Our battles with Déjà vu: when will the world learn?

Instead of letting history constantly repeat itself, lets finally learn and identify the signs and patterns emanating from the “calmness before the storm”- that is the perpetual eruption of the Israeli/Arab conflict. Israel, time after time, has had the innate ability to win each existential war it faced in times where hope seemed all but lost. But, are times changing? Is Israel letting international political influence deter it away from its core and unquestionable values?

Israel has always put its security and protection of its citizens above anything else, and rightfully so. History has provided the Jews and Israel with much reason to question any assumed threat, whether serious or not, in a “finger on the trigger” type manner. This type of sensitivity, as much as it may be frowned upon around the world, has shaped and sculpted Israel to what it is today.

As Menachem Begin once adamantly stated, “When an enemy of our people says he intends to destroy us, the first thing we have to do is to believe him. People did not believe Hitler. The Arabs say they want to destroy us, and so we must believe them. We must seize the initiative and destroy their armies first.”

This was stated prior to the six-day war. Presently, as was the issue in 1967, the US and the international community attempted to use diplomacy as a measure to prevent an all out war. This may have lead Israel to its destruction had they not preemptively attacked, as what history will remember as the six day way. However, in the midst of the Yom Kippur war it was our weakness and failure to act accordingly that delivered us an almost irreversible blow.  Instead of trusting our strict survival instinct, we put faith in others political/diplomatic ploys. We ignored the intelligence, OUR intelligence, no matter how sufficient or insufficient it was. We put more emphasis into trying to appease the international community than paying attention to the patterns and signs of our enemy, as we did in 1967.

We ignored and forgot Menachem Begins wise, and all so relevant words. We ignored our own chief of staff General David Elazar recommendations of a preemptive strike, all because we let fear guide us. It was fear of not having support from the international community, fear of being left alone. The bigger question that should be asked, is when were we ever not alone? Golda Meir, the prime minister at the time feared that if we struck first, as was done in 1967, then the US would be angered and Israel would lose support. Due to this indecisiveness and weakness, Israel lost a whole generation of her people. We let history repeat itself then and we suffered greatly. However, as we all know our nation, our people bounced back and we prevailed.

״In our neck of the woods״ – the Middle East – showing weakness is not an option. “The Jew bows before no man, but G-d.” Another statement by Menachem Begin that will always stick with me, and is as relevant today as it was back then. Throughout history the Jews and Israel have been constantly tested, whether it is because “we are the chosen people” and are held to a high standard or simply put, the world just doesn’t like Jews. The media and the world have allowed themselves to be manipulated by the terrorist organization Hamas, and blatantly ignored the facts on the ground. Somehow, these naïve and ignorant minded people bestow upon these savages and heartless beings a feel of empathy and sorrow. Some have even gone so far to call them “freedom fighters”.

Unfortunately no matter what factual evidence is provided, no matter what Israel will do, that constant magnifying glass pointed at Israel will always loom. Every justification that there is will fall on deaf ears. By the time people care or retract their position, calamity would have struck and near destruction will already have fell upon the Jews as we saw during the Holocaust. Jews failed to react, the world failed to react and due to the incompetence and inept ability to see all the necessary indications, we as a people nearly suffered extinction. For some reason we live in a world today, or maybe always have, where we wait and sit silent. We seem to only learn by the blood of others.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” These words by Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor, should be seared into everyone’s brains. We can never forget our humanity and never forget to speak up and act when time calls for it.

What we see today around the world is no different to how things began more than half a century ago. The rise in anti-Semitism is reminiscent of those dark and horrific days, which should raise the red flags for Jews everywhere. History is knocking again at our door and it constantly will. This is the world we live in, we live in a world where good vs. evil is not some fantasy story, but a reality. There comes a point where we need to call a spade a spade and disregard political correctness. The enemies on our doorstep are radical Muslim ideological savages that live by the sword and die by the sword, and have no regard for human life. That is how we need to treat them and that is how we need to negotiate with them.  Diplomatic/political insertion has been useless and only caused more chaos in this region.

Perfect example was allowing Hamas to continue to build those tunnels for years without any resistance. We were told about them two years ago during operation pillar of defense (trust me I was there) and we failed to act then. Instead we settled for accepting a ceasefire agreement that allowed Hamas for more time to plan for what its overall major goal and mission was. If it weren’t for the unfortunate and sorrowful deaths of those three innocent lives, then once again Israel would have been facing a cataclysmal event. Instead of celebrating the New Year with happiness and bliss, Israel would have been busy burying their loved ones had Hamas successfully enacted their planned Rosh Hashana massacre. Once again Israel needed a little wake up call before beginning to handle business. We failed to see signs and patterns, or maybe just chose to ignore them in the hopes of letting diplomacy take its course. We let the opinions of a naive and inexperienced international community distract us from our most vital principles; the foundation of what Israel was built upon.

At the end of the day it is difficult to interject on this because we are only open to what the media lets out, and what we can see with our own eyes. No one truly knows what battles are fought behind close doors, whether politically or anything else.


With operation protective edge “winding down” (or maybe not), we are entering another round of talks similar to those seen in the past. Where has this got us? Instead of hitting these demonic creatures with the wrath of the IDF, we tip toe in and out with the hopes of pleasing the international community. Instead of continuing forward and dealing with the root of the problem we are settling for treating the symptoms. Approximately 85% of Israel supported the military operation; if this wasn’t the right time to act and continue pushing forward then we have to truly look in the mirror. The world calls for us to show restraint, and to sit down with these terrorists and go back and forth with a list of demands. Where on G-d’s green earth has diplomacy really worked in negotiations with terrorists that are so ideologically and radically warped that they are still stuck in the medieval ages? To them it shows weakness. To them it provides a way to capitalize on the ceasefires. We make them immortals, we give them chance after chance to perfect their strategy. Look at how far they have come just during this operation? They become more and more like a tactical army, but with the shear joy of heading head first to accept death.

The Hamas military wing, made its position clear Tuesday, on the second day of indirect talks with Israel in Cairo on a permanent ceasefire: “Our fighters in Gaza are waiting to return, with Allah’s help, to the battlefield – or else wait and prepare for the next round of fighting. There is no escape. It’s either jihad now or jihad after we are well prepared.”  This is the true nature of whom we are dealing with, and if anyone wants to disagree is just blind and ignorant and will only truly learn by the blood of others.

How can the world be so focused on Israel for acting as any sovereign democratic nation would to protect its people, and ignore the pure facts on the ground? I see the same constant argument that “oh if Israel were to lift the siege on Gaza and the West Bank then all will be well.” This is where I question if people truly understand history or even take the time to learn from it. For all you individuals that delve into that type of mindset, let me remind you of the mass suicide bombings that were happening on a daily basis around Israel. Buses were not safe, bus stops were not safe, restaurants, malls and the list goes on. It does not take a rocket scientist to see this war between good and evil. As much empathy I have for those innocent children and women in Gaza, the fault lies with Hamas and the people that are unwilling to stand up for what is right. Israel goes above beyond than any other country in the world to minimize innocent lives, while Hamas goes above and beyond to kill both Israeli and Palestinian innocents. This asymmetrical war needs to be understood for its entirety and not just for what the media incorrectly portrays.

The Middle East and Africa are up and flames and have been up in flames for some good time now. Nothing but ignorance and naïveté has been represented throughout the international community. Islamic radicalism is spreading like wild fire and nations are putting emphasis and criticism on the wrong country. How many Christians in Iraq and Syria need to die by the hand of ISIS before the world speaks up and reacts, how many more Christians and even Muslims need to die in Nigeria by the hand of Boko Haram before the world speaks and reacts.

Instead of condemning and criticizing Israel at all costs, the world should maybe try and learn from this tiny country that has repeatedly fought for its right to exist. It is time for the world to wake up and learn from history. It is time to fully support the one and only democratic nation in the Middle East. Support the country that constantly fights on its doorstep the same enemies that threaten you and the very rights and ideals that all democratic nations around the world stand for. Do not let history repeat itself, but learn from the patterns and signs history has provided us. Sometimes the only option is a military option, and what prevents progression is that political and diplomatic approach. We need to fight first and dismember their infrastructure and their leadership, and then once the dust settles we can bring in our diplomatic arsenal. This constant game of ping-pong with terrorism needs to stop and that starts with strength of nations and not with the showing of weakness or settling for demands with terrorists.



About the Author
Mattan Hoffman moved back to Israel in 2011 and served in the IDF as a lone soldier. He is currently getting a masters in exercise physiology at the University of Central Florida.
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