazis. While many simply shake their heads and think, “That could never happen again,” we must remember there were those who, during the actual horror of the moment, were saying, “That could never happen.”
The Israelis, including some of whom are alive today because of the intervention of Western powers in World War II, are not apt to forget. In fact, to ensure that their upcoming generations and the world at large is kept aware of this, they observe a special time of commemoration, “Yom Hashoah, Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust” (Hebrew: Ha-Shoah, The Catastrophe). Sirens blow at sundown and once again at 10 a.m., stopping all traffic, pedestrian and vehicular, for two minutes. Additionally, theaters, cinemas, pubs and other public venues are all closed throughout Israel in remembrance.
This is in conjunction with the Israeli mindset of “never again,” which is the cornerstone of its military, economic and political philosophy. While it is not officially stated, nor a day set aside for it, almost every Israeli is committed to the concept that “never again” will Israel simply allow its citizenry to be led like lambs to the slaughter.
This, in my opinion, is the basis for Prime Minister Netanahyu’s visit to speak Tuesday to the U.S. Congress. Iranian religious leadership has publicly stated its intent to wipe Israel off the map or “erase them from the page.” The prime minister will make clear, in so many words, the officially unstated position that Israel will not stand idly by while Iran, which has sworn to destroy Israel, is allowed by Western powers to develop a nuclear weapon. His unstated position will essentially be, “We will not allow it, and if our actions generate World War III, so be it, but Israelis will not stand idly by and permit ourselves to be annihilated.”
In other words, even if the rest of the world – including the U.S. – does nothing, Israelis will not again allow themselves to be slaughtered, never again.
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