Op-Ed: What’s Positive About IS?
Aviv Ben MenachemThe writer is an activist for Manhigut Yehudit, the Zionist movement founded...
For years, the average Israeli has been afraid of being "Jewish". He has been afraid to identify with values that seemed antiquated and irrelevant to the 21st century. He feared being unique and different and to lose the pseudo-cosmopolitan, Western identity that he had adopted.
But now, everything is unraveling – and quickly. The Islamic world – and first and foremost, the IS (formerly ISIS) – is in the throes of an Islamic revolution that the world has not seen since the days of Muhammad, no less. It is extreme, savage and dark - but genuine and faithful to its source.
Simultaneously, the dam restraining Israel's connection to its Jewish identity has burst open, as well. The political figure leading this change is MK Moshe Feiglin. Since his election to the Knesset, the person who had been portrayed as the extremist, dark and scary Jew has managed to refute existing stigmas and prove that Judaism is the source of identity, meaning and liberty for every Israeli.
With his stand on personal liberty (medical marijuana, determined opposition to religious coercion); by heralding the Jewish-moral message to the world
No more diplomatic/political fantasies produced by hypocritical Western mediators.
(demanding that China desist from organ harvesting of political prisoners); by connecting to the source of Jewish destiny ( the Temple Mount and Holy Temple); with his true and just solution for the IDF conscription debate (professional volunteer army); and his persistent adherence to Israel's right to the entire Land of Israel (annexation of Judea, Samaria and yes – Gaza) Feiglin is engendering a tectonic change in Israeli consciousness. The majority no longer fears him and his doctrine; many keenly anticipate a Jewish political renaissance.
But presenting the average Israeli with the positive benefits of the renascent Jewish message is not enough to spark a revolution. Most people will not do away with the status-quo government because of an alternative – as attractive and interesting as it may be. We can still live reasonably well, goes the Israeli mantra.
We have an Iron Dome and a solution for the terror tunnels. We'll give them a bit of a harbor, some salaries, free electricity – and we'll have quiet.
And so, the dialectic generated by the rise of the IS is positive. The IS Middle-East reality will ultimately force the Israeli to re-chart his course. Because when the Arab returns to his roots and removes his mask, the Israeli is forced to shed his counterfeit Western identity and return to his original, new-old identity.
The IS phenomenon is unfolding at breakneck speed. The Arabs are no longer playing the same old game. Israel can no longer expect to cynically buy Arab quiet with money/land/technology; No more diplomatic/political fantasies produced by hypocritical Western mediators.
Instead, Israel will have to face the truth and go for broke: justice vs. justice, destiny vs. destiny, dream vs. dream, faith vs. faith.
In order to triumph and live - and not to lose and perish - the Israeli will have to choose his Jewish identity. There is no other choice.