Once again, Israel finds itself reluctantly in a defensive battle against an enemy bent on our destruction. And once again, as predictably as the passage of time, we stand condemned by the nations of the world for defending our most basic rights, and Jews throughout the globe are haunted by riots and antisemitic attacks.To overcome these great and complex obstacles, we need mainly two things – clarity and courage - the clarity to know what is right, and the courage to act on it. As a nation, at least militarily, we often have clarity. Our problem seems to be with courage - true, strong, courage that can stand in the face of condemnation with the certainty of its truth.All too often, as a country and as individuals, we fear world opinion. Sometimes even before we consider solutions to our problems, our first question is – what will the world think? We are paralyzed by it or, at best, restrained because of it. We are a successful, independent nation, but we act as though we were in exile. We behave with a slave mentality like the Jews who left Egypt. In a way, this is understandable. We were slaves in Egypt for only over two hundred years and it took forty years of roaming the desert to eradicate the mentality. Now we have been exiled for over two thousand years, subjects of cruel and heartless host-societies that expelled and persecuted us relentlessly. We have lived with the thought – “what will the Gentiles think?” at our every turn. Now after only 67 years of being an independent state, how could we expect anything more? We still feel subjects of other societies. We have left the exile, but it has not left us. The fear of world opinion weighs heavy on our backs like the bricks and mortar of Egypt.While this may be justified, it can have devastating consequences. Because just as the Jews who left Egypt could not conquer the land with a slave mentality, we modern Jews cannot build our country and protect it if we are enslaved to world opinion. Luckily for us, the few generations that preceded us, on the heals of the Holocaust, had that courage. They felt entitled to fight for their land and stand up to the world for their right to it. Their courage got us here. But as the Holocaust fades from our memories and that of others, we seem to be losing our fortitude. The anti-Semitic backlash of late should remind us. It should demonstrate starkly exactly whom we are trying to please and exactly why we should feel entitled to defend ourselves. We should do so with clarity and we should do so with confidence.We are not the slaves in Egypt we once were. We are not the exiled people of a thousand years ago. We are here, back in our ancient homeland, thriving contributors to the world. Until we know that, until we feel it, we will not have truly returned. It is high time we mature, that we realize the miracle we are, that we stand proud of our accomplishments, and confident of our moral integrity. We have earned the right to do what we think is best and we should stand behind it with courage.The writer served as a professor at Yeshiva University and is the author of the best-selling book, Off the Derech, a ground-breaking study about why religious Jews leave Judaism. She now resides in Israel with her family.