Calling arson just that - arson

The enemies of Israel are ablaze with joy, but they do not understand the strength of the Jewish people, whose flame of survival burns in their souls.

Dr. Inna Rogatchi

OpEds שריפה

From November 22nd, 2016, Israel is on fire, for several days straight on. Given the climate, the weather, the wind, the impact of what some world media call ‘a wildfire’ is disastrous. Our Land is burning, and much of it is in inhabited areas. The fires broke out near hospitals, schools, fire and police stations. Yeshivas and synagogues are burned. At the moment of the writing this article, 85 thousand people have been evacuated in the matter of three-four days.

The "nice, peace-loving" Arab world, the one which controls UNESCO nowadays, is celebrating openly, and the best photos picturing the most devastating scenes could be found in the Arab media. I wonder, will a new resolution be adopted by UNESCO soon certifying online incitement as the expression of peace? It is logical in the world in which we are living now, the one where normality has become a luxury and definitely seems to be hard to find.

While a terrible disaster was being inflicted upon Israel, the world media were totally silent for three days, which is simply unprecedented in the modern world of communications. Only on the fourth day, some news started to appear, still sticking stubbornly to ‘wildfire’ as the main term, with some adding that Israelis are thinking that this might be premeditated activity. Oh, really?

Anyone who is not blind and who has glanced at a devastatingly clear map of the locations of fires consuming the Israeli land now sees immediately that the action is co-ordinated and organized. Anyone, except some people who have the nerve to call themselves ‘experts’ and even ‘experts on terrorism and counter-terrorism’ and who are daring to go public in several publications in the media,  and to start to lecture the all of us on what it is advisable and not advisable to call the fires. I am not surprised, there are always people like that who seize a bit of an attention at any hour.

But those ‘experts’ are Israelis, and this is shocking. I do not know about their political orientation, and I do not care, actually – because a fire is characterized as ‘FIRE!’ precisely when you run to help your neighbour with a bucket of water despite the fact that he might vote for the opposite party. Fire means destruction.

What has struck me is that at this very moment, such a moment of wide-spread disaster, there are people – and there are publications – warning us from using the ‘Fire Intifada’ term, and lecturing us to the effect that these swiping fires all over the country are not intentional ones.

People who have the arrogance to come out with this certified irrelevance at the moment when their country and their people are in danger, have done themselves a grave disservice Their ‘expertise’ looks undeniably pathetic. And – if they were counting on being invited for a nice lecture-tour to the US, as many of their colleagues of the same type did in recent years, they might have miscalculated heavily, with the forthcoming US Administration. The people responsible for the security there are known for calling arson just that - arson. What a novelty, what a daring thing to do. Only Europe left now for these absurd exercises, but the tours there are not that lucrative.

We see the photo of the burned down synagogue in Haifa with destroyed books, opened, on the table – and we lose our sleep. And then we hear the absolutely appropriate and so very timely voice of the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat  Shmuel Eliahu saying “According to the Jewish Law, it is certainly allowed and a mitzvah to break the Shabbat in order to stop a fire and perpetrators of fires. And if needed – shoot at them”. And the great Rabbi Eliahu continued with his hopes for the IDF and Police leadership giving clear orders to the officers and soldiers to act in accordance with the danger imposed by the arson terror.

But again, immediately after the Rabbi Eliahu’s statement, some of the Israeli politicians, those from Yesh Atid party, publicly called for bringing him on trial on the charges of incitement. Of course, political populism never dies, and there are some politicians who feel themselves in their hour of glory only in the face of circumstances of general threat which they misinterpret for their own public boost. That’s why they always fail, being victims of their own stupidity and mendacity.

The country and its people need, acutely, their leadership’s resolve, swift action and determination to deal with yet another war against us swiftly and resolutely.

This is also quite an important psychological way of dealing with terrorists: once hearing clearly from the authorities that each of them will be dealt with at the spot, the number of would be perpetrators will be halved in no time. This is real counter-terrorism expertise, in real life. 

It is in real life that people in Israel are watching as their homes are disappearing in fires, where nothing is left and nothing could be done. It is in real life when very good and bright and soulful artist Yoram Raanan’s studio and the house and garden which he planted and built, with all his art work gone, a tragedy of its own, and symbolic picture of the pain felt by Israel and the Jewish world.

And that’s why the enemies of Israel are ablaze with joy now, and this is what the enemies of Jewish people are celebrating of at the moment. 

But there should be no mistake: the enemies of Jewish people and Israel always lose and they will always lose again for one simple reason which they are unable to comprehend, genetically so: we are created to live, and our will for life is indestructible. We will re-plant our forests and our homes, as we always did and always will. That’s why we are the chosen people, for our will and ability of survival. The destruction makes us stronger. The entire world’s history is a clear proof of that.

And we are strong enough to call arson what it is - arson, and to deal with it as one deals with fire: to distinguish it, even on Shabbat when our lives and the life of our country is in danger.

Dr Inna Rogatchi is writer, scholar and political analyst. She is the President of The Rogatchi Foundation and the Senior International Affairs adviser to the Members of the European Parliament.