I once tried to plant a bougainvillea in my garden. It was beautiful in spring and summer, but when a heavy winter arrived my lovely plant dried and died, since it was not suitable for the climate in central Italy.
Israel that celebrates 71 years of existence and resistance is like that bougainvillea: It has taken root in very hostile conditions, literally sprung from nothing, putting down roots of freedom, modernity, democracy, rights, culture and tolerance in a region that had never known these and where these roots had always died.
Melanie Phillips, Europe’s most brave supporter of Israel, once said: “The issue of Israel sits at the very apex of the fight to defend civilization. Those who want to destroy Western civilization need to destroy the Jews, whose moral precepts formed its foundation stones”.
Another British journalist, Julie Burchill, declared that if Israel were to be “wiped out” then “we will be wiped out, too, all of the modern world and its achievements—swept back into the Dark Ages mulch from whence we came”. In that sense, Burchill sees Israel as representing “mankind”. They are both right.
These 71 years of Israel have been an extraordinary moment of contradictions. After all these years Israel has not yet definitive frontiers, the world does not recognize its eternal capital, it does not have a constitution and it celebrated its birthday a few days after 700 rockets were fired on its southern citizens. That is why America, the last really free Western nation, is so strongly pro-Israel. Because it gets the most important issue, which is why the West's enemies are fighting so hard to destroy that Jewish enclave.
“Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security”, the late secretary of state Alexander Haig said. But Israel is not only a military carrier. It carries all the Western values we cherish and love as well.
In an interview with Le Monde in 1982, the Nobel Prize laureate for Literature Saul Bellow said: “I am completely involved in the the survival of Israel, I would consider its destruction a universal disaster”.
For this reason, to those who set foot there for the first time, Israel shocks with a very pleasant sense of dizziness. Israel is like a fata morgana in the desert that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon. Israel is a mirage. It resembles my bougainvillea. But one taking roots so deeply that is impossible to uproot it.