The gas central heating in my house started giving trouble recently.
The burner in the boiler section appeared reluctant to ignite and, no matter how many attempts I made to get it back into operation, its response was zero. It was only after some hours had passed that partial function was mysteriously restored and hot water, once again, started pumping its way through the system. The same stop-start sequence happened at intervals throughout the day.
Fortunately I had only last month taken out a maintenance contract and so was able to call upon the services of the power company to investigate. An engineer came the next day and, as luck would have it, found everything working as normal. He made a few checks, found nothing untoward and commented that, since most of the installation was at least 23 years old, perhaps, I should give some thought to replacing it with a more modern version.
Well, the problem returned shortly thereafter and I duly called the company again to request another visit. This time two engineers turned up and the malfunction happened while they were still on site. After more checks and much discussion, it was judged that nothing further could be done and that, given the age of the equipment, only replacement by a more up-to-date model could guarantee future trouble-free performance; this would not only result in much lower gas bills but, through the increased efficiency obtained, my gas consumption would then be much less of a contributor to global warming.
It seems to me that Israel is, more or less, in a similar position. It can continue to limp along with the same time-worn setup in place, accepting its deficiencies and shortcomings and stumping up the necessary outlay for the repairs and running costs that have always been incurred.
And just what are these costs?
- Thousands of lives have been lost so far; how many more there will be in the months and years ahead is anybody’s guess.
- The expenditure in defence procurement and personnel is never cheap at the best of times. This type of spending only seems to spiral ever upwards, inflated by whatever new or perceived threat exists.
- Revenues have to be earmarked for increased diplomatic activity, political manoeuvring, the promotion of various agendas and party lines. All these have their proper purpose but require due time and much financial wherewithal to implement.
- Then there is the expense of an expanding prison population and extra policing duties, the myriad precautions necessary for adequate security and the safety of the public in general.
- The toll on Israel’s reputation around the world increases as more and more repressive measures become the standard response to much of what happens.
- The Jewish soul or psyche, damaged by decisions taken in some haste but repented ever afterwards, cannot be salvaged except, perhaps, by a course of action totally at odds with precedent or past endeavours.
I can live with my (heating) problems for the time being as long as they become no worse. Can Israel keep on doing the same when ‘worse’ is the almost certain result and ‘costs’ must therefore rise even higher?
Sometimes a situation, too advanced in years to produce a favourable outcome, may be in need of a substantial upgrade in order to justify its continued existence and improve its cost-efficiency at the same time.