The war. We are consumed by it. Our sons and theirs are dying; ours to protect us and theirs to kill us.

Sirens warning of missile and rocket attacks wail across Israel. Alerts of impending attacks interrupt Israeli radio and TV broadcasts. News on Internet sites and cellphones informs us of what is happening.

We are all in information tunnels filled with stories, unable to satisfy our need to know, pushed and pulled by fear and loathing, unable to escape the bondage of the unknown, like remaining at a horror movie because we want to know how it ends.

Like shoppers waiting for a sale, we crave good news and try to avoid the bad. Like addicts, we are driven by impulse, our instincts trying to measure details, the need to make sense of chaos. We join the fight in our imagination, breathing battle smoke in the careless breeze that swirls around us, clinging to reality.

It is not enough. It is too much. We try to balance what cannot be balanced, the scales always tipping against us, pain and grief weighed against survival, losses and wins, miracles and tragedies. War is a casino of life and death; we hope that we will come out with something in our pockets, with our hearts still intact, our minds still able to think.

Only the insane start a war; only the sane finish it. And even then, in victory parades and honors, we know deep down that it’s not over; enemies don’t disappear – they only change places, clothing, faces.

For us, and them, it is a holy war; our holiness against their holiness. Righteousness against Evil. If we do not win, they will slaughter us.

We cannot, we must not surrender, because this war is not ours alone.

Whenever this war against Islamic-based terrorism is over – and it will be over, sooner or later, for it must be won – historians will view what is happening now from a wiser perspective. They will observe a prolonged war of attrition, with many small battles, in many countries, against the forces of an expanding Islamist religious tyranny whose goal is total power, the destruction of Western civilization, America and Europe, democracy and, of course Israel.

Terrorist attacks against civilian populations and counterterror operations will be understood more clearly as replacements for conventional warfare. The Arab/Muslim crusade against Israel will be recognized as not being over pieces of land and Jewish communities (“settlements”), but the single-minded attempt to isolate, demonize and destroy the Jewish people living in Israel – once and for all.

Compromise and negotiation will be derided as the foolishness of venal and naive politicians, just as Islamic/Arab/Palestinian terrorism will be dismissed as self-destructive. In the end, the full weight of American and Israeli military strength and resolve will determine the outcome and shift political realities in the Middle East, at least in the short run.

Ultimately there may be a very limited form of democracy in some Arab countries, but they will remain authoritarian and tribal; nationality is not characteristic of Arab societies. Some resources will be used for nation-building, as part of a regional Muslim cooperative system, but any expressions of independence, tolerance and normality will be suppressed.

Myths of Muslim prowess, rather than true nation-building, have and will continue to obscure reality.

European countries will embark on massive programs to develop their own national consciousness, values and cultural identities to counter the influence of alien and separatist Islamic communities in their midst. Europeans will not allow their national character to drown in the undertow of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Native populations will coalesce around history and heritage and develop educational programs to promote this.

The Palestinian cause will continue to inflame anti-Jewish feelings, but it will be absorbed into the national struggles of other Arab countries against Israel as a way of diverting their own domestic crises. Their struggle against Israel will continue to drain into gang wars between petty tyrants and war lords. Palestinianism will remain a myth, powerful perhaps, but out of reach; inspiring at times, but practically a dismal failure.

The only hope that Palestinian militants have is that Israelis will be worn down, not by terrorism but by confusion and self-doubt, an inner self-destructiveness and self-hatred as Jews. From a psychological point of view, attempts to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself will be recognized as even more damaging at a societal level than terrorist attacks because they threaten Israel’s fundamental sense of unity and collective reason for being.

Violence against Israelis can be understood, even rationalized; terrorists can be called “freedom fighters.” But those who castigate Israel in the name of “human (Arab) rights,” who preach defeatism and despair, inflict wounds which are psychologically devastating. They argue not only that Israel cannot win, but that Israel should not win; that Jewish self-defense is not legitimate; that Israel as a state of the Jewish people must end and that its Jewish character must be destroyed.

Having entered the 21st century with 9/11, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the threat from Iran, confronting Islamist terrorism is the defining mark of Western civilization.

No other issue threatens our democratic way of life and our survival. No other threat challenges the values that we hold so dear and which we so often take for granted: the sacredness of human life.

Future historians will observe the emergence of an interrelated world community that stood up to the threat of terrorism and ultimately destroyed it. That will be the defining achievement of our generation, equivalent to the discovery of the New World, the destruction of Nazism, and the exploration of space.

Dayeinu

Had Hamas/Islamic Jihad not kidnapped and murdered three boys, we would not have gone into the Hebron area and arrested the terrorists

Had we not gone into Hebron and arrested the terrorists, we would never have found the tunnels there and learned about the threat from Gaza

Because of our actions, the terrorists in Gaza began to shoot missiles and rockets

Had they not shot missiles and rockets, we would not have gone into the Gaza Strip

Had we not gone into the Gaza Strip, we would not have discovered the extent of the tunnel system and we would not have captured any terrorists

Had we not captured the terrorists, we would not have known about the mega-terrorist attack planned for Rosh Hashana

Thank God

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