These Tears Mislead

Analysis: Israel's enemies like to see us crying. But they may not know the Jewish soul as well as they think they do.

Gil Ronen,

Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Bible tells us that when David, slated to become Israel's greatest king and ultimate leader, heard of the death of King Saul and his son, Jonathan, "David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan…"

David, who was also a poet and lyre player, then found inspiration in the tragedy for composing a song:

"A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel," he cried out. "How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gat, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice."

It is so, in Jewish history: even our greatest heroes allow themselves to cry when their beloved comrades fall in battle. In Jewish military tradition, while there is no need to proclaim the grief in the streets – there is no need to hide it, either.

The Israeli left wing likes to play up these Jewish tears. It offers fake comfort to the distraught nation. It promises peace. No more tears. Just give up your guns, folks. Just stop insisting so much on this piece of strategic land or another. Trust your enemy, they tell us.

The enemy likes to watch the tears. It sees them as weakness. "We celebrate death," the enemies proclaim proudly, while the softie Jews just want to live. Therefore we will outlast them and defeat them.

The past 20 years have not been good for Israel, geo-strategically. After decades of tough, keep-your-powder-dry leadership, the leftist elites led the nation into a catastrophic adventure that has cost us dearly. They abandoned their earlier moral standards and proclaimed that the terrorist child murderers whom we once looked at only through the sights of our guns were now "partners in peace."

This loss of morality exploded in our faces, in the form of burning buses and charred cafeterias, littered with smoldering human remains. The idea of retreating before terrorists produced the Great Terror War of 2000-2005 – often wrongly referred to by its Arab name, the Second Intifada, or as the "Oslo War," as if the fighting was somewhere in distant Norway, and the dead were not our own fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, children and grandchildren.

But if Jews are good at anything in this world, it is at reinventing themselves. Look at Jewish history – from Abraham, a Mesopotamian who reinvented himself as the father of the Jewish nation; through Joseph, a prisoner who reinvented himself as deputy to Pharaoh; through Moses, a leader of a slave rebellion who became the father of the Torah; all the way up to modern times, in which the Jews who had been scattered for 90 generations, a nation of wandering gypsies, were able to reinvent themselves as the Middle East's leading military power, with possession of the ultimate weapons – the weapons Iran can only dream of, and get itself into deep trouble by trying to attain.

Look at Robert Zimmerman, an orthodox Jew who turned into Bob Dylan. How Jewish is that?

Our enemies see us in our moment of weakness and they imagine us dead. Aided by a misguided Supreme Court, their "Knesset Members" make a mockery of our parliament, cursing the Jewish nation within the halls of its seat of power. Assisted by leftist Jews who, in their minds, are still living in Karl Marx's Europe, surrounded by a hostile hegemonic regime they must somehow subvert, Arab runts incited by the Palestinian Authority's primitive demagoguery climb atop IDF jeeps and believe themselves to be on the verge of victory.

All of these enemies should beware, however. Because the Jews are capable of reinventing themselves yet again. When a lack of leadership and a decline in spirit threatened the nation, the last elections brought religious-Zionist forces to the rescue, both within and without Likud. As the Middle East comes to a boil all around us, with a misguided messianic U.S. president fanning the flames, solutions to the Arab threat that were not considered possible until recently, are starting to appear more and more realistic.

Robert Zimmerman, or Bob Dylan, wrote about the Israeli condition in a song called Neighborhood Bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim

That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him

’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back

And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.

So the smarter ones in the enemy camp should not rejoice so much. All it takes is a reinvention of the Jews, and the entire map of the Middle East might be redrawn, and not in the way your leaders imagine. Jews have made more radical transformations in the past. The weapons are certainly in place, and the gunpowder is dry. Perhaps a little more trust in G-d is all that is needed for the red line to be crossed.

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