Reality check: Nothing defeats like Defeatism. A nation of defeatists does its enemies’ work for them.

The larger question here is the viability of the State of Israel. Is Israel a long-term prospect or will the Third Commonwealth be lost like the first two, this time due to a failure of the popular will to live?

The terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and all the other gangs are determined. They do not waver, equivocate, or vacillate. Is the Israeli public equally determined to endure?

The only way to deal with hateful, bloodthirsty terrorists is to speak to them in their own language – force – and hunt them down wherever they hide. The IDF must be given the green light to do its work, to strike the terrorists by land, by air, by sea. Not to punish them, not to make them pay a heavy price, not to decapitate their leadership, but to terminate them wholesale, top-to-bottom, and remove all traces of them from the face of the earth. It’s them or us.

These are not reasonable people you negotiate with. As a general rule, reasonable people tend not to join murderous terrorist groups.

Lately there’s been talk of vengeance in the air, so let’s be perfectly clear: Intentionally targeting civilians is never acceptable. There must be no acts of petty revenge and no vigilante justice whatsoever from the Israeli side. Only the IDF, sanctioned by the Israeli government, should act forcefully against the terrorists. If they do their job decisively, there will be no need for anyone else to lift a finger.

But act they must. The indecision and dithering of the Israeli government in the wake of the murders is deplorable. There is necessarily a time for deliberation, but when the time for action comes you stop thinking and do the necessary deed with determination.

This isn’t pleasant to contemplate for a peace-loving, life-affirming people. But reality is often unpleasant, and one can deal with reality or vainly attempt to escape it. Newsflash: The reality is not going to improve on its own. The terrorists are not going away by themselves. In case anyone’s hazy on this hard truth, understand that the terrorists are not going to suddenly and en masse abjure bloodshed in favor of crocheting, book clubs, or careers in stand-up comedy. Every Israeli needs to internalize this.

Long ago, the Sages knew well the reality of dealing with evil. Kohelet Rabbah tells it like it is:

כל מי שנעשה רחמן במקום אכזרי
סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel in the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate. (7:33)

Bottom line: Israel can act decisively against terrorists either sooner or later. The only difference is in how many more innocent Israeli lives are stolen between now and then. It is painful to think of just who has to die – how prominent a figure, how young a child, how many innocents – before it is utterly understood that tolerating terrorism prolongs terrorism.

The nation that does not adequately defend itself is the nation that surrenders its right to exist…and soon ceases to exist. Israel must stop giving terrorism the green light, and give the Israel Defense Forces the go-ahead instead.

May Israel’s leaders act with common sense, wisdom, courage, and strength. No less than the life of the Jewish state is at stake.