The citizens of Israel were outraged and demanded action. The Israeli Defense Minister threatened to invade Palestine and destroy the nests of terrorists. The Syrians declared that an attack on Palestine was an attack on Syria and threatened a massive attack with missiles armed with chemical and biological warheads. Syrian and Iraqi troops disguised as Palestinians took up positions on top of the Judean and Samarian hills overlooking Israel from Tel Aviv to Haifa. Once there, they begin a massive airlift of weapons, including Katyusha rockets, mortars, artillery, tanks and armored personnel carriers. Hostile Arab forces arrived by the thousands to re-enforce their positions. It all happened so fast that Israelis failed to react in time. By the time they realized they were up against an existential strategic threat, it was too late.
The Americans, fearing the outbreak of war, urged restraint on all parties. The Europeans sent urgent messages to the Israeli PM to refrain from action that would lead to war. Former American Secretary of State James Baker III came out of retirement to try to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis. The Arabs demanded that Israel withdraw from all the territory it had occupied in the war of 1947-49. Israel, of course, refused. Tensions rose to an unbearable level. Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, Iranian, Jordanian and Iraqi troops began to pour into Palestine.
Israel protested but was ignored. The Secretary General of the United Nations warned Israel against taking military action. Terrorist attacks on Israel increased. Rockets fell on Tel Aviv almost every day. Israelis were nervous and some began to panic. Jews fled the major coastal cities as they had done during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, when SCUD missiles pounded Israel. Israel was desperate.
What happened next, we call the Great Apocalypse.
It's late now and you must go back to your parents before dark. "Grandpa, I don't understand how our leaders could have trusted the Arabs." We'll talk about it tomorrow. Meet me at the same place; I'll bring some lunch. I'll tell you all about the final battle between the Israelis and the Arabs. I love you, David. You must understand that the Jews have a destiny. But they have to pass many challenges, defeat many enemies, survive many traps and triumph many times against great odds to reach that destiny. And so it is written in that great Book of Life.
The next day, David eagerly went to the same rocky hill in the Galilee to meet his great-grandfather, Joshua. Getting to their favorite spot first gave him a chance to organize his thoughts and questions. What bothered him most was why the leaders of Israel had chosen to risk their country's future, when the odds were so much against them. It wasn't as if they had taken a legitimate risk for "peace", but more like a crazy gamble with their nation's security. A security that was only attained with the blood of thousands of their citizens. Surely Grandpa would have an answer to this riddle. There must have been something about which I have no knowledge that will make sense of all this, he suspected.
In the distance, David saw Joshua approaching up the hill. He waved and ran to meet him warmly with a hug and a kiss. They sat down on the flat rock that had come be their special place. Joshua opened a knapsack and took out a thermos, some sandwiches, an apple and a banana. They made small talk and began to eat lunch. David was anxious to discuss his question, but held off until they had eaten and talked about family and such.
Finally, unable to hold back any longer, David said, "Grandpa, why did the leaders of Israel behave so foolishly and put their country's future at risk. The odds were so much against them? They didn't really take a risk for "peace", but more like a crazy gamble with their nation's security. A security that was bought with the blood of thousands of their citizens over 56 years."
This was a very serious question and Joshua paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. Many Jews began to doubt their destiny and their G-d, he told David. They began to believe the anti-Israel propaganda of the Arabs and the dominant media. They could find only fault with Zionism and its mission to build a state. We called them post-Zionists and they played a major role in the demoralization of the Israeli people. This led to the evil of Oslo and then to the Great Apocalypse.
David looked puzzled and inquired: "Couldn't your educators and politicians convince them of the error of their ways?"
Joshua answered, and you could hear the pain in his voice as he recounted the truth to his beloved grandson. Just as bigots obscure reality about certain groups in an evil way, he said, reality could be obscured by the seemingly well meaning, who are simply deluded. They are good at fooling themselves and are easily misled. This self-delusion, or self-deception, can sometimes have tragic consequences.
Unfortunately, Jews throughout history have deluded themselves about their position in society. They have frequently pursued utopian solutions to complex political problems and disputes. Jews rejoiced as the Enlightenment spread across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many were eager to give up their Jewishness and become German, French, Italian or English. In the final analysis those societies viewed them as Jews. Self-delusion came into collision with reality and left us with the stench of burning flesh from the ovens of Auschwitz. Many Russian Jews eagerly supported the communist idea of a worker's utopia with no nationalities and no religion. Reality taught them that their neighbors still considered them Jews.
In the book Self Portrait Of A Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976), Jonathan Netanyahu, the fallen hero of Entebbe and brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said it best:
"I see with sorrow and great anger how a part of the people still clings to hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. Common sense tells them, too, that the Arabs haven't abandoned their basic aim of destroying the State; but the self-delusion and self-deception that have always plagued the Jews are at work again. It's our great misfortune. They want to believe, so they believe. They want not to see, so they shut their eyes. They want not to learn from thousands of years of history, so they distort it. They want to bring about a sacrifice, and they do indeed. It would be comic, it it wasn't so tragic. What a saddening and irritating lot this Jewish people is!" Need I say more?
David tried to understand this puzzle: how Jews can be both brilliant and deluded. Not able to reconcile this conflict, he asked Joshua to tell him about the Great Apocalypse.
Joshua reminded David of the horrible warfare that erupted shortly after the new Israeli Prime Minister took power in 2006. In less than a year Israel was being attacked from all sides and the Palestinians were actively participating. The Palestinians were controlled by many terrorist gangs, including the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and others. Their forces worked together and finally joined in an assault on Israel. They went to war disrupting Israeli mobilization by blocking roads, firing Katyushas, mortars and artillery into the major cities creating chaos and panic. Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Saudi troops penetrated Israeli defenses and captured some border communities. Word soon reached the Israeli public that the entire Jewish populations under Arab control had been massacred. Rumors spread fast, and the Israeli people believed that a second Holocaust was imminent. They demanded a devastating nuclear retaliation. Israel's PM agonized over the decision for many hours.
Finally, he gave the order to destroy the Arab/Islamic World.
From launching pads deep under the rocky hills of the Negev and Galilee, Jericho missiles began to rise to the surface. In a few brief minutes, with thunderous vibrations and deafening noise, they blasted off on a mission to save the Jewish state. Israel had accumulated over 500 nuclear missiles during five decades of development. They were all pre-positioned to target the capitals and major cities of the Arab/Islamic World, from Libya to Pakistan.
Next the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a no holds barred attack on Palestinian strongholds and major cities. Using tanks, air support and a dazzling array of new high tech weapons, they pulverized the terrorist army.
Word soon reached the IDF that Egypt, Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Saudi Arabia had launched over a thousand missiles at Israel. The IDF and the Air Force tried to prevent these missiles from reaching Israel, but Israel's missile shield, including the Arrow and Patriot, was simply not adequate to stem so massive an attack.
Many Arab missiles were destroyed in the air, but a great many struck their targets. They carried chemical, biological and nuclear warheads. Israel and whole Middle East was soon a radio-active slagheap. The catastrophe spread way beyond the Middle East. Virulent diseases that were released spread and wiped out most of the world's population. A cloud of dust caused by a thousand atomic and hydrogen bombs shut off light and heat from the sun. This resulted in a nuclear winter that brought back the Ice Age to a large part of the earth.
David heard the story and stared in disbelief. He turned to Joshua and said sadly: "Our leaders were so STUPID! They learned nothing from history. I am just a kid, but I know that giving into Arab, American and international pressure would certainly lead to war, NOT peace." Joshua nodded in agreement. A tear began to drip from David's eye. "I hate them," he said, "they destroyed our Holy Land."
Joshua turned to David and put his arm around him. "You must "let it go" and move on....it happened a long time ago." David suddenly turns to his grandfather and exclaims in a loud, agitated voice: "You misunderstood me, Grandpa. It is not the Arabs I hate, but the Jewish leadership of that day. They foolishly led their people to this disaster."
ISRAEL'S SURVIVING REMNANT
New Chapters When Available
On the Freeman Center Web Site