Sickness Unto Death

Israel, judging by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's murderously suicidal policies, is altogether determined to die. Ironically, Israel's existential enemies won't oblige this self-annihilatory determination all at once.

Prof. Louis René Beres,

Prof. Louis Rene Beres
Prof. Louis Rene Beres
israelnewsphoto: R. B.
Israel, judging by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's murderously suicidal policies, is altogether determined to die. Ironically, Israel's existential enemies won't oblige this self-annihilatory determination all at once. Instead, they will "allow" Israel to disappear slowly; first, by Sharon's volitional territorial dismemberment and then by relentless war.

This long-planned Arab Jihad will be initiated in carefully measured phases. Only when the IDF is contentedly fawning upon its own doom - an unutterable humiliation already mandated by "disengagement" - would the dissolving Jewish state become the entirely inert object of absorption into "Palestine." Significantly, so long as Israeli soldiers are commanded to deport their fellow Jews in order to create sanctuaries for Arab terrorists, such absorption would likely be undertaken without even the use of force. Facing a so-called Jewish State that indefatigably defeats itself, force would no longer be necessary.

Washington and London will be pleased. Still unable to understand that Gaza will have become the ideal staging area for mega-terrorism against America and England, leaders in the West will celebrate Israel's "incorporation" into a "democratic Palestine." Captivated by the anesthetized marketplace of empty jingles, and demanding a shared Jerusalem as the price of "fairness", their meticulously-crafted words will have a comforting ring. Yet, their solution for Middle East "peace", accompanied by massive Jewish flight and quasi-medieval expulsions, will be an exterminatory one. If present Israeli surrender trends remain constant, disengagement will begin the recognizable end of Israel and a corollary Jewish re-diasporization.

Despair, we learn from the philosopher Kierkegaard, "is the sickness unto death," and it is now Israel's likely fate to despair for a long, long while, even to a point where it might prefer to die. The torment of Israel's despair will be precisely this - that it will not be able to die, not until its enemies decide that they are ready for the moribund Jewish State, defiled and stripped of all grace, to exit the earth. To be sick in this grotesque fashion, to be sick unto death and not even to be able to die, will be, for all Israel, the cruelest blow of all.

The despairing state, like the despairing individual, cannot die. For Israel, the agonizing hopelessness - in this case, even the last hope of death will be unavailable - will entail "dying the death," actually living to experience death. This fate is so much worse than simply being allowed to die quickly, completely, blessedly. But to die and yet not to die, to actually die the death, would be for Israel a fate worse than death.

Israel probably will not be removed in the sudden spasms of an unconventional war. While this sounds like a prediction that ought to elicit far-reaching relief among all who love Israel, exactly the opposite is true. For the present Third Jewish Commonwealth may not avoid death altogether, and it will perhaps expire at the hands of its many villainous enemies. This Jewish State may die, but only after a seemingly endless period of despair in which death, paradoxically, will appear as distinctly welcome.

Thus it is that despair, this sickness in the Israeli-self, is the Jewish State's sickness unto death. The despairing Jewish State is mortally ill, but it will not be allowed to die, at least not for a while. To be delivered from this sickness unto death is impossible, unless - unless - Israel's profound sickness of the spirit is quickly understood and cured. This sickness, a rotting of Israel's Jewish soul, is vastly more dangerous than enemy armies and missiles. Although it is certainly correct that a dramatic synergy exists between enemy military might and Israel's growing "soulessness", it is the latter that breeds a virulent sickness unto death.

Israel's sickness of the spirit is not its sickness unto death. Rather, it is the pathology that leads to the sickness unto death. It is, then, an illness that leads not to death directly (that would be a relatively favorable outcome), but to death very indirectly by an extended despair. Israel's sickness of the spirit has several expressions. One is the pervasive and collective self-loathing that turns away from everything Jewish in the country's desperate search to be modern and "post-Zionist". Another is the unapologetic servility with which successive Israeli governments have capitulated to every outrageous Palestinian demand. Proceeding from one forfeiture to the next, a proudly de-Judaized Israel has neglected all obligation, dignity and common sense in its frenzied ambition to become Los Angeles.

Fear and trembling - it is time for Israel to experience these sorts of dread, to acknowledge that the Third Temple Commonwealth may not live to see a Third Temple, and to understand that it has been thinking against itself. Israel is not destined to corrupted forms of wisdom. Instead, it has consciously chosen to be "progressive" so as not to appear "too Jewish".

Whatever his politics or degree of religious devotion, no Jewish soldier of Israel has the right to forcibly expel Jews to make way for openly-declared terrorists and genociders. Not now. Not ever. In such existential matters, there is a clear and overriding obligation to identify expulsion orders as manifestly illegal. This is true not only because of the generic Nuremberg obligation of all soldiers to resist crimes of state, but also because of the specifically Jewish obligation not to be complicit in Jewish national suicide. The idea that this point should even have to be raised before a Jewish army in the post-Holocaust world reveals the grievously pitiable condition to which Israel has now allowed itself to fall.

It is not enough for the tormented Jewish soldier of Israel to weep together with his Jewish deportees. An inexcusable act is not rendered permissible because of conflicted personal feelings. Now, Israel's only hope to avoid the sickness unto death is to celebrate the stark difference between blind obedience and indispensable resistance. The raw heroism of young Israelis who sought to defy the unforgivable Gaza expulsions with every fiber of their Jewish beings is today a singular source of residual hope - a hope that Israel can still avoid the sickness unto death.

Alone, abandoned by America's mainstream Jewish establishment, ridiculed by Israel's terribly sophisticated literati and globe-trotting university professors, only these Jewish heroes, who arise in every generation, acted admirably. To prevent the delivery of Jewish land to the next generation of Arab terrorists - this was their unassailable goal. They struggled, magnificently, with a clear sense of impending and inevitable failure. So it was that their inspirational resistance manifested the very definition of civilized nobility and high tragedy.

The Palestinian Authority's appointed clergy, preaching on the Temple Mount, recently offered the following familiar sermon: "Palestinians spearhead Allah's war against the Jews. The dead shall not rise until the Palestinians shall kill all the Jews.... All agreements with Israel are provisional."

As for expected Palestinian gratitude to the United States and Great Britain for pushing Israel into the "Road Map" ambit of genocide, here is what another PA-appointed preacher said on the Gaza-based Al Quds radio station on the day following the London bombings in July: "We welcome these blessed acts...."

The Palestinian (Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad - it makes no difference) solution for "the Jews" is an openly Final Solution. As long as Israel agrees to yield to such a plan, its sickness of the spirit will spread and spread. Finally, unless it can still be reversed by the sort of Jewish heroism just displayed by the faithful Gaza resisters, it will become the sickness unto death.

[This article originally appeared in the Jewish Press.]