Saturday, October 21, 2006

Are We That Sleepy?

In a recent Haaretz article, Professor Robert (Yisrael) Aumann, the Israeli-American scholar who won the Nobel Prize for economics last year, talked about the possibility that Israel might not be around within 50 years. A few of his quotes (and my take on them) can be found below ...

"Too many Jews don't understand why they are here. If we don't understand why we are here, and that we are not America or just a place in which to live, we will not survive. The desire to live like all the nations will sustain us maybe another 50 years, if we are still here. Fatigue, in the State of Israel's situation, will lead to death, as occurs with mountain climbing. If a mountain climber is caught on the side of a mountain and it starts to snow, if he falls asleep, he will die. He must remain alert."

I would change Professor Aumann's sentence to "Too many Israelis don't understand why they are here." No, I'm not saying that all Israelis (by this, I mean those born in Israel) are like this, but it is definitely something that seems to infect too large of a segment within our population. What Aumann is saying here is that Israel, unlike other nations, has a different reason for existence. Israel was built on the ashes of 6,000,000 of our brethren, and has survived due to incredible heroism and sacrifice. Israel is the only homeland for the Jewish people. The failure to understand this, or the 'fatigue' he talks about, could eventually erode our ability to deal with the challenges we continually facing. So, the desire to be here, to continue our existence as a Jewish State, needs to be nurtured and strengthened so that it is as intense as it is amongst the religious Zionists, secular Zionists and the dominant majority of our new immigrants. This part of the battle to be here is, in my opinion, just as important as the actual fighting on the battlefield itself.

"We are too sensitive to our losses, and also to the losses of the other side. In the Yom Kippur War, 3,000 soldiers were killed. It sounds terrible, but that's small change."

During the war with Hezbollah, the days at the office were terrible. Every day, people at the office would be on the edge of their seats. We were worried about our friends, the deaths of our fellow countrymen, the damage being caused to our brothers up in the North and our inability to deal a crushing blow to Hezbollah. Every death hurt us inside, as if it was our friend that had been killed. We have become incredibly sensitive to the deaths of our fellow Israelis. Not to sound incredibly cruel or insensitive but this must never hinder our ability to fight. We are on the verge of some very serious conflicts with Syria, Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah - if we cannot accept that many of us won't be coming home from these battles, then we will not be able to succeed in our mission to defend this country properly. It's a tough reality, but this is the reality we need to face and accept in order to continue here. As Gaylord Nelson said, “The ultimate test of a man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

1 comment:

Rasjie said...

nicely said, pretty depressing article I thought.