Eytan MeyersdorfThe writer is a new immigrant from the USA, served in Golani, and is currently the coordinator of Im Tirtzu Zionist Student Organization at Bar-Ilan University.
“Never Again” was the slogan championed by the Jewish Defense League, the vigilante group founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the late 1960's. Their message was clear: Jews are no longer sheep that will go willingly to the slaughter. The JDL, despite its controversial activities, successfully transformed the image of the Jew into one of might and power; withstanding the many condemnations from both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.
Israel has undergone a similar transformation. From the ruins of Tel Hai and the explosions at Bint Jbeil, Israel has emerged a superpower, casting away the image of the dejected Jew trapped behind the ghetto wall, and replacing it with an F-16.
This past week, the Jew of the ghetto made a reappearance when Arab teens assaulted two haredi young men near the Damascus Gate outside the Old City of Jerusalem. The terror, helplessness, and humiliation that the two Jews suffered as Arab youths harassed them was reminiscent of pre-Holocaust Germany.
The question we must ask ourselves is not, “Why did this happen?” rather “Why did they think they could get away with it?” How did Arab teens have the chutzpa to openly attack Jews, as carefree as if they were enjoying a game of basketball? The most troubling part of it all, was that it happened in our own capital.
The truth, although unfortunate, is glaring - Israel is no longer viewed as symbol of strength. Over the past few years, Israel's image and deterrence has grown weaker; the Palestinian bid for statehood being a clear indication. While Hamas is in the streets celebrating its “victory” in Operation Pillar of Defense, Ahmadinejad is playing a shrewd game of poker with Netanyahu, and is calling his bluff.
Why should Ahmadinejad be concerned with Netanyahu's threats when the Israeli government remained silent for months while rockets fell upon its own civilians? Why should Arab teens in east Jerusalem be afraid to attack Jews when other Jews throughout Israel and the world are saying that they have no right to be there in the first place?
In a world that cast God aside and crowned liberalism as its new deity, the idea of might has been dubbed primitive. The world cheers for David, and scorns Goliath. Thankfully, Israel has become a Goliath, but with that title comes displeasure and guilt. There are those who are ashamed and apologetic of Israel's basic right to defend itself, dismissing military action as a barbaric means to accomplish one's goal. They want to turn Israel back into David.
For the first time in two thousand years, Jews in Israel have a powerful military that is capable of defending its citizens. We are Goliaths, and there is no need to apologize. Ahmadinejad will take Israel's threats seriously when we take ourselves seriously. Arab teens will stop harassing Jews in Jerusalem when other Jews recognize their right to be there.
“Never Again” will the Jew cower behind the ghetto wall.
The autor has requested that we add that views presented above are of the writer and do not represent the Im Tirtzu movement