HANG TOGETHER OR HANG ALONE!
By Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Many speak of unity in Israel but most do not practice it. As the enemy bombs Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, YESHA each still stays separate - thinks separate - acts separate and each quietly thinks: "I am glad it happened there and not here." That's a natural, human reaction.
When a bomb goes off in Jerusalem or YESHA (Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza),Tel Avivians feel safe and glad it was not them. When there is a road side shooting a mortar attack in YESHA, those who live in Haifa are momentarily interested in the news but, YESHA is far away - that's 'their' problem.
When a bomb goes off in Haifa or Tel Aviv, those in YESHA usually do not go to Haifa and offer help and sympathy thinking: "We have enough of our own problems with terror."
Where does the "Better You Than Me" stop?
And where are the American and other Diaspora Jews during these eleven months of terror? They have NOT come to Israel - except for a few small solidarity missions. Tourism of American Jews is almost non-existent although many American Christian Zionists are still coming on their regular tours to Israel.
As for American Jews, they cannot grasp the fact that, should Israel fall, the anti-Jewish establishment will fall on them like starving wolves on a herd of lambs. Whether the White Supremacists, the Black Muslims, the Arab Islamists, the Ku Klux Klan, Louis Farrakhan's Fruits of Islam all will be emboldened to attack the Jewish establishment. Jews in the street will be the same as the Jews of Europe, standing there in shock as their world falls apart and they beg: "Why me?"
American Jews had better start asking ourselves: "Will we end up like our brethren from the last and lost generation?"
Granted, America isn't the sinkhole of anti-Semitism of Europe but, there are enough disturbed anti-Semites, black and white, who would love the opportunity to get even with the world, starting with the Jews. But, if you want Jews to do anything to defend themselves, even to save their lives, offer them 25 cups of coffee, talk a lot and, maybe, in several months they, maybe, just maybe they will start to listen ... but, don't count on it. I cannot help but wonder who started the rumor that Jews are clever.
So it goes among the Jews. Unless it is your relative or in your neighborhood, terror is always someone else's problem. We Jews have a problem of distancing ourselves from unpleasant things as long as it isn't we who are suffering.
Dear Jews, there is an old American saying: "Either you hang together or you hang alone." That translates to: "Either stay together united or die alone."
This is the time for the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon to really be a statesman and a leader. Call the people to meet from all points on Israel's compass. Pull them together as President John F. Kennedy once did when he said: "Do not ask what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." The people responded to a call to their better instincts.
Granted, there will always be the spoilers who will say we are not at war and we can appease our self-declared enemy. They tell us: all we need is for Arafat to give orders to "Halt all the killings" and we will give him everything he wants. Peres, Beilin and others are readying themselves for the next elections for Prime Minister. They have already started their meetings with 'hints' to Arafat's negotiators and promises to return to Taba status if they will vote for the Labor party. Oslo is supposed to rise from the grave like a troubled spirit who is waiting for a final burial.
Dear Jews, smell the air; extend your antennae for the dangers that are closing in. One cannot help but be reminded of the historian Josephus' portrayal of our history in his book, "War of the Jews", when the Jews battled each other while the Romans crept up to slit their throats and burn the Jewish Temple. Then there were the deniers when Hitler's SS were committing every atrocity and practically announcing that they were coming to kill all the Jews. We simply could not believe or grasp the fact that there were people who planned to extinguish the Jewish people. They came; they killed and we were surprised.
So it goes again - only this time, the name of the horror is Arafat.
Some Jews sense it; know it - but they cannot convince the others that the war for Israel did not end in 1948 - 1956 - 1967 - 1982 - 1991 - 1987-93 and September 2000 to August 2001.
But, know this: Israel is in a fight to the death with Islam. The choice of entering or not entering a religious war does not lie with the Jews. The Muslims want Israel ground into the dirt with not one Jew left alive. In Islam, there is no room for compromise. Islam is in a religious war with Jews first and Christians later. They say it: "First the Saturday people; then the Sunday people." The Muslims simply cannot be placated, soothed or bribed.
There is no more pretense of separate entities called the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezb'Allah, PFLP, et al. They are all one fighting force under the authority of Yassir Arafat, dedicated to the total elimination of the Jewish State and her people. According to Clyde Haberman in the NEW YORK TIMES of August 13th : "So concerned is Mr. Arafat about his standing that he has invited the Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join him in a coalition - a unity government, he has called it, a term used as well by Israel."
This fighting force is fed by the ever-present confrontation states of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Sudan. Jordan will likely soon be taken over by the Palestinians and added to this list. This unifying of the Arab confrontation forces was always there but now it is confirmed publicly.
So, Dear Fellow Jews: Either you gather together in one cohesive force or you will die in bits and pieces - as has been happening too graphically.
I know that the various Israeli governments have always been more concerned with getting into power and holding onto that power than really unifying the nation. There is always a first time although I hear no call from Sharon - yet - to rally around the flag. Arik, like all Prime Ministers before him has gathered around him an impenetrable political wall of advisors dedicated to keeping him in power. There is also a second wall who coalesced themselves out of those dedicated to the failed agreement called Oslo and a return to the debilitating and self-destructive pretense misnamed "The Peace Process".
Arik no longer listens to or consults with outside resources as he used to. Strangely, the outside resources have only love of country at heart, so their voice and advice is not tainted by self-serving politics. The little men who surround Sharon suck at the teat of power and will not allow anyone in - even if the Third Temple must fall.
If Sharon will not break out of the surrounding encirclement of petty little men, then the people must do it themselves. Start with a delegation from each of the cities, towns, villages. From Jerusalem and YESHA in the east to Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa in the west. From the Golan Heights in the north to Eilat in the south.
Convene and decide to assist each other. If the government of Arik Sharon and Shimon Peres cannot meet their obligations to unify the people and keep them safe, then by-pass them. If the Knesset continues to be a spoiler (on its months long summer vacation) and cannot truly represent the people, then by-pass them. Keep in mind that it is your families who are in jeopardy of being blown up. The government leaders are very well protected but it is your children and wives, husbands and fathers who are at risk as they go to school, to work, meet at a movie or restaurant.
Dear Chevra, you can "Hang Together or Hang Alone". Choose Now!