Tidbits From Israel
By Ron Jager
When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to the cease-fire with Hamas rather than moving ahead with a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, sticking to the modest goals of Operation Pillar of Defense, he probably expected that the opposition parties in Israel would taunt him with his own words from 2009: “We must smash the Hamas power in Gaza.” He said then, “The next government will have no choice but to finish the job and uproot . . . the Iranian terror base.”
That Netanyahu held back from doing so is testimony to not only his prudence but mainly his wisdom in accepting the assessment of military advisers who used terms like “cutting the grass,” a euphemism meaning a task that must be performed regularly and has no end. In plain language, this is the need to occasionally destroy the infrastructure of Hamas so that her ability to attack Israel will be set back every few years. This is probably the most that can be achieved at this point due to the changes that have transformed the Middle East to one large sea of extreme Islamic forces, in large part thanks to President Obama’s strategic blunders in foreign policy over the past four years.
Israel’s principal strategic challenge is a newly consolidated Islamic front, which comprises not just Hamas but also a consortium of other Islamic forces including the Muslim Brotherhood-led governments in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iran. Hamas’s role as an Islamic spearhead against Israel will finally finish off once and for all the stubbornly persistent notion that Israel should negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinian Authority without Hamas’s involvement. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly shown himself unwilling to negotiate with Netanyahu or any other Israeli political leader, or to commit to the concessions a peace deal would require, let alone recognize Israel as the national home of the Jewish nation.
The current efforts by Egypt, which seems bent on overseeing yet another attempt to broker reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, will prevent any “peace negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, meaning that no pressure will be exerted on Israel to concede parts of Judea and Samaria. Thank you, Egypt, and thank you, Hamas.
With the Palestinian front on standby mode prior to entering a deep freeze, the logical direction of the Islamic alliance will be to target Israeli Arabs and attempt to destroy the Jewish state from within. Israel and her supporters must prepare to contend with a large minority of more than a million Arab citizens, represented by political and community leaders who are fighting against Israel’s Jewish democratic character and identity. We are dealing with a minority that is positioning itself to supersede the Palestinian Arabs in a complete rejection of the Jewish state.
Israel’s Arabs are not interested in “the ’67 borders with land swaps.” They are seeking no less than transforming Haifa, Lod, Ramla, and Beersheba into Arab cities. Their strategy will be to attack the Jewish establishment from the inside, using the democratic means of the state and of society, in the name of democracy, pluralism, and human rights. Their use of universal messages such as “a state of all its citizens” hides a wholly different purpose: an attempt to establish a binational state on the ruins of the Jewish state that will gradually change its demographic balance by rejecting the Law of Return (for Jews) and adopting the right of return (for Arabs). After achieving this, their new demographic balance will dictate an Arab state. Despite the growing integration into Israel’s society and economy, Israel’s Arabs are committed to undermining the Jewish state in its current format as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
Does the conduct of Israel’s Arab minority seem any different than that of other minorities worldwide? Israel’s Arabs are a special case. We are not dealing with just a majority and a minority, but rather a minority with the mentality of a majority vis-à-vis a Jewish majority with the mentality of a minority. Israeli Arabs are not holding on to their Israeli citizenship based on a desire to form a joint Israeli identity. For them, the joint identity’s objective is to water down the state’s Jewish democratic identity. The determination not to lose their citizenship stems from the realization that no Arab regime will grant them the high standard of living and free lifestyle that they can maintain in Israel thanks to the Jewish majority.
This doctrine is especially prevalent among the younger and more educated Israeli Arabs who have adopted the belief that their struggle against the Jewish nation-state is part of their collective Palestinian Arab identity. They see nothing contradictory in benefiting from the fruits of the land of milk and honey while working towards Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state. Israeli Arabs are increasingly electing radical representatives, and their elites are committed to the more radical version of the struggle against the Jewish state. In the political arena, the radicals are almost the only ones who are given public expression and held in high esteem by the Arab community as a whole.
We must recognize that this is the reality that Israel is facing as the Islamic alliance led by Hamas prepares for the next round sometime in the future. We should not enable the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs to poison years of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. We must thwart the aim of the Islamic alliance to weaken Israel, albeit through democratic means. Yet we should not delude ourselves about the nature of their struggle against the Jewish Nation. As Israel prepares for the Palestinian Arab onslaught this week at the United Nations, we must make it more difficult if not impossible for Israeli Arabs and their political leaders to transform themselves into in-house agents of the Palestinian Arab struggle against Israel. v
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic adviser to the director of the Shomron Liaison Office. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ronjager.com.