A little personal story
My life, starting at the ripe age of 15, when I joined the Underground to liberate Israel from British occupation, was so full of challenging events that a month seemed like a year, a year seemed like a lifetime. From running way from British bullets when gluing pamphlets in the streets, to facing the reality that my young, beloved leader, Menachem Rivenbach, only 18, was just killed in a Lechi Underground operation. So much happened, so many friends lost, and so many emotions were buried in me since I could not share them with anyone. I was not alone with this isolation, since we knew that we could be the next one to go, our emotions were well-hidden, no external recognitions of personal loss. Even when the body of our murdered kibbutz friend was in a casket on the truck with us seating around it, we just made jokes.
And we just kept going.
In the Lechi underground, I was mostly alone, until I found my girlfriend, that is. I had to be quiet and unassuming to disappear in a crowd. No personal friends. Not outside, or inside Lechi either. Secrecy above all. Unlike military, we were alone with no release by shared experiences. Just a double life of lies. I was unable to share my story and especially feelings, with anyone. I was unable to tell the truth to any one, especially not to my own family. They must not know or I would be sent away like my brother was.
After spending four years in Lechi fighting the mighty British to liberate Israel - I spent a year at the Lechi border kibbutz, Neve Yair. We were close to the Gaza strip as well as to the established kibbutz Nirim. Arab terrorists murdered savagely three of our members, a few months apart. We got numb to death. On another occasion, coincidentally, when a bullet was shot towards my heart, a tall friend, Yaacov Avnery, was walking in front of me and got the bullet in his stomach since he was taller. Badly injured, he survived. I would not have. I risked my life to get him to the hospital, but that was standard to all of us. I barely thought about it, but when I do, I thanked him in all my heart.
Our small kibbutz was full of challenges, from security to lack of water, but especially for me since I was the only technical guy there. I enjoyed building the electrical system and repairing tractors. I enjoyed dancing nearly every night, until my legs almost gave up. I risked burning to death mounting phosphorus mines under the barbed wired fence since I did not trust anyone else to be as diligent as me. I slide slowly on my back, inch by inch, underneath the barbed wired fence, mounting these fiery mines one after another and activating them. I knew all the time where every part of my body was while I slided on my back not to ignite the mines. In addition to doing all the hard technical tasks nearly alone, I had almost no rest since I also had to guard during my time off.
But the toughest thing was being far from my girlfriend R. - (I missed her a lot, she visited but did not stay in the kibbutz since she was a city girl, desiring comfort that a new kibbutz was unable to give). So, eventually I left the kibbutz after a lot of soul searching. Our Lechi leader Itzhak Shamir (later Israel Prime Minister) asked me to return to the kibbutz. It was hard for me to refuse him since I admired him considerably, but I did not want to return. I then started to relax, with no need to look behind my back if someone was ready to shoot me, either British or an Arab. I was happy to spend some time with my girlfriend, teaching new Yemenite immigrants Hebrew and a new way of life, in a transition camp, a tent city.
And then I was called to military service, I joined the Israel Defense Forces, IDF.
Two months of IDF basic training taught me to take orders, which I did not like, and train others to safely throw live hand grenades. And despite all the discipline troubles I caused my sergeant, (we actually did like one another but he ordered me frequently to run around the training grounds with my gun in the air...) He wanted to send me to officer training, but I was tired of years of duties and did not look forward to committing extra years to military service and told him: thank you, but no.
I served in the Air Force late 1950- to early 52, just 18 months, a shorter service than normal because I got 6 months credit for my four years of Lechi service. I worked in Unit 206, the electronics unit. My huge base originally was Sarafend, later called Zrifim. It was peace time and in the beginning it was not too interesting, equipment maintenance and the like. However, one thing that made it enjoyable was the daily visit from my older brother Pinhas.
Pinhas was doing his officer training at that same huge base, and he felt that he was insufficiently fit physically. So, every day he run around that huge base and visited me on the way.
It was lovely to see him frequently especially after his years in a British prison and later in a British detention camp in Africa after he was arrested as a Lechi leader.
As time passed by, I was assigned to erect tall military antennas around the country. It was fun climbing a very thin 300 feet antenna without any safety belt, and calling friends from above as they passed below, not realizing where I was. I also had to change safety red light bulbs at the top from time to time. I was very careful, I would climb one-step at a time without safety belts, no one used them then, leaving one leg inside the tower structure, and so even if I lost balance, I would be stuck safely up there. Nothing bad ever happened. I learned to be very careful from sliding under the barbed wired fence in the kibbutz.
At other times, I maintained and operated short wave transmitters at several Air Force bases. With 24 hours on and 48 hours off, week, after week, I was busy. During my off periods, I had just enough time to earn money erecting home antennas for private people on Tel Aviv roofs. It was much safer than the IDF jobs. Eliezer Sirkis, a friend from Lechi, had a radio store a short block west of Magen David Square and gave me jobs from time to time erecting roof antennas. My Air Force salary was $4 a month, and it was not sufficient even for bus tickets to go home on vacation. So I used my BSA motorcycle to drive around and worked during my time off to pay for the expensive gasoline.
With all of these risky Lechi understood and border kibbutz life behind me I thought I was safe. Little did I know what was awaiting me in a quite shelter underground.
CLOSE TO DEATH
For several months, I worked at a radio communication station in a bunker at Ramat David, an Air Force base in central Israel . At that quiet base, at that peaceful time in Israel , I came closer to death than any other time in my life.
It was a long trip to the base from my home in Tel Aviv, but working there 24 hours on and 48 hours off was a good arrangement for me. An “Egged” bus would drop me three miles from the base and I would walk to it. As long as it was good weather, it was no trouble at all, especially with a tasty compensation along the way.
The walk to the camp was between lovely apple orchards, belonging to a nearby kibbutz. Many soldiers walked back and forth to the base that way and also liked fresh green apples. They were not bashful stealing them, neither was I. The kibbutz placed foot square green and red signs all along the path saying: “private property, stay off.” And these signs were enforced by five foot high wired fences all around the orchards. Luckily they did not use barbed wired on the top like the ones that surrounded our military bases.
I love fresh fruits and vegetables and I ignored both the signs and the fences and always took my illegal apples as I passed by. I would first check left and right to see that no one was around, and listen that it was quiet for a time. I would then climb quickly the unstable fence, and pick two apples and climb back fast. I knew a lot about fences. I had already build wired fences in our Lechi kibbutz, and even climbed once a ten foot barbed wired fence, which I survived with millions of cuts, so these apple fences were a child’s play to me.
I stuffed the apples immediately in my backpack that contained spare clothes, books, etc and proceeded to the base, my home away from home.
One time I went to the base, but almost did not return. I was so close to heaven, it was sheer determination that saved my life. It was nearly noon and I was eager for a thick cheese sandwich with all the trimmings. I brought with me: tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, all so fresh- it was picked last evening and brought to market in just a few hours. After smearing the olive oil on the thick slices of black Russian bread, I spread on slices of Feta cheese and vegetables on top, almost drooling with anticipation. Meals were very important events in this boring environment.
There was very little to do alone in these underground bunkers beside reading and studying. On that day, after studying mathematics for a time, I had to stop. I became saturated with numbers and equations. My best high school friend Naftali Vilensky and I were studying mathematics. We hired a private teacher together to help us prepare and I did my homework at the bunker. We were planning to go to the US to study electronics and thought that they were probably so advanced compare to us (since we were 5 years after high school) that we better be prepared. A year later, at the University of Washington , I found out I was so advanced compare to my freshman class that after a short time they moved me to a higher level.
For safety sake, we were supposed to work in teams at the underground transmission centers, but budget cuts had eliminated that a long time ago. We were solidly alone for the duration of the 24 hours shift. No one saw us or knew that we existed. Several times a day I had to change the transmitters’ operating frequency to improve reception at the various bases across the country. We changed frequencies by changing coils, taking one out and replacing it with a different unit.
The powerful 500-watt short wave transmitters were US made, 4 feet cube, boxy, and ominously black. On the front, they had several small lights; one of them -bright red- was especially important. That light indicated that the thousand-volt DC power, enough high voltage to kill you several times over, was on. It alerted us to the danger of possible electrocution when we opened the unit. And several times a day we had to open the top of the transmitters and replace a set of coils.
Another safety feature was wisely built in- a visible power switch. In order to change the coils I had to open a 10 by 10 inch door at the top of the unit to reach the coils. As I opened that little door I saw clearly a large 2-inch long, open safety switch. I could see that the power was interrupted when the door was open by the position of the safety switch. And to be safe I looked again at the front red light. It was dark- clearly off. I believed that all was safe and I started to replace the coil.
I inserted my right hand inside the unit, grabbed the coil inside and froze. I saw only black with some bright stars moving around. I was awake but unable to move at all. Just a piece of granite, for all practical purpose. But something was still alive in me, my brain. I knew that high-level electricity, especially if crossing the heart from my hand to the ground, froze the muscles and thus I had negligible time to act, or die.
I ordered my body: "PULL, PULL, PULL, YOU MUST BREAK THE CONNECTION!" "DO IT NOW."
But my muscles were frozen by the one thousand volt going through me.
As electronic technician I was always careful with electricity, almost always wore rubber-soled shoes for insulation from electricity. I never wore a ring or other metal things on my fingers, to reduce likelihoods of electrocution. And luckily then, I was standing on a thin rubber mat. But none of it helped enough then.
I pulled and pulled with the last strength in my muscles. Nothing.
Finally, my determination broke my frozen state and I pulled my right hand away from the coil with the infinitely small strength I still had.
I have no idea how long it took, but it had to be in milliseconds otherwise I would not be alive. I did not feel any damage or pain. But I did not wait, I was not sure I was really ok so I ran up the concrete stairs to the ground above, saw the beautiful sunlight, breathed my lungs full again and again and said to myself loudly: “I am alive, I am alive!”
A few soldiers passed by looking at me and my strange exhilaration. One of them asked me, are you ok? You seem so white?
I wanted to tell him: if you just knew. But I told him, everything is fine. I could not explain what happened. They would not understand.
I sat on the entrance at ground level, looking around and continued to smile.
Wow! That was a close one.
Finally, after enjoying the beautiful day for a time I went back down and as I approached the door to the transmitter room, I saw again the big sign on the door:
IF YOU LOVE WINE, WOMEN AND SONG, BE CAREFUL, ELECTRICITY CAN KILL YOU.
I saw it many times before, but this time I did clearly know what it meant.
I felt then like killing the bastard who modified the safety switch. If he were there then I would have loved to give him a test of my 1000-volt DC.
I never found that idiot.
To understand the Israeli/Palestinian “conflict” we need to take a longer view.
It is amazing, in her 1975 autobiography, Prime Mminister Golda Meir still did not yet fully understand the Arabs and especially the Palestinians. That was two years after her failed leadership of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when she and her military leaders belittled the Arabs and did not prepare for the war, nor make a preemptive attack that could have reduce Israeli casualties significantly. Israel barely won, almost by a miracle. In her autobiography, she grudgingly acknowledged the continuous, century long murdering of Israeli Jews by Palestinian Arabs, but she could not yet accept that most Palestinians want the Israelis out of “their own land”.
Golda Meir, Ben Gurion and their Labor associates were outstanding people, dedicated, honest, hard working, loved Israel to their core, but their idealism produced some serious blind spots. That is human nature; you cannot be an idealist and not sometimes ignore serious realities. However, it is also dangerous. You must open your mind to opposing views, as hard as it is.
In other respects, the Labor movement of Ben Gurion was wise, and bought as much land across Israel and established small Jewish communities there to have “facts on the ground” - that is, Jewish presence in every possible area. The “nationalists” on the other hand, did not realize then how important was this spread of Jewish communities all over the map.
Before WWII, the “nationalists” leader Zeev Jabotinsky warned Jews around the world that the Arabs wanted the same land and to prepare to take it by force. In addition, that the British would not give it to the Jews as the League of Nations mandated. Jabotinsky supporters started training young Jews in Poland for the future Israeli military force. WWII stopped it suddenly. Labor treated him as a traitor because their socialist leadership continued to believe in “the brotherhood of the working man,” believed that the Palestinians would be glad to be equal citizens in a Jewish State. Labor also believed that the British eventfully would give the land to the Jews, as promised.
These two opposing views led to hatred that has been simmering almost to this day.
According to Golda, Ben Gurion finally grasped Jabotinsky’ warning a decade later, 1946, and realized Israel’s lack of preparation for the inevitable war with the Arabs. A grave delay. If Ben Gurion grasped earlier who is the real enemy, Israel would have been better prepared militarily for the Arab invasion. Israel could have taken most/all the land west of the Jordan in 1948, saved many Jewish and Arab lives and established “facts on the ground” that would have been accepted by the world. Note that during the 1948 Arab-initiated war, Israel increased its land way beyond the ridiculously small UN suggested borders. In addition, it became Israel’s new expanded borders.
I was there, guarding the border near Petach Tikva in 1947-8. We were so ill equipped and untrained that the Arabs could have come in with ease and finish all the village before any one would have grasped it. Israel won the war of Independence partially due to Arab’s stupidity than our wisdom or capabilities. Most Arabs were good fighters, but their leaders worthless.
The main error by the ruling Ben Gurion Labor Party then, was their rejection of opposing views/facts that they did not like to accept because the Nationalists, their “enemies”, offered them. If these Left and the Right parties knew how to listen to one another and lead in a coalition together, Israel would have benefited immensely.
Historically Jewish internal hatred and struggle caused us many serious failures.
Now, let us accept current reality: the Israelis claim that Israel, at least west of the Jordan, is their historic and current land, but grudgingly may accept a peaceful, demilitarized Palestinian state on a portion of it
—however, the majority of Palestinians want ALL THE LAND and no Israeli state whatsoever.
Simply put, both the Israelis and Palestinians want the same piece of land.
In addition, since the Arab initiated many wars against Israel, murdered close to 30,000 Israeli Jews, it is about time for Jews to recognize that the Palestinians are the clear, unambiguous enemy of Israel.
That does not mean you may not eventually make peace with your enemy, but first accept that they want everything possible from you, most of all your destruction, to get their goal.
It is not just a few Palestinian’s terrorists that have been attacking Israel. In addition to the Arab-initiated full wars of 1948, 67. and 73, thousands of Palestinians attacked Israeli civilians for over a century. In addition, they had immense amount of local supporters, often-full villages: to conduct attacks you need many dedicated supporters. I was in the Israeli underground fighting to liberate Israel. We relied on many supporters that risked their lives and livelihood to help us fight the British. Numerous polls by Palestinian universities clearly show that the majority of Palestinian civilians support Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians to achieve their goal of controlling all the land west of the Jordan. They say it in Arabic constantly, and certainly demonstrate it by rockets attacks from Gaza.
The so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority –PA- of Abbas’s West Bank, is no different, they just talk differently in English. In Arabic they continue to educate every man, woman and child, in schools, print and TV media, children camps, to destroy Israel. They do not attack Israelis very often because Israeli security forces are there when danger is expected.
Arabs have time on their side; they have long history of successful waiting. They have proven correct since several ignorant Israeli leaders offered to them more and more to induce the Palestinians to switch from terrorism to peace. Once Israeli leader offers a concession, it is a base for the Palestinians for demanding additional concessions - from that time on. The Israelis have been poor negotiators.
The Israelis are finally learning the Arab’s reality and are now waiting for the Palestinians to come to the table.
I would not expect any movement towards peace from the Palestinians in the near future. The turmoil in the greater Middle East is affecting them too. Any one who thinks the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is in the center of the Middle East internal, brutal wars is injecting his/her emotions into the equation.
Remember-- A quarter of a million civilians have been murdered in Iraq in INTERNAL sectarian wars; and close to one hundred thousands in Syria. I wonder if the Palestinians are actually happy that their struggle is with the Israelis. If their struggle were with their own “brothers,” many Palestinians would have been murdered in their own internal wars by now, as happened when Hamas so brutally took over the control of Gaza just a few years ago.
The Palestinians are not in the center of Arab interest. In addition they often hate one another deeply and peace with Israel is far from their mind- no matter what they say publically. Much of their struggle is an internal struggle for power and wealth. Billions of dollars disappeared from the immense amount of global monetary support for the Palestinians, money that could have helped them to have a better life that they should have.
The atrocities that the Syrians, both government and rebels, are committing on their “brothers”, Muslim civilians, women and children, are hard for us to grasp- read below NYT. They murdered and mutilated women and children on purpose, not by accident! Just think, if the Arabs could have defeated Israel - they would have decimated the Jewish population, may be even the Muslim-Israelis too, if they did not like them.
Syria and Iraq internal wars are religious wars where Muslims of one belief often wants to ethnically cleans people with a different Muslim belief or a threat to their political/economic power.
They hold no prisoners! Sadly, life means very little to them.
This is the dilemma facing Israel constantly: how much to reducing its security in the interest of peace with ALL the Palestinians. Most Israelis would like true peace even if they get just a part of the land promised to them. But when Israel left all of Gaza almost no one expected that the Gaza population would so fully support rocketing Israeli civilians at will. Gazans attacked Israel with ten thousand rockets of all types to date! If most of the Arabs there wanted it to stop, they could do it.
The Israelis were deeply mistaken that they could retake Gaza in case of severe militant attacks. Same way with the 2 states proposal. The Palestinians there can lie as in Gaza: “it is not us that is attacking you; these are groups we have no control on.” And the world, who generally is anti-Israeli= anti-Semitic, buys it and condemn Israel measured response.
Now and for the near future, until the Palestinians stop their full anti- Israeli education, hateful Nazi-like media, and government and public support of terrorism and the elimination of Israel, no 2 States Solution is possible.
Look at the map, the West Bank leaves just a narrow 9 miles Israeli neck between the commanding Palestinian hills and the Mediterranean Sea. Rockets from there could stop much of Israeli life. Israel must look for its own long-term safety first and foremost.
A visiting groups of American generals said that it is impossible to defend that setting and Israel must not accept the previous 1967 borders.
Once Israel leaves the Palestinian West Bank, that is it - no coming back. Even under continuous barrage of rockets into the main Tel Aviv region, the center of Israel population-an independent Palestinian state claiming innocence will get worldwide support. Only limited and ineffectual Israeli response would be possible- exactly like in Gaza.
A militant West Bank Palestine could be so much worse than Gaza. Gaza is only 141 square miles; The West Bank is 5860 sq. miles, 42 times larger!
The Gaza border with Israel is 32 miles, the West Bank about 700 miles, 22 times longer. (Not including the back side facing the Jordan- additional problem)
Think about the danger to all Israeli regions. It is a very small country: twenty Israel’s can be dropped into California. So to demand a 2 State Solution in the near future is a dangerous, very dangerous mistake.
1. Hamas Orders Rockets In Judea and Samaria
Israel has determined that the Hamas regime was establishing an infrastructure for missile and rocket production in the West Bank. The Israel Security Agency determined that Hamas ordered cells in the West Bank to manufacture missiles and rockets. ISA said Hamas operatives were led by a Palestinian attorney and based in the Ramallah area. "Communication between Hamas operatives in Gaza and the members of the terror network was carried out via e-mail and the use of disposable cell...
2. An Atrocity in Syria, With No Victim Too Small
By ANNE BARNARD and HANIA MOURTADA
A massacre that revealed new depths of depravity and routine video footage showing lurid violence have made the prospect of stitching the country back together appear increasingly difficult.
"Subconsciously (and sadly) the Muslim-Turkish thinking tolerates it if Muslims kill Muslims; does not tolerate it but does not turn the world upside down when Christians kill Muslims; pragmatically ignores it when too-powerful Christians kill Muslims; but is programmed to turn the world upside down when Jews kill Muslims." (Hurriyet-Turkey)
I was standing by the Registrar Office of the University of Washington when my beloved math professor saw me and asked: “What are you doing here Matania?”
“I am finishing some papers, I am graduating soon,”
“So now you know everything.” she said.
"No," I answered, “Now I know how little I know.”
She nodded her head in approval and said: “ Now you are ready to graduate.”
From there I went to teach electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and when I stood in front of my first class of 30 arrogant, rich, but smart students, I realized knowing is not everything.
Despite my considerable knowledge, (you don’t get to be a teaching assistant at MIT otherwise), I stood with my mouth open not knowing what to say. How can I transfer this inspiring knowledge to these undergraduates?
It did not take long and they learned, despite themselves. And their reviews of my performance was very satisfying (all instructors had to get one from the class).
For a dozen years, from the start of the “Second Intifada” I have commented on the Israeli situation. What I write is not what I want to happen but what I understand was and is happening. Many of you responded, some with approvals, some with anger, I answered each of you.
I want you to see my background so you realize, I hope, that I do not just express opinions just for the fun of it. I study the subjects, I read, I think and I write what make sense to me. Again, it is not what I want to happen, but my assessment of the situation..
So keep commenting and let me know your views. I will answer each of you.
Professional Background of Dr. Matania Ginosar
Matania Ginosar is an Environmental Scientist & Electrical Engineer. His experience and education have been result-oriented, practical, and hands-on, creating effective solutions to complex problems. His experience covers a wide range of fields: advanced electronic design, R&D, manufacturing, teaching, air pollution, organizing political pressure on Congress, and developing alternative energies. He developed innovative digital field communication for the military, and forecasted technological advances with high accuracy, cutting unwise projects, setting new directions.
His concentration in the last 7 years is on the impacts of Climate Change. He comments on Climate Change at: www.ginosaronglobalwarming.org
• D. Env - Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering, UCLA.
• M.S. Engineering (Management). Engineering Executive Program, UCLA.
• Teaching Assistant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
• M.S. Electronic Engineering - University of Washington.
• B.S. Electrical Engineering - University of Washington.
Some of his Experience:
• Developed and directed the pioneering wind energy program of the California Energy Commission that led to the first commercial wind energy farms in the world.
• Directed the Solar Energy Office, California Energy Commission, concentrated on high-impact, cost-effective solutions.
• Manager R&D electronic systems.
• Manufacturing Manager, seismic equipment for oil exploration.
• Manager, Techno-Economic Dept. Evaluated key projects of a large company.
• Assessed Israel’s wind energy potential for Israel Electric Corp.
• Consultant to corporate managements.
• Hands on: Mechanic, construction, electrician, farming, military service.
• Israeli Freedom Fighter, twice political prisoner, founding member of kibbutz
Some of his achievements:
• His analysis and discussion convinced California Air Resources Board to tighten air pollution standard.
• Wrote & lobbied CA Legislature for a bill for mass use of wind energy, first in the world, it was enacted.
• Constructed electrical system for a small community.
• Designed underwater communication system for the U.S. Navy.
• Conceived & Directed pioneering Wind Energy Resource Development in CA.
• Lectured extensively on wind energy, including overseas: an IEEE conference and the Haifa Technion.
• Advised CA legislators on several alternative energy bills.
• Advised key US Senate staff on climate change & alternative energy.
• Developed economic analysis of large-scale wind systems in CA.
• Evaluated potential environmental impacts on land by spent oil-shale.
• Developed methodology for setting primary ambient air quality standards for sulfur pollutants.
• Exposed political bias & controversy over CA outer continental-shelf oil.
• Developed statistical digital circuit design, cut costs by 80%.
• Pioneered advanced military digital communication getting many contracts.
• Wrote extensively about Middle East security developments.
• Advised several corporate managements on the developing digital age.
• Lectured widely on advanced electronics.
• Analyzed family planning in China, and population trends in the Middle East.
• Directed, pro bono, for nine years, the development of grassroots pressure on Congress to reduce nuclear weapons.
• A long-term student of effective human interactions, & motivation.
Praise for Dr. Ginosar:
". . . Matania is extremely broad technically and utilizes his wide range of experience . . . to solve difficult problems having complex interrelationship of a multitude of parameters and factors . . . As a result of his ability to forecast trends, his thorough coverage of the problems and potential solutions and his ability to sell his ideas, the majority of his recommendations were accepted by top management and implemented."
J.Harding, V.P. Engineering, Litton Data Systems Division. (with 500 engineers)
"Without your technical assistance, it would have been impossible to develop . . . an effective state wind energy program."
California Assemblyman H.J. Mello
"You have designed one of the neatest, closely honed, and most useful packages for organizing a political action network I have ever seen. . . in my 30 years of wide range of political activities. . . . I have seen political actions kit materials before. None that I have seen, however, can touch a candle to yours. The simplicity, clarity, readily adaptable utility, and a host of other truly subtle design features, in my estimation, bring your material up to the level of an art form. . . ."
Arthur J. Hessburg, Consultant to Peace organizations & Senior VP, General Counsel, Century Life of Americ
If the Jews had not built the modern state of Israel, the Middle East would have been peaceful, cooperative, modern and would have the advantages of Europeans nations: an adequate standard of living, free election, women equality, democracy, and no wars between Muslim nations. Iran and Iraq would not have gone to war that killed more than a million people. Sadam would not have conquered Kuwait. The Civil war in Lebanon would not have killed over a 100,000 civilians. Hafez of Syria would not have wiped off Hama with 20,000 of its people, and his son would not murder 60,000 civilians to stay in power. And a quarter of a million civilians would not be murdered by the Shiite Muslims vs. Sunnis terrorism in Iraq. You know the story.
If you think this is just amusing, you are mistaken; many Europeans leaders and their people believe that Israel is the cause of most of the trouble in the region. And sadly many kind hearted, idealistic Americans think the same as the Europeans.
In reality the Arab world did not have a Spring Revolution, where individual freedom, women equality, peaceful coexistence and parliamentary elections could have led to Democratic countries and a better life. Sadly, for the foreseeable future the Arab world will continue to be what it has been for hundreds of years; undeveloped, primitive, suspicious, governed by powerful leaders, and dominated by religious fanaticism.
The reasons are basic: The Muslim religion has Sharia laws: obedience to powerful leaders, individuals are not important, human life is not valued. Education is limited to men, and mostly religious, and modern education is opposed. Women are essentially the property of their fathers or husbands. Much of the population is dirt poor, such as half of the 84 millions in Egypt who lives on $2 a day. Most of the Arab population wants strict Sharia laws to govern the lands In addition, a century ago Brittan and France divided the region to artificial nations composed of tribes who hate one another for untold centuries. All of these make the Arab world unstable and miserable for most of its population.
Up to now Israelis were mostly lucky. If you can call luck all the wars, terrorism, and hate the world has been directing at them for so many decades. And they feel keen pain when even their brothers can not grasp the extra ordinary effort they have made all their existence to find peaceful coexistence in the fanatic Middle East. But Israelis made mistakes, signing the 1993 Peace Accord was the biggest Israeli error of all times because it permitted Arafat and Abbas to systematically and effectively radicalize the Palestinians. Leaving Gaza illustrated the fallacy of giving land for peace, and allowed Hamas to acquire legitimacy and bomb Israel at will. In their idealism, the Israeli helped their enemies to flourish.
I don’t envy the new Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Israel has no influence on the turmoil in the Arab world. How could he plan Israel response between unstable and massive Egypt governed by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood demanding strict Sharia Laws in the south, militant Hamas in Gaza, Hizbullah from the North- assisting Basher al-Assad in Syria to kill innocent civilians, unstable Jordan- which depends on Israel for its external security, and nuclear Iran’s militant religious leadership. I hope he and Israel will have the capabilities and luck too. That is, that the Arabs will continue to hate one another more than they hate Israel.
The Israelis are very capable, but, don’t think that they are so smart and so strong, that they can take on all the atrocities the Arab world could throw at them.
Israelis want peace. Judaism has thought me to pursue peace, but also be pragmatic, recognize facts, and not wear rose-colored glasses. And most critical: to support my brothers in their time of need, when the Israelis are facing one of the most dangerous future in their short existence.