I can’t help but miss an Israel I am too young to have known.
It was 39 years ago that the current Prime Minister’s brother Yoni died leading the operation that rescued 100 hostages from a mixture of Palestinian and German terrorists as well as Ugandan army soldiers.
Perhaps the differences between terrorists then and now have their roots in that operation. Whereas once terrorists took hostages to barter over, now they take hostages to behead. Perhaps operations like the raid on Entebbe ensured terrorists had to change their tactics. Whereas once a plane was hijacked and landed somewhere, now they are hijacked and turned into flying bombs. When elite units turned storming aircraft into an art form, terrorists went right ahead and flew them into buildings.
When it was too hard to be a terrorist and live to tell the tale terrorists bragged that they wanted to die as part of their operation.
Now even the use of the word “terrorist” is frowned upon. According to the guidelines issued by the BBC:
“The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should convey to our audience the full consequences of the act by describing what happened. We should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as “bomber”, “attacker”, “gunman”, “kidnapper”, “insurgent”, and “militant”. We should not adopt other people’s language as our own; our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom.”
Then a terrorist was a terrorist. We might not have been able to define them before the event but we knew them when we saw them and weren’t afraid to say so.
What I’m nostalgic for is the Entebbe resolve. An Israeli government that willing to send her most elite commandos to the very limit of the range of her newest, most sophisticated transport aircraft to an uncertain future. Furthermore we had not one but two Prime Ministers ready to put up with the wrath of the civilised world in order to prevent two different countries from building the most powerful weapon mankind can create.
And now I watch, along with you. I watch the Prime Minister, the brother of the commander killed 39 years ago on that night in Entebbe berate the world for negotiating with Iran. But he isn’t really berating, he’s begging.
He asks for their permission because he doesn’t have what it takes to act. He berates them because he doesn’t have the strength to defy them, he complains about the burgeoning power of Iran because he doesn’t have the strength to check them.
I’m nostalgic for an Israel who attacks her enemies, not an Israel who toys with them. An Israel who can stand up, confident in her own strength. An Israel willing to do what is necessary to protect herself and her people. An Israel who speaks through actions rather than an Israel who speaks constantly but says nothing.
Yeah. I’m nostalgic for those Entebbe days. For leadership willing to act. And perhaps for a Netanyahu who is the embodiment of everything I miss.