by Dr. Haim Shine
Images of the charred bus in Tel Aviv and the sound of ambulance sirens wailing on Wednesday reminded us all of difficult imagery from the not-so-distant past. Injury to civilians and property in Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Rishon Lezion and elsewhere makes it clear that the battle is not over yet for the Jews' right to live freely in their homeland.
All the false prophets of the Left who spoke loftily about peace, understanding and coexistence seem today to be stuck in a fantasy land, their imaginations running free. The famous song for peace sounds today like a nightmare. The dream of short-sighted leaders is that an entire nation pays the price for some of its parts. The return to Zion is not for dreamers, however — it is for fighters. Even if a ladder reaching the sky should appear, the ladder needs to be placed on the ground of reality.
The Israeli leadership must not repeat the mistakes of its predecessors. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has a historical perspective, should know very well that repatriation is inconsistent with buying temporary quiet. During the long days of the Diaspora, Jewish vision and our national horizons were both short and closed; transience characterized Jewish life. After 2,000 years, we finally returned home to change this behavior pattern, instead of settling for temporary solutions that only increased the appetites of the desert tribes around us, who place no value on human life.
There is broad consensus among the public that Israel must be serious and determined in any decision to eradicate terrorism in Gaza and send clear signals to Iran. This consensus allows the government to make tough and complex decisions to restore security to citizens everywhere, replacing the Pillar of Defense with a pillar of fire. The hope that Israel would receive international support for its decision on Gaza was unrealistic. A strong and victorious Jewish state is a contradiction to the existing foundations of Christian theology. No person or nation in the world would fight for us; we have to take fate into our own hands, and we must not hesitate for a moment. The sooner the better.
For many years, Israeli leaders have struggled to explain to our Arab neighbors that Jews in Israel are not Crusaders from Europe on a religious mission, and they are certainly not tourists who, upon receiving travel warnings, go back to their “home countries.” Many Israelis have a sincere desire to live in peace with their neighbors, even at the price of strategic and security interests, but this is perceived as weakness or an inability to meet challenges. The many agreements and understandings that have been signed between Israel, Arab states and the Palestinian leadership are not worth the price of the paper on which they were written.
Repeated rounds of blows between Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip and the IDF have gone on for a long time. I have no doubt that the IDF has the operational and military capability to completely stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, and I say the sooner the better. The people are ready and the army is well-trained; the leadership just has to determine the right time.
If it turns out that the Israeli government accepted the cease-fire on a U.S. recommendation, contrary to the sense of many citizens in this country, we can only hope that at least Israel was smart enough to receive some exchange on dealing with the Iranian nuclear program. The solution to the Iranian problem, of course, also includes Hamas and Hezbollah.
Dr. Haim Shine
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