Being an Israeli in a World Gone Blind

by Yosef Krichely

"I prefer being alive and criticized to being dead and pitied."

For centuries, being Jewish meant being on the run. Always blamed for somebody else’s misfortunes. Always being discriminated against for being a Jew. Always on the alert that somebody is out there to get you, and nobody will come to your help. Always on the run.

History is full of examples of the mistreatment that Jews have suffered at the hand of non-Jews, might they be Christian or Muslim, Europeans or Arabs. I do not think there is a need to bring any examples, because in the way I see it, it should be a broadly known fact.

However, times have changed.
In the aftermath of the most horrific war that plagued mankind, the world has undergone many political and geopolitical changes. One of those changes was the creation (or recreation) of the Jewish homeland, in the Land of Israel, and named The State of Israel.

The forefathers of the State of Israel have sworn in the declaration of independence that a second Holocaust of the Jewish people will never occur again. Furthermore, they stated that Israel will do its utmost to fight genocide and racism directed at any other nation or peoples on the face of the Earth.

I am sure they were greatly aware of the weight their words had. And not 12 hours had passed before these same words were put for the test.

The declaration of independence took place on the eve of May 14th 1948, and not 12 hours later, five regular armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, aided by forces from Libya and Saudi Arabia, have invaded the newborn state. Aiding them were militias of Arabs residing in the land and welcoming the attack.

Five regular armies against a rag tug of civilians of which most were recent Holocaust survivors. The invading army was about half a million strong. The whole population of Israel was a mere 600,000.
But, we prevailed. Knowing that losing the war was not an option, the people of the newborn state fought back, and a year and a half later the war was decisively finished with victory for Israel.

I would like to explain what losing in a war would mean for Israel. It would mean the total destruction of Israel. It would mean new mass murder of Israelis and mass deportations. It would mean that the Jews would be homeless again. Israel can’t afford the luxury of losing a war, not even for one day.

Until this day, we have won all our wars. We have to. However, the losing side keeps trying, keeps pushing with all the means that are available to him to undermine Israel and lead to its destruction.

As a result of the first independence war a new problem has arisen. A serious and unfortunate problem. The invading army generals told the Arab population that resided in the Land to either help their invasion or get out of the way. They promised them that in a few weeks time, the Jews would be obliterated and then they could come back to have the land again. Thousands of young local Arabs have joined the invading armies, tens of thousands have moved to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt to wait until the war ends.

Through a well-documented history of Muslim warfare one may learn that the conquering Muslim armies used to commit atrocities against the populations of the lands they invaded. It was a natural thing to do in their mind. That was the thing planned for the Jews as well. However, the Israeli Army, managing to push the Arab armies back, and advance further, scared the Arab population. Being used for the spoils of war, the Arabs were sure the Israelis would do to them what they planned to do to the Israelis. This time, hundreds of thousands fled the country. Naturally, the Israelis had no intention to ill-treat the Arabs left in the Land. Martial law was imposed, but was lifted a few years later.

The Arabs that fled could not return. Israel would not accept them. They were originally from other Arab countries, and by moving away, they lost the rights they had. Furthermore, who in his right mind, would accept in his midst his enemies? Those people who were waiting in camps on the other side of the border became refugees.

At the same time, there were other refugees in the region. These were Jewish refugees running away from Arab countries that started persecuting them after the Arab loss at the war. These people left almost everything they had behind and ran for their lives. Almost all the Jewish communities that lived for hundreds of years in Muslim countries have fled. Some fled to Europe, most to Israel.

Israel accepted all of them and did its best to integrate them as smoothly as it could in the country. While on the other side, the Arab nations restricted the Arabs who left Israel from becoming an integral part of their societies, and thus kept them as refugees. They still are at that status, refugees with no rights. The Arab nations did it with only one purpose, to bash Israel with the Refugee issue. Israel is blamed that it created the problem. How ridiculous can it get? They started a war, they wanted to wipe out the Jews, and we have to apologize for not losing. Their misdeeds and misjudgments created numerous problems, but the blame is always on us.

For 54 years, Israel has suffered from Arab resentment of its existence. I would like to present only a partial list of what they have done and still do:

  1. Wars
    They started 3 big wars, and 3 smaller ones and lost every one of them. Those wars, especially the 1967 six day war, resulted in Israel taking large chunks of Arab lands under its control. So, the Arabs who pushed us to war, now complain that we are conquerors who take Arab lands by force. How illogical can they be? If we had lost, there wouldn’t be any Israel left. They don’t even accept responsibility for their actions. Their losses on the battlefield only inflame them. They don’t understand how such a small country can persistently stand its ground and resist the mighty Arab sword. They hate losing, so they hate the ones that made them lose.
  2. Economics
    Since day one, the Arab nations tried to suffocate Israel economically and imposed the infamous “Arab Boycott”. Not only that no Arab country would do business with Israel, they threatened and started boycotting every international company that did business with Israel. Numerous companies around the world succumbed to this boycott. Companies like McDonald’s, Toyota, Nissan, City Bank, and others just didn’t recognize Israel as part of the economic world. Only after the first Gulf War, the boycott was abolished by US pressure on the Arabs. In spite the boycott, Israeli economy thrived in every aspect. Light and heavy industries, hi tech, medicine, agriculture, civil works, new technologies were born in Israeli research institutes (technologies that even the Arabs have the benefit to use today). Israel’s GDP is larger then Egypt’s, Syria’s and Jordan all together. The only worthwhile thing that Arabs produce is oil (using foreign workers), and even that is only a cultivation of a natural resource. All this Israeli economic success infuriates them. How can a small country succeed in such a way despite the boycott, while their economy is stagnant and produces almost nothing of real value that can be marketed abroad, except oil. They hate Israel for being successful.
  3. Politics
    There are 22 Arab countries and 31 more Muslim countries in the world. None of the Arab countries is a democracy and only a few of the Muslim ones are (Turkey). Wielding the political power of 53 countries with 53 votes, they use the democratic nature of the United Nations (although there is no democracy in their own systems) to direct endless resolutions against Israel. Israel is the only Nation in the world that is not a part of a regional group in the UN, so it cannot take part in any committee and in any activity. Countries like Libya and Syria can chair the UN committee for Human Rights and be on the security council, while Israel can’t. But, Israel is not yielding. These undemocratic countries demand that Israel yield to the “democratic” will of the Arabs on the UN, but we know better than that. And they hate us.
  4. Sports
    Although geographically, Israel is in western Asia, it is never invited to take part in Asian sports events. For example, up until 12 years ago (until Europe kindly agreed to have Israel play in Europe) the Israeli National Soccer Team had to qualify in Oceania (!), playing against Australia and New Zealand.
  5. Terror
    Many in the world woke up, after the 9/11 terror events that targeted America, to the threat of terror. However, Israel suffered terror from day one. Not only did we endure the wars imposed on us, we had to endure terror attacks that occurred from time to time. This, by various Palestinian “liberation” groups and other Arab sponsored terror groups. Thousands of lives were lost to these terror attacks. In the last 2.5 years Israel endures terror attacks daily. The worst kind of attacks. Imagine a person strapping himself with a belt. This belt contains about 10kg of explosive, but not only that. It also hold hundreds of screws, metal balls, nails and other shrapnel that flies in all directions with one purpose, to hit, maim and kill everybody around. Just imagine what is it like to be a passerby when a suicide murderer explodes. The horror, the terror, the blood. But we endure, and we fight back, and we try to get them before they get us. And they hate us.
  6. Peace
    Israel has shown that it is willing to compromise for peace. We gave the whole Sinai Desert back to Egypt after signing a peace treaty in 1979. However all we got back was a cold peace with rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment encouraged by the government of Egypt. We made peace with Jordan in 1994 and got the same. We started negotiating peace with the Palestinians in 1993. Israel agreed to give the Palestinians an independent country (something that never existed before), made numerous steps toward achieving the goal of peaceful coexistence, but got nothing but terror, incitement and breaches to the agreement in return. We now understand that the Arab goal in making peace with Israel was to weaken it by promising this peace and by Israeli territorial concessions, and when the right time came, to deliver the final blow. It is a devil’s plan, but it was uncovered, even though it may seem late to a lot of us. In July 2000, President Clinton and PM Barak offered the Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat, the most extensive and generous offer Israel could afford: 96% of the West Bank, the whole of the Gaza Strip, and some lands in Israel proper to compensate for the 4% Israel would keep in the WB. We offered joint governance of Jerusalem, we offered to strive together for solving the refugee problem, but all this was turned down. The Palestinians demanded that the refugee issue should be solved on their on terms, which would mean the return of each and every refugee to the place where he fled from. However, if in the first war around 400 thousand people ran away, now the number of refugees passes 4 million. They propose this in a country such as Israel, which has only a 5 million Jewish population, with 1.2 million Arab citizenry that don’t hide their hatred toward the country which gives them all the rights that Arabs in other countries in the Middle East can only dream of. Accepting the Palestinian demand will mean the End of the Jewish State. Plain and simple. This is what the Arabs want, aspire and educate their children to do, to destroy Israel.
And the world? What does the world do?

This is the bitterest pill that Israelis have to swallow. Only 60 years ago, European Jewry was almost totally obliterated by the Nazis and their supporters (French, Belgian, Hungarian, Poles, Lithuanian and from almost every other European nation). Europe has sinned toward its Jews on numerous occasions, and unfortunately still does.

The Arabs have an overwhelming power in Europe. Wielding the weapon of oil, they threaten world economy to comply with their actions. There is a one-way flood of Arab and Muslim immigration to Europe, where the Muslim population is well over 20%. Europe buys its peace from the Arabs by resenting and mistreating Israel.

It is unbelievable that despite all that the Arabs have done to us and plan to do, Europe fingers us as the prime suspect for the “unrest” in the ME. Israel is called an Apartheid and a Nazi state for just being. Whenever we try to defend ourselves, Europe cries and demands that we stop, not hurt innocent Palestinian civilians, give in to Palestinian demands, and many other outrageous demands. It would be much simpler if they just said to us that they wished we were all dead. In such a way, they wouldn’t have to hide behind diplomacy, and we wouldn’t have to work so hard to defend our right to defend ourselves, to the Europeans. But, when innocent Israelis die at the hands of Palestinian terrorists, Europe hushes, not a squeak is uttered, and nobody demands anything from the Arabs. They are afraid that if they do, their Arab friends might turn against them as well.

People see only the Israeli side as wrong, and hold it to blame for the ills of the ME. Never are the Arabs blamed for anything. It is as if Israeli terrorists formed Al Qaida, as if Israel used gas against its people, as if Israel is a dictatorship and not vise versa. Whenever Israel is killing those who plot and kill Israelis, the world roars in disapproval as if we killed a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Many Europeans say that Israel is not heeding any consideration to world opinion, as if world opinion is guarding our borders and our women and children.

These days, the world is again in an uproar. It is roaring against a US president poised to throw the dictator of Iraq to the depths of hell where he belongs. But the good people of Europe, those who avert their eyes from Palestinian terrorism also avert their eyes from the menace and threat poised by Saddam Hussein. They call President Bush a Nazi. They forget who it was that saved them from the Nazis and brought civilization back to them and protected them from then on.

Instead of thanking America for its devotion for a really free world, millions all over the world accuse America for being an aggressor, for being a threat to the world, for being…

It seems the world has gone blind. Black is white, and light is darkness. They have it all upside down. Sometimes, we in Israel don’t know if to laugh or cry at the world’s attitude towards us, its hypocrisy and self-proclaimed righteousness.

But nowadays, after hearing so much bashing of Israel and America from almost every corner of the world, Israelis don’t care anymore. We know where we are, we know who we are, we know who our friends are (a mere few) and we know who are enemies are (too many). Once I heard someone say, "I prefer being alive and criticized to being dead and pitied." How much sadness in just one sentence.

This is the sense of being Israeli in these times. We feel like we are the nation that stands on the frontline and stops with its body and its blood, the modern Huns that threaten the world’s peace, and the world that is cowering behind us, is more then ready to offer us as prey to those Huns.

However, we will never run away again. We will fight, and we will prevail.