by Dr. Mordechai Kedar
It is an undeniable fact that the Israeli government caved in to the religious tenacity of the Muslim side in the Temple Mount dispute. It took less than two weeks of violence to force Israel to admit to the error made by its Cabinet and all the experts with whom it consulted about probable Islamic reactions to placing security apparatus at the entrance to the Temple Mount and the gates of the Old City. There is no question that Israel's backtracking was humiliating and that it granted a significant victory to Israel-haters.
The liberal mindset has taken over the thought processes of large sectors of Israeli society, just as it has taken over the thought processes of Western society as a whole. And it leads to disaster.
Desperate to end the violence, Israeli public relations sources publicized a document showing similar security measures in Mecca and Medina, where not a single Muslim complains or protests at the Saudi checkpoints. They seem to have hoped that the Muslims here would agree to have Jews inspect them the way pilgrims on the Haaj to Mecca allow the Saudis to inspect them. The government and its public relations people's basic error lay in thinking that a magnetometer in Jerusalem is the same as one in Mecca, ignoring two fundamental differences.
1. The Saudis are Muslim and the Israelis are Jews, "sons of apes and pigs" according to the Quran, "murderers of prophets" and the "objects of Alllah's wrath," while their religion is a false creed - meaning that there is no way they can be allowed to inspect Muslims, whose religion is the only true one.
2. The Islamic world recognizes the Saudi Monarchy's hegemony over Mecca and Medina, but there is not even a shred of acceptance of Jewish hegemony over the Temple Mount.
The government's failure stems from something more insidious than simple misjudgement, its source is the liberal mindset that has taken over the thought processes of large sectors of Israeli society – rightist and leftist – just as it has taken over the thought processes of Western society as a whole.
This inherently secular liberal mindset claims that religion has no part to play in the modern world, and that if it does seem to be playing a part, we – that is, the liberal and secular West – must push it to the sidelines, along with its representatives and institutions, laws and customs, and its role in any aspects of life in the Middle East. Liberal circles refuse to recognize the role of religion in our region; the violence is explained by tangible factors such as persecution, occupation, poverty and unemployment
A liberal is incapable, and possibly unwilling, to understand that there are people on the globe whose world of ideas differs from his. That is why liberals comfort themselves with the words MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) said when denigrating my opinions: "Everyone wants more happiness and less suffering." Everyone, according to Gilon, includes Muslims and religious Jews,. He refuses to accept the fact that for believers, religious commandments are more important than their personal and collective happiness, that they are willing to suffer while performing Heavenly commandments, convinced that it is His will. Adding to happiness and reducing suffering are on the bottom of their wish list.
Every time I am interviewed by the media, I try to convince listeners that the basis of the conflict between our neighbors and ourselves is a religious one; because the Islamic religion sees Judaism as a false religion, meaning that the Jews have to be dependent on Muslim mercies and cannot be masters of themselves. The religious theme does have a nationalist element – our neighbors do not accept the definition of the Jews as a people but see them as discrete communities belonging to whatever country they are in, those countries to which the Jews presently in Palestine must return.
Our territory, the Land of Israel, is actually "Falestin," the property of Islam since the 7th century Islamic Conquest, and as is well known, every country has an entrance ticket to Islam, but no way to exit it. That explains why the conquest of "Falestin" by the people of a false religion – who are not really a people anyway – cannot possibly be accepted by those loyal to Islam..
When I appear in the media and try to describe the delegitimizing of Israel through Islamic eyes, I get a standard response from every interviewer: "Don't change the national, territorial conflict into a religious one!!" Me? Is it me who is changing the conflict to a religious one? The problem is that the mostly liberal secular interviewers are at a loss when faced with religious arguments because they have neither the cognitive nor the psychological tools needed to deal with religious issues, especially those that cause suffering, and do not even agree to hear a description of the present conflict's religious elements.
One of the people who is constantly "warning" the Israeli public not to allow the situation to "degenerate into a religious conflict" is Tzipi Livni. This warning has become a mantra Livni repeats every time she is handed a microphone. I would expect a respected and talented lawyer who once filled key positions in the Israeli government to be somewhat more familiar with the materials used to build the barriers of hate with which our enemies have encircled us, let alone realize the dominance of the religious element in their decision-making processes.
But Tzipi Livni is in good company, because I estimate that most self-defined liberal or secular Israelis suffer from the identical problem – an intellectual and psychological inability to enter the mind of a true man of faith, someone whose life – and in the case of Islam, also his death - is geared to doing what he believes is expected of him by He who sits on high.
Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and many other liberals believed that the Oslo Accords would trump Muslim hatred of the Jewish State, and that Arafat, whom they considered "secular," would deal with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two Islamist religious terror organizations, without the interference of the courts and human rights NGOs. "Without Bagatz and without B'Tselem" were Rabin's oft-repeated words during the heady days of Oslo 1993. They actually believed that Arafat himself was liberal, secular, progressive and modern – just like them – because, after all, he uttered lovely words of peace and even smiled at them.
This liberal disability is not limited to Israelis, it is to be found all over Europe and the United States. A good many Western states simply refuse to believe that Muslims – some of them, at least – immigrate to the West in order to Islamize it, no matter if it takes tens or hundreds of years to do so. This unpleasant truth about Islamic migration appears in a good many books, pamphlets, articles, sermons, interviews and is openly written on signs at demonstrations, so that the Western liberal does not have to expend much effort in searching for proof. But why confuse his liberal theories with unpleasant facts that do not mesh with them?
A liberal believes in free speech, free expression of opinions and a free press. The Islamic world's reaction to a set of caricatures criticizing Islam that appeared in Denmark;s Jyllands-Posten was a violent explosion that took the lives of nearly 200 people. The liberalism of France's Charlie Hebdo publication cost many of its editors their lives, and the liberalism of whoever produced The Innocence of Muslims caused a great wave of protests in the entire Muslim world. No matter, liberals continue to believe that their ideology will bring an end to all the world's ills, even if at first it infuriates the Muslims, pushing them towards radicalism and ensuing destruction, murder and terror.
Liberalism freed western man from the constraints of family and marriage. Fewer and fewer men and women maintain traditional marriages in the West, resulting in a drastic reduction in the birth rate and leading the way, within several generations, to the relegation of Europe's nations to the status of museum exhibits – but why should that interest a liberal whose main worry is where and in whose company he is going to enjoy himself this very evening?
The conclusion is clear. When liberals run a world which is, for the most part, still attached to tradition and religions, Islamic in the main, the unavoidable result is a long chain of disasters and disastrous mistakes that will lead the world to the edge of a bottomless abyss. The Western countries, with Israel at their head, must rouse themselves from their liberal dreams to face the reality of a world where religion is the main actor, even if this contradicts the liberal values upon which generations of philosophers, scientists, jurors and politicians were raised and educated.
The sooner we awaken, the faster we learn how the religious mind works and the more rapidly we internalize the reality surrounding us, the more successful our efforts to deal with it will be.
Translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky, Senior Consultant to Arutz Sheva's English site, Op-ed and Judaism editor.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.
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