THE question was one neither of the two Belgian politicians wanted to answer.
Nevertheless, Evan Davis, presenter of Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship current affairs program, asked it, something along the lines of,‘Could you live with the level of security that exists in Israel, the world’s most attacked country?’
Still numbed by the events of earlier that day – the suicide bombings atrocities at Brussels’ Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro station, killing (at the time of writing) 31 people and injuring hundreds – both local politicos murmured about it being too soon to discuss such extreme measures; the grieving must come first, so must the investigation into the carnage.
Emanating from a source like the BBC, with its long record of antipathy towards the Jewish state, the query itself begs scrutiny.
Was Davis inferring life for Belgians would be intolerable if they had to live like Israelis? Or was this some ambiguous compliment to Israel, where maintaining a siege mentality was such an everyday fact of life people just got on with the job of living?
Maybe – for the benefit of Europeans in general and Belgians in particular – a useful guide to how countries cope with adversity is found in the World Happiness Index, compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN, which has just published its 2016 report.
This lists Denmark as the cheeriest place out of 158 countries, with Israel coming 11th – seven slots above Belgium. And, for the record, the USA was listed 13th while most European Union countries barely scraped into the Top 20 (Britain came an embarrassing 23rd).
Clearly, then, it’s more than possible to live happily, even surrounded by foes intent on annihilating you, provided there is vigilance and a government which educates its citizenry to the sea changes in how the threats to their well-being mutate.
It has taken blood, sweat and tears over seven decades for Israel to hone its defenses to the sophisticated levels they are at, because the nation knows it dare not drop its guard for a moment in what is – by varying degrees – a perpetual state of war.
No such mind-set yet exists in Europe, which is why a dysfunctional country like Belgium – the provider of more recruits per capita to Mid-East terror-mongers than anywhere else in the European Union – is such a sitting duck for recruits from Islamic State (ISIS), which has claimed ownership of the Brussels bombings. Ditto the outrages in Paris last November, perpetrated by jihadis from Molenbeek, the Brussels suburb that's a haven for violent extremists.
The problem for the EU, not to say the 28 member states individually, is it fails to recognize or admit any comparison between its plight and Israel’s precarious situation.
We, claim the pious Europeans, are victims; Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian land, its ‘denial of Arab human rights’ and refusal to countenance a ‘two-state solution’ makes the Jewish state a pariah and therefore attacks against Israelis can be excused as an ‘understandable consequence’.
And while we, Europe insists, face the real and present danger of terrorism, Israel’s has issues only with ‘militants’.
Therefore ignore any lessons the Jew among nations can teach us about security and survival, just be true to our moral compass, however askew it is and however much our indigenous peoples rail against it.
So, as it mourns it growing death toll, the EU continues to live a pipe-dream, where no frontiers provide an open door to terrorists and the notion of unity is history, now rendered obsolete as the bloc’s entire edifice cracks under the strain of a floodtide of unsought immigration, naked self-interest and a financial virus that can’t be shrugged off.
Worse still, those in control of the EU’s rudder adamantly refuse to believe a war is going on within their borders – a bloody, resounding clash of civilizations between 21st Century values and the untold number of proponents of a 1,400-year credo, which can’t be appeased at any price except total submission.
No-one thought of that when the EU was conceived with the boast it would end centuries of internecine conflict and only prosperity would flourish.
So Europe remains mired in that default setting.
Hidebound by a sense of righteous political correctness, the EU’s rulers fiddle while Europe burns, locked in the delusion that those who seek its destruction will – in time – wake up to the bounties of freedom, opportunity and democracy the West offers, then gladly seize them.  
And one day pigs will fly.

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