It is so frustrating to read the almost daily reports of terrorist attacks in Israel. I can no longer see the pictures of the mothers, fathers and children who were killed smiling happily at the camera in family photos. They leave grieving families and communities behind. And what did they have to die for?
Any other country would long ago have defeated terrorism emanating from a hostile population at home. It is written in the Bible that a hostile population cannot be tolerated in one’s own borders. But Israel does everything but what is necessary.
This is also the reason why so many people voted for Itamar Ben-Gvir’s party in the last elections. He said what many think: we cannot live with the Arab Muslims (it’s different with the Arab Christians and the Druze).
The terrorists are recruited from the Arab population, you never know who will strike next. Whether he comes from a poor or wealthy family, it is ideology that drives an Arab to jihad.
But while the problem is obvious, many don’t want to see it. We try to fight terrorism with welfare, to deal with terrorist organizations as if they can be persuaded to lay down their arms and become farmers.
In addition, the Israeli security organs have set up an immense surveillance apparatus to prevent terrorist attacks by the Arab population. So many resources are used for this surveillance that one does not want to think how many attacks there would be without it.
The unsolvable problem
Unfortunately, the obvious solution isn’t workable, which only adds to the frustration. Israel has the military and financial means to relocate the Arab population, but the mere thought of such a move conjures up associations with Jewish history in Europe. “How can the Jews do to the Arabs what has caused them so much suffering?” Even if the situations are not comparable, deporting a population group feels wrong.
And even if an Israeli government had the courage to evict the Arab residents of Israel, Judea and Samaria, how would the world react? Israel would become even more isolated, and a war with neighboring Muslim states could not be ruled out.
In addition, the opposition in the nation would be huge. The same Israeli demonstrators who are demonstrating against the government today, including large numbers of IDF reservists, could call for open civil war.
So there is no solution to the problem and every Israeli government is just trying to keep the conflict under control. What applies to Judea and Samaria also applies to the Gaza Strip. Instead of defeating Hamas, rockets from Gaza are intercepted. There is a bomb shelter in every Israeli home. If you can’t solve the conflict, you can at least try to minimize the number of victims.
Israel continues to live in exile
If we have learned one thing from history, it is that we Jews cannot expect to live in peace and quiet. The Bible describes the conflicts of our ancestors. The kings of Israel were seldom able to bring peace and quiet to the land, and in exile we lived for centuries in constant fear of expulsion and pogroms, culminating in the Holocaust.
From that point of view, things are not so bad for us today. The number of dead is certainly much lower than at other times, and most of the time living as a Jew in Israel is very safe. There is no daily antisemitism in the workplace and one can openly live as a Jew.
And yet, the almost daily attacks break your heart. Unlike in the past, when we were virtually defenseless, we should today be able to defend ourselves. But perhaps we put too much hope in politicians to do what needs to be done to really solve our problems.
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