Two good Israeli friends were in touch last night. Both old school Labor, left-of-center zionists like me. Both told me the same thing: everybody in Israel knows Netanyahu did it. Why? Because if he leaves office, he goes to jail just like his predecessor. Remember when Bibi had one? In November Netanyahu was indicted for breach of trust, accepting bribes, and fraud.
One told me it would be over in a week. The other told me this is an orchestrated coup ending with a military dictatorship. I obviously have a hard time believing either, but two things are clear:
1. Everybody knows Bibi provoked this: Israel, Palestine, the world, his own cabinet…. He knew if he could be provocative for long enough, hell would break. East Jerusalem saw nightly crossfires since the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April! He closed the famous Damascus Gate, the Old City’s main entrance, knowing Muslims would respond violently, and let police raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, again and again, during Ramadan! Using teargas and shock grenades! Bibi’s willing to let his country burn rather than spend eighteen months playing poker in minimum security with cronies.
2. Hamas and Hezbollah were waiting for this provocation for fifteen years. They are so prepared. If Hamas already fired this many rockets they have more than Mossad even knows about. We haven’t even encountered Hezbollah yet, who stores at least 10,000 rockets in Southern Lebanon.
Hamas’s strategy is twofold:
A. It’s the same as any general with the will to win – get as many of your people killed as you can to gain ground.
B. The ground is moral, not territorial. Since genocide is in their charter, since they ban abortions and honor the killing of women, they have to convince the world that Israel is the more violent side… put weapons depots inside schools, use children as human shields, lie to civilians about where’s safe and where’s dangerous… This is Hamas…
I do believe Netanyahu wants something approaching a military coup, resulting in an unlimited premiership until he appoints a successor guaranteed to pardon him. He’s willing to kill thousands of Israelis to do it. Provoking war was his last resort, but it’s done, and he knew Hamas was game whenever – war is literally in their mission statement. There’s no return now. If this war becomes bad as it threatens, he goes to the Hague, Israel loses its economic connections through boycott, and if war becomes total, there may be no two state solution.
I also believe that the outcome’s still unknown, and that fills me both with horror and a bizarre hope. Perhaps it will take the death of 50,000 to realize peace’s necessity. It may not be critical mass, but after war, peace is what people want.
Mark Twain said that Jews are like everybody else, only moreso. Israel’s not experiencing anything which any country isn’t. It’s only experiencing more.
If we’re The Chosen People, it’s not because we’re a better nation, it’s because God chose us for his laboratory. We’re an unending scroll through which is inscribed the whole world’s history. Every new century and country is a new chapter but the lesson of Jewish history is that everything Jews undergo, the world undergoes next. By enslaving us, Egypt eventually enslaved themselves. By crucifying us, Romans eventually crucified themselves. By massacring us, Crusaders eventually got massacred. By putting us in a religious torture chamber, the Spanish put themselves in too. By imprisoning us in a ghetto, Russians eventually imprisoned themselves. By burning us, Germans eventually burned too. When Jews are accepted, others get accepted next. When Jews are rejected, others get rejected next. When Jews are killed, you get the point….
We’ve been everywhere and seen everything in the Western World and some East besides, we’re the eternal canary of the world’s coalmines; our history the story of stories. We’ve brought favor to every country we encountered, yet we’re always thrown out at the first sign that we haven’t brought enough; and the moment after we’re thrown out, the host country suffers nearly as much as we do. Is it God or an accident of history? Is it because of the inborn Jewish character or Israel’s geographical position between continents? Who cares? It just is.
In an era when everybody lives on the internet and television, we have a state when having one doesn’t mean as much, but in the dimensions of the internet, we’re still Jews. Everybody thinks about us disproportionately, everybody focuses on our crimes to the exclusion of everybody else’s, we’re constantly accused of murders of which we were victims much more than perpetrators.
I don’t know what will happen in Israel, but whatever happens, I’m positive something like it will happen to us next.