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A moment of truth is upon us

ISRAEL has arrived at a historic fork in the road. Choices, very, very hard, one could say existentially important choices are looming ahead. Only one thing is certain. The post 1967 status quo is NOT sustainable. Anyone who denies that simple truth staring us in our faces is out of touch with present day reality.

Over the past almost eight months it has become evident that established policies, political, military and diplomatic, have proven to be a massive failure. Those advocating the status quo, or even worse, would condemn Israel to gradual deterioration and decline. By association, the status quo will relentlessly and it seems unavoidably act to damage the status and life circumstances of the millions of Jews whose lives are outside of the boundaries of the State of Israel. History, even recent modern history, serves up abundant examples – both Jewish and non-Jewish related – to prove these points.

To remain in denial of what is happening right in front of our eyes is to play into the hands of those who seek to have the Jewish State, our Jewish State, destroyed. To believe that Israel can thrive, maybe even survive in its present form over the long term, by turning itself into an isolated outcast of international society, is nothing short of delusional. Minister Smotrich feels himself free to pontificate about us not being just an extra star on Old Glory. Reality is that Israel would find itself without the necessary supplies to defend itself if the US decided to take Smotrich at his word and pulled the plug.

At the very same time as various ministers describe the war as an existential one, Israel is ruled by an administration whose mouthpieces, in and out of government, have spent the past several decades relentlessly working to destroy national consensus, to split Israeli – and as a sideline, Diaspora – society asunder. Sadly, this seems to be the solitary policy in which they have succeeded, even beyond their wildest dreams. They have failed to maintain the coherence and solidarity of society. They have failed to maintain the IDF’s capability to present effective deterrence to our enemies. They have failed to safeguard and enforce the foundational principle of national service by all being an obligatory national duty for all.

From a self declared status as the guardian of Diaspora Jewry, Netanyahu’s regime has managed to turn itself into a liability. From a hot house of Jewish life and culture, tolerant and celebrating all and every strain of our rich, varied and historic heritage, a determined portion of the nation, largely unproductive and hostile to Zionism, is openly seeking to establish a theocracy forced upon everyone. From a country and a state originally created as a bulwark against anti-Semitism, racism and murderous hatred of Jews, we now have a growing, frequently violent, openly racist, supremacist and exclusionary segment of the nation seeking nothing less than to  deride, divide, segregate, prosecute, harass and oppress in numerous ways those citizens who are not Jews and those who are, by their reckoning not the right kind of Jews. Physical violence and legislative subjugation included.

This could well transform a country of Aliyah, into one of yordim … except those leaving, or planning to, will no longer consider themselves as “those who go down”. Quite the opposite, in fact, which is about the saddest thing one can say about Israel today.

Difficult choices lie ahead. Unavoidable choices. US Secretary of State Michael Blinken  offered a perfect summary of the situation we find ourselves in: “In the absence of an  Israeli plan for the day after, there won’t be a day after.” Blinken is an example of a Jew who has managed to stay in touch with reality.

As I said at the start of this article, and it’s worth repeating over and over again, there is a daily avalanche of proof if any were needed, that the status quo is NOT sustainable. The making of  choices, some of which may be very, very difficult and even risky, looms directly ahead. Making them is unavoidable. It is a sign of a strong, enduring, confident society when short term risks are accepted for the sake of realistic, long term success and viability. One may only hope and pray that Israelis make the right choices. For the sake of Israel’s viable  existence, coherence and, let’s be unflinchingly honest about this, for the sake of us all in the Diaspora, as well.

NOTE! Just some of the strategic facts on the ground confronting us eight months into this war:
* The South Lebanese Buffer Zone of the late 90s has been shifted south, into Northern Israel.
* The Security Zone inside Gaza, alongside the border fence, has migrated to the Israeli side.
* Similar efforts by the Palestinians are now under way in the center of the country, just a few kilometers from Netanya and Tel Aviv. Daily shooting incidents from the West Bank, literally just across the road in numerous places, are now seemingly the norm and the IDF can’t even spare a company of troops for basing in Emek Hefer.

About the Author
Lived and worked over the decades in Sydney, London and Budapest. Happily settled in Vienna, family on four Continents. My heart is in and with Israel - the nation and the original idea, not the current situation. A lifetime (1965-2003) of professional journalism behind me, both in the Jewish (Acting and Assistant Editor) and mainstream media, both printed/online and radio. Covered and reported on stories, wrote editorials, conducted interviews with Prime Ministers and other power brokers. Filed reports, cultural reviews, opinion pieces from every continent, except Africa. First Jewish publication staffer ever to interview the PLO's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Reported from Olympic Games in Munich, Montreal, Lake Placid, Torino and Sydney. Active over many years in Jewish communal, Maccabi and Hakoah sporting activities, Maccabiah Games, Jewish Board of Deputies and Zionist Federation of Australia work as well as Center Right/Liberal Conservative politics in Australia. Served on State level committees, as a pre-selector and Branch Treasurer. Campus newspaper editor and activist at the NSW University of Technology.
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