Israel: Lacking in Hate and Balance

[UPDATE: Melannie writes about the challenge facing French Jews, in a soon to be all out war zone]

We have steadfastly refused to behave as a country at war, thinking that if we only provide a convincing illusion of peace it will hasten the arrival of the real thing. While we have forced our soldiers to act under the rules of engagement appropriate for suburban policemen and our civilians to behave like sheep, our enemies have broken every rule of civilized warfare and blurred erased any meaningful distinction between civilian and military targets.

He’s not talking about the US, as you might have guessed.

There are many things to which Israelis and veteran tourists become jaded over time. Many of the archaeological and holy sites lose some of their ‘specialness’… and landmarks associated with many of Israel’s wars seem to blend into the scenery.

But for me, these wrecked vehicles never fail to evoke the same strong emotional response I felt when I first saw them in 1983.

You see, from 1948 until today there has been a chilling continuity in our country’s willingness to place its young men and women behind armor plating in order to safeguard them from our enemies (both external and internal) while ignoring what such a weak and defensive posture says to our bloodthirsty foes.

Even Israeli Arabs who were once nominally neutral, if not somewhat loyal citizens have become a dangerous fifth column in our midst. It isn’t that they have any particular gripe with Israel. They are simply throwing their lot in with the side they perceive to be winning.

Anywhere you go in this small country you will see armored IDF jeeps (Sufas), Hummers, trucks and personnel carriers ferrying solders from place to place. But less obvious are the IDF ambulances that are also armored because their humanitarian nature has never been respected by our enemies… the same enemies who spew chapter and verse of Geneva conventions and International law at every real or imagined Israeli transgression.

Even more insidious is the fact that nearly all civilian commuter and school buses that travel within firing distance of our enemies have armor plating and bullet-proof windows. This isn’t some hysterical precaution… these buses are regularly targeted by Palestinians with rocks, Molotov Cocktails and gunfire.

During the height of the last Intifada, most commuter cars that traveled in the ‘territories’ replaced their fragile glass windows with rock-proof polycarbonate windows, and many people (myself included) commuted to and from work wearing bullet proof vests.

In Sderot, where daily rocket attacks continue despite a one-sided cease-fire, our feckless Defense Minister (who nominally calls Sderot home) sees a perfectly workable solution in reinforcing the roofs of the city with iron bars and concrete armoring rather than targeting the source of the ongoing bombardment in Gaza!

Like the burned out wrecks that sit silently along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, none of these armor solutions has proved particularly effective against the efforts of a determined enemy… and in fact seem to have simply increased the enemy’s desire to strike. Nearly every week we read about explosive devices being set off and/or thrown at IDF and civilian vehicles. Some cause damage… others death.

But one thing that hasn’t changed since the War of Independence (a war which many insist is still being fought) is that we and our enemies operate under completely different rules of engagement… a disparity that renders armor nearly useless.

I have made this point before. When I have criticized Israel for refusing to consider Total War or even to use any principle of the Total War philosophy, which has its best and most successful examples in America.

Israelis, and Jews in general, don’t wish to destroy, maim, and kill their enemies. They don’t have enough hate for their enemies, they don’t have enough hate of what their enemies make them do or what their enemies do to their children. True hate is when your whole being is dedicated to the destruction of that which you hate, that which you desire to be annihilated and disappeared from existence itself. The Israelis are okay with their enemies, they tolerate their enemies. They, yes, even love their enemies.

While America has been able to turn on and off the hate and desire to destroy our enemies at will, seemingly, Israel has always seemed like they were suffering a short circuit everytime they attempted to go to war. Which is why they’ve been at war for 50 something years now. Half a decade. Not even our war with the Soviets lasted that long. Neither WWI or WWII combined, either.

Why is that? Is it because of the UN, post WWII miasma of weakness and doubt? No, how can it be when the US fought in Vietnam and achieved a decisive result (a decisive one, if not a victorious one), in far less time than Israel’s 50 years of death and chaos?

Do they actually love war and love having it? Because they seem to do everything they can to goad the Arabs into continuing to fight. It is not as if they don’t know how to stop the Arabs, how they have to do is to look at America vs Japan in WWII, to know the solution. Or even Iraq right now. But they don’t do it. And they don’t elect leaders who do know how to do it. Pacifism and warmongering are two sides of the same coin. Without balance, nothing good is possible.

I would be willing to bet anything that many of the men and women who died horrible deaths inside those iron wrecks that line the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway though the time of peace and love was waiting for them just around the corner (if not at the top of the hill). Yet here we are more than half a century later and we ignore the reality all around us, a reality that tells anyone with the wit to pay attention that the time for hatred and war is still very much with us (though we refuse to act accordingly).

Read it all of course

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6 Comments on “Israel: Lacking in Hate and Balance”

  1. TBinSTL Says:

    The Jews I know and there are a lot of them, have one common attribute. They are all really, really sensitive on the persecution issue. This is not surprising to me, I would get a little jumpy after the first couple of centuries. The thing that is odd about it is that many of them seem downright proud of it. I get the sense that suffering through persecution(whatever form it is taking at the moment) is viewed as more admirable than self defense. While there are obvious contrary examples, this current seems to rum quite strong in their culture. I have known wounded IDF veterans who almost seem apologetic about having fought for their nation. I can’t say that I really have a handle on it as it is seems such an un-natural mindset. It’s as if they are just glad that they can survive at all so a little slaughter and mayhem is just the price you pay. Because they expect to be persecuted and attacked they seem to say “eh, it could have been worse”.

  2. treppenwitz Says:

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful take on my post. The mention and link would have been very generous all by themsleves, but your insights have added a beautiful new dimension. Thanks again.

  3. ymarsakar Says:

    The Israelis have their own Left, as people have talked about. But to me, it takes a lot for the Left to acquire power in Israel, after seeing such constant attacks.

    People have promised that if we had war time and full military draft, that the Left would decrease in influence. Looking at Israel’s militia system… that doesn’t seem to be working. I said in reply, that the Left will always get into power, regardless of what you try to do to stop them, short of executing them they have all kinds of tricks up their sleeve.

    No problem, treppen, I’m just glad that someone shares me view. All too often I hear people defend Israel by trying to say that they are acting morally and restrained and not being the aggressor… as if these are good things to say of Israel. With the war the US is in right now, I think more people are starting to understand something, at least those with a grasp of military tactics, strategy, and logistics. Starting to understand that Israel’s path is that of the restrained variety, that if you try to deal with the Arab world from afar, in armor, without face to face, blood to blood connections, then it won’t take years. It’ll take decades if not centuries, and even then it might still be around, the Islamic Jihad.

    It is not the solution. Both Israel and Europe have shown the US what not to do, but the US has already known what not to do. It just wasn’t until Iraq that people who had influence, realized it. Petraeus, in solving Iraq, must logically give Israel their own solution to the problem.

  4. Greg Laurich Says:

    I’m hoping that Patraeus can bring Iraq back from the brink. As for Isreal, they’ve been told for so long by so many people how they are supposed to fight this war that they bought into the lie. They always have to treat this with world gloves or so they think thanks to the US and the UN that it’s now part of thier mind set. It will probably take a major attack to shake them out of this. And the way Iran is acting it might not be long.

  5. ymarsakar Says:

    God to remind myself to post the French note.

  6. Greg Laurich Says:

    Sorry I meant kid gloves on my above post. My bad…

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