To properly understand Israel's present predicament, one need only see the great joy with which Palestinians watched Israeli policemen remove the last of any security measures from the Temple Mount.
The jubilation, to be sure, has nothing to do with regaining free entry to the Mount, as this was never denied. The Palestinians are ecstatic over what they rightly perceived as the humiliation of their sworn enemy.
This is no small matter. Honor plays a vital role in Arab culture, and gaining honor ignites new hopes for the possibility of defeating Israel on all fronts. In other words, Israel's complete capitulation to the demands of the Temple Mount's Islamic overlords (known as the Waqf) has inspired multitudes of Muslims to escalate violence against Israel.
Israel's contempt for the notion of national honor, therefore, guarantees unrest, not peace.
Our modern, enlightened society in Israel has for some time now been ingraining in us the idea that honor and rage and vengeance are primitive traits. It's the very reason you don't see Jews engaging in a "day of rage" over the spilling of Israeli blood on the Temple Mount.
Jews are expected to show restraint and maintain quite, even as Muslims desecrate the one and only Jewish sacred place in the world. At the same time, we are expected to have understanding for Muslim rage, even when this rage is completely unjustified by any standard.
Sadly, the removal of security measures at the Temple Mount came on the advice of our "professional" army and intelligence, who supposedly ignore emotions and make their decisions purely in rational terms, as if this is at all possible in this region. Politicians, on the other hand, so the assumption goes, are emotionally driven, and therefore can't be trusted. Nevertheless, by accepting the advice, Netanyahu bears direct responsibility, and Israelis will not forget it in the next election.
The IDF even went so far as to justify the terrorist murder of a religious family from Neve Tzuf (Halamish), or so one can understand from spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, who said in lieu of Neve Tzuf massacre: "It must be understood that Friday prayer on the Temple Mound was not held for the first time since 1969, and in the Arab world this is perceived as something that can't be ignored."
Given the context, the IDF fully understands Arab rage, included the need to slaughter Jews. But no matter how hard Israel tries to quench human behavior driven by a sense of honor, it will never go away, and rightly so.
Commenting on Israel's behavior over the last week, Rabbi Haim Navon wrote: "National honor is an important thing for two reasons, it is a vital deterrent power. People who don't stand up for what's important to them are a people that will be despised by their neighbors … and more important, national honor contributes to the sense of identity and belonging, it is strengthening the national spinal cord."
If our leaders truly cared, they would have taken into account what would happen when honor is taken away from Israel.
From the story of the capturing the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4), we learn of the dynamics of Ichabod (dishonor in Hebrew). The parallels are striking: When Israel despises honor, it is taken away from them, and the consequences are terrible. "Glory [honor] has departed from Israel because the Ark of God has been captured."
The departure of honor, so the Bible tells us, brought not peace, but the exact opposite: "Israel fled from the Philistines and the people suffered a great defeat as well."
PHOTO: Israeli activists wearing Netanyahu masks symbolically bury Israel's honor (the sign on the coffin reads "National Honor"), thus opening the doors to our enemies. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90