Ishmael’s peace process

Our young soldiers are left to take out the garbage Ariel Sharon
left behind in Gaza.

Jack Engelhard

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צילום: מתוך האתר האישי

During graduation ceremonies at the Army/Navy base in Haifa, the captain, a grizzled veteran of many wars, turned and said, “See these happy young faces?”

Yes, we did. Such pride. Such innocence. So young.

Then he said, “One day they will have to go to battle.” After deep reflection, he added – “and it breaks my heart.”

Today, this hour, they are in a battle to take out the garbage that Ariel Sharon left behind. Yes, Hamas. Indeed, Gaza.

Smiling faces, no more. The cost keeps going up by way of IDF blood.

Men today. Kids yesterday. Only yesterday.

Gaza, he gave to the Palestinian Muslim Arabs in 2005 and it’s been hell ever since. Three major wars. Then the tunnels. Then the fireball balloons and kites to inflict horror and death.

Today, as ever, the rockets. One woman saw it all centuries beforehand.

These kids – sorry, but at my age I am entitled – always answer when the shofar calls.  Old men make the wars. The young do the fighting.

They go in with a rifle and a prayer. They know their Bible. The Torah. They are Jewish. It is in their DNA. Is this hatred old? Is it new? It is old and new. They hear Sarah (from the chapter Vayeira) pleading with Abraham to send away Ishmael because he is unfit to inherit and because he “mocks my son Isaac.”

They hear Rashi explain the mockery: “They would go out to the field and Ishmael would take his bow and shoot arrows at Isaac.”

Sound familiar?

The full verse (originating in Proverbs) reads: “Like one who tires himself, shooting fireballs, arrows, and death.”

Pretty old that, you read it in Vayeira, and so new, you read it in the papers and watched it on TV.

The Torah. Every page a headline. Prophecy in every line. Some say Ishmael repented. No, he never repented. But he does know how to put on a good show.

The verse goes on – “Similarly is a man who tricks his friend and says, ‘Am I not merely jesting?’”

He is a trickster, after all. He shoots fireballs and arrows while calling himself a friend. The pity of it is that more than half the time it works, and leaders from around the world, even within the United States, even within Israel, fall for Ishmael’s tricks…enough so that wise men turn into fools.

Really, Mr. President, to Ishmael you offer more land carved from Isaac? Ishmael covers one fifth of the earth. Are they not numerous enough?
They give up Jewish land and surrender Jewish blood hoping that this time, maybe this time, Ishmael can be trusted.

Really, Mr. President, to Ishmael you offer more land carved from Isaac? Ishmael covers one fifth of the earth. Are they not numerous enough?

Do we never learn? Or are we bound to repeat Sharon’s terrible mistake over and over again?

If only the world of men had the clarity, wisdom and prophetic instinct of this one woman who warned and saw it all coming – Mother Sarah.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He is the author of the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and most recently the classic noir novel “Slot Attendant,” plus the two inside journalism thrillers “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “News Anchor Sweetheart, Hollywood Edition.” Engelhard is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: