Prior to the Syrian civil war, it was highly probable that if you talked to any Israeli official or Israeli expert on the subject of Syria, you would hear such sound bites as “The devil we know”. As long as the Golan Heights remained quiet and secure, Israel had no reason to clean the dust of its neighbor’s bins. Borders are national concepts one learns at school, but in Israel, borders are existential realities.

After March 15, 2011, the devil very few people in Israel really understood suddenly appeared, glorious in his barbarism, to show, effectively, the world what many Syrians have known for over 40 years. “The devil we know” turned out to be “The devil few expected”. The extent of the Assad savagery co-existing on Israel’s borders, a country that rose from the ashes of Nazism, is a historical anomaly some visionary Israelis are beginning to question.

Such a dangerous regime proxy to an Iranian threat to match the Hitler madness era is inexcusable within the context of “The devil we know”, and, as far as I am concerned, any Israeli citizen repeating it going forward threatens his own country.

The Israeli society has had a kind of an awakening over the last three years. The feverish killing Syrians knew would happen if Assad unleashed his madness is matched only by the terror of the Islamist extremists meeting Assad on the battlefield. It is unlikely that Israel could simply ignore the residues of this spilling war.

Take Jordan for example, a friendly and peaceful country, which has been flapping in the wind under the weight of so many refugees (600,000 registered and many more are expected). Just imagine if the United States had to accommodate, legally, 10 million Mexican refugees every year with shelter, food, and clothing. That is approximately 27,400 mattresses every day for three years. It is a miracle that Jordan has not buckled under the weight of this tragedy, and credit its King for managing the Syrian crisis with such wisdom.

Some Syrian refugees, desperate to survive the civil war onslaught, found a solace in Israeli hospitals giving some of the best care in the region, if not the world. There have been hundreds of Syrians treated, if not thousands. Those we know of are Syrians who have come to accept Israel as a friendly neighbor and those we do not know about are deep in self-preservation mode considering Assad still rules Damascus.

Either way, Israeli care for helpless and impoverished Syrians not only has opened its eyes on the savagery of Assad and the extremists he needs to gain international support, but also it opened the eyes of the Syrian people on the fortitude of the Israeli society rudely awakened to the culture of the Assad death roaming freely next door.

Helping the Syrian refugees even attracted the attention of the IDF, whose soldiers have contributed to their well-being. Ms. Noga Erez, an IDF paramedic, received the President Medal for Excellence for her extraordinary work saving Syrian lives. Contrast this with Assad and Khamenei killing Syrians and Iranians, their own people, for no reason other than seeking to relieve themselves from their barbaric rule. I would imagine there is a Syrian somewhere writing a poem today whose title is “If injured …”

As Syrians deserve better than the terror of Assad and the Islamist extremists, Israelis deserve better than to live next door to the Assad and Nasrallah killing machines. Therefore, the next time you hear an Israeli politician or expert say “The devil we know”, think of all the Jews, prior to the eruption of World War II, who did not believe that humanity could be so cruel until they were forced on the Nazi trains of death.

There is no such thing as co-existing with violent rulers. It is like taming a tiger. Eventually, that tiger will shake you like a doll from a jaw grab to your throat.

No, Israel did not really know this devil.