A Light unto the Nations

Again, I freely admit that I cannot understand Israel’s official policies and even its humanitarian concerns, laudable as they may be. You do not win a war and save your own citizens in the process by alerting the enemy in advance of your intentions. You do not protect the lives of your people by healing future shahids. You do not earn brownie points by victualing those who wish only to exterminate you, as the Hamas charter and its asymmetrical guerrilla practices make abundantly clear. You do not allow shipments of cement and iron to the diggers of terror tunnels.

Nor do you immunize yourself against the allegation of war crimes by the consuming exertion of building a defense case; rather, you go on the attack, deploying the legal weapons at your disposal -- journalist affidavits, the captured Hamas combat manual sanctioning the strategy of using human shields to sway the international press, the more than ten thousand rockets aimed at Israeli villages and towns since the disengagement -- and prosecuting a case at the International Criminal Court accusing Hamas of war crimes. Israel does not and should not wait upon a judicial summons to The Hague by Hamas and its bigoted fellow travelers in the morally compromised West: it should immediately initiate a prosecutorial case against the real criminals, and force them to account for their actions before the world. It must take the bull by the horns, not wait to be gored.

Tikkun Olam, the mandate to repair a broken world, is a lovely theological notion, but it should not come at the expense of sacrificing one’s own civilians, soldiers and children to a bloodthirsty adversary, a decadent commentariat and a hopelessly corrupt United Nations. It is high time that Israel -- its political and legal authorities, its commanders, the media, and the intellectual elites -- adopt a new mode of thinking if the country has any hope of surviving into the indefinite future. If the prevailing mindset does not change, 1973, the year in which Israelis almost lost their country, may happen again, this time with a different result. A punching bag does not win a boxing match. I realize that the issue is insidiously complex. Soi-disant “allies” need to be partially mollified or taken into consideration, especially if they are surreptitiously hostile, but a country cannot be passive or half-hearted, always seeking to appease, always deferring victory, if it is to embrace a viable future. As Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote in The Story of the Jewish Legion, “if you want to be ‘good,’ allow yourself to be killed and forego all that you made it your aim to defend: home, country, freedom, hope.”

A purely defensive posture, an extensive reliance on Iron Dome, limited military engagements that only prolong the agony, and legal extenuations are expressive of, as well as engender, a garrison mentality that is ultimately self-defeating.

Isaiah may have been right, but a light has at least two properties: it casts a glow, and it can be extinguished.