Europeans and North Americans are getting antsy. The uprisings taking place in Libya, in Tunisia, in Yemen, in Iran, in Iraq, in Bahrain, in Egypt, and in Algeria, are making residents of quartet nations uneasy.
It’s not enough that, for example, that Malmö, Sweden is garnering more of a reputation for violence than for shipbuilding or for medical research, and that a British Muslim cleric recently called on the President of the United States to either embrace Islam or to face punishment under Sharia law. More so, it seems to be the case that the oil barons, once more, are wagging other nations’ access to the greater part of global oil reserves under the chins of the greater part of other nations. Note that stories about Middle Eastern and African rebellions are often placed in written venues, or spoken in oral ones, alongside of stories about increasing gas prices. Accordingly, regular folk, people accustomed to comfortable living, have become afraid; they don’t want to have to alter their life styles.
So, the phone calls have begun. Looking not to fasten down relationships with, or to aid Israelis, but seeking, from Israelis, phantasms of reassurance, ordinary people, ones who usually disassociate themselves from the goings on of “remote” regions of the world, are acting on their worries. No longer is it enough for them to be media jocks seated in front of television or computer screens, half-attending to world news, especially to news of foreigners’ difficulties, before returning their minds to contemplating the next grocery shop, the next business transaction or the next PTO meeting Those legions now want to impact the events of our state, or to solicit from us the guarantee that they don’t have to do so.
They contact their friends and family, even their nominal associates, in the Holy Land and demand answers. Those others, for the most part, want us locals to prophesize that all will be well in Oz, once more. As was true before, is true at present; we Israelis watch and respond to the Arabs, to the Persians, and to the Africans in the same fashion as does everyone else; it’s just that unrest in this locality is more troubling to us than to the world’s bystanders.
Whereas this land is sacred to Hashem, Israelis are still obliged to do our histadlut. Although nearly all of our boys and many of our girls sacrifice at least their prime and, sometimes, even their lives, we are no more empowered to impact our neighbors, and, perhaps, even less so, than are the mighty nations situated far offshore.
Nonetheless, others implore us to do something, anything. Those outlanders demand to hear fabricated words about the safety, i.e. the stability of the Middle East, and about Israel’s ability to provide protection both for its citizens and for its allies.
We say nothing of that sort. While we want to be powerful, only The Boss controls outcomes. We can, and maybe ought to, however, ask why those others suddenly need to know that we Israelis are fine, that we Israelis will make the world safer than it might actually be, at this time, for Western civilization, and that any strengths we Israelis manifest will continue to manifested.
Consider that a lot of those others were on vacation, literally, and figuratively, during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, missing not only the conflict but also that the IDF experienced mounting casualties. They neglected to attend to the fact that Al-Jazeera reported on the details of the war, i.e. publicized the locations of Israeli fighters.
Similarly, few of our foreign acquaintances protested Israelis having to yield their sovereign territory in 2005 or protest, at present, their leaders pressuring us not to build homes for our people. Apparently, such concerns don’t tie into their need to affect gas prices.
Likewise, during the Gulf War of 1991, the conflict during which Israel was bid to sit on its hands while being bombarded, many of those residents of democratic nations, of societies based on Biblical teachings, muttered pity and compassion out one side of their mouths, while articulating relief, at not having to deal with the Islamic scourge, out the other. Today too, those others, if silenced with lullabies from our lips are happy to return to their complacent head games in which Israelis are alternatively and arbitrarily regarded as “good” or “bad” and in which those others take little or no culpability for Middle Eastern incidents.
In 1982, as another case in point, during the First Lebanon War: Operation Peace for Galilee, Israeli settlers had to defend their homes, their lands, and their existence, against Syrian terrorists. Then, as now, armchair warriors in other places either screamed for peace at the cost of Israeli lives or ignored the conflagration altogether. The Falklands War, Prince Williams’ birth and the faltering ERA seemed to make for more acceptable foci than did the possible demise of an entire section of Israel.
Whereas many Jews of Diaspora and their friends felt pride at the outcome of the Yom Kippur Way of 1973 and at the results of the Six Day War of 1967, few did more than don blue and white clothing or search for recipes for pita and falafel when those conflicts ended. Equally, the 1968 War of Attrition received less needed rhetorical or actual support than did the peace talks which followed. Historically, others have launched anti-Israel diatribes from around the world or have altogether ignored Israel’s security concerns.
As per the Sinai Campaign of 1956 and the 1947 War of Independence, the record shows that apathy, not support, dominated most lands’ stance toward the nascent modern State of Israel. With friends like that, we added to our enemies.
Today, simultaneous with us Israelis saluting the valiant deeds of our former heroes, both hidden and known, and with us praying that current happenstances don’t cause us to need more patriots, the world, or at least powerful portions of it, turns to us for succor. Its confounding that others have the audacity to force us to abandon our homes and our lives yet insist that we tell them we are still playing on their team or, that our team will fight the good fight, and succeed in that battle, all by ourselves.
It follows, therefore, that it’s not surprising that when Europeans and North Americans call us, not as government representatives, not as businessmen, but as plain folk in quest of comfort, we take umbrage. We Israelis have better things to do, like assuring that our kids survive to see the next morning, like reinforcing our national defense system, like praying past the point at which we though we could pray no more, than to hold those other hands.