We are not the Crusaders

Our enemies are deluded by recollections of the Crusades, where after centuries, the Christian invaders were forced to relinquish their power and territory in the Middle East.

Rabbi Berel Wein,

Rabbi Berel Wein
Rabbi Berel Wein
pr

 TOUGH TIMES

Unfortunately, it seems that things are heating up in our part of the world again. An Iranian pilotless drone invaded Israeli airspace and was shot down by an Israeli attack helicopter. Israel then mounted an attack against anti-aircraft facilities in Syria and during that operation an Israeli fighter jet was shot down. The two crewmembers of the downed jet were able to eject from the plane and one of the pilots remains in serious condition but hopefully will survive and recover.

Our enemies are relentless and resourceful and openly declare their intent to destroy us, God forbid. Because of this, the situation remains very volatile and tense, though life goes on as normal on the streets and in the homes of the Jewish state. However, there is no question that an underlying tension has infiltrated Israeli life and the military and political leaders of Israel openly speak about the next war as though it were a certainty.

The deterrent power of Israel is enormous but fanatical enemies who are willing to destroy themselves for the sake of fulfilling some fantasy are usually not deterred from attempting to fulfill that mission no matter how great the cost or how foolish the outcome will ultimately be for them.

Theodore Roosevelt's famous statement to tread softly and carry a big stick certainly applies to us in the current situation. However, restraint is a two-way street and we do not see much restraint from our enemies on the northern and southern borders of our country.

Over the 70 years of Israel's existence we have been forced to fight many wars of varying intensities, almost on a daily basis. Not only has this not weakened our spirit and resolve but, in a curious way, it has helped to create the first world country that Israel now is. Our enemies force us to stand together, to be innovative and creative both militarily and diplomatically, and their enmity enables us to see that we have little choice but to stand strong, ready to defend ourselves at all costs.

Iran is not interested in the cause of the Palestinians or in helping them to create a viable state of their own. Its sole and main interest is the destruction of the state of Israel. It intends to do so, God forbid, by fighting proxy wars on the borders of Israel and shooting rockets into all of our towns and cities. It will fight to the last terrorist of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Driven by religious fanaticism and dreams of a great Persian Empire that will control the entire Middle East, it risks war and destruction, but it should be reminded that the destruction would not be one-sided. Hitler promised the German people that Berlin would never be bombed. By the end of World War II there was scarcely a building left standing in Berlin and for that matter anywhere in Germany.

People should not foolishly be swept into conflict for as the true saying goes anyone can start a war but it is extremely difficult to extricate oneself from a war in progress. All sides should bear this in mind.

We all pray and hope for the normalcy of peaceful times. There is no war party that exists in the Israeli political spectrum. But we are not a defeatist nation either. One would think that after 70 years and a century of Jewish society here in the Land of Israel, somehow the other governments and countries of the region would have accommodated the reality of the existence of the Jewish state in its ancient homeland.

Our enemies are deluded by recollections of the Crusades, where after centuries the Christian invaders were forced to relinquish their power and territory in the Middle East. But the Crusaders never settle the country and never built a government, a society, and a strong political entity here in the Middle East. They holed themselves up in castles and fortresses and did nothing to develop the land and accommodate its population.

It is a terrible mistake on the part of our enemies to somehow confuse us as being the same as the Crusaders. After all of the wars and struggles that have marked the last 70 years of our existence as an independent nation here in the Middle East, one would have hoped that the realities and practicalities of the region would have tempered their hatred and aggression.

Apparently, this has not as yet occurred and we are still live in a very dangerous and volatile area of the world. There is no doubt that we will persevere. Let us pray that it will be at a minimal cost to all involved.


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