There is a groundswell of support in Israel for the soldier that shot a ‘neutralized’ terrorist as he lay on the ground. Although he has been arrested and may be tried for manslaughter or at least violating rules of engagement, the spirit of the country is with him.
The usual suspects, like Gideon Levy, think that the soldier (and the country) are “monsters.” They are wrong. They are making a mistake in geography. They haven’t noticed that Israel is located in the Middle East; or, having noticed, they would prefer it to be elsewhere, like Europe. But you see how well that has worked out for Europe!
Liberal American Jews make a similar mistake. They would like Israel to be in California. I don’t think that would work out so well, either.
Israel is a Middle-Eastern country. An exceptional one, with highly advanced science and technology and a decent economy and a relatively free and democratic system of governance. But Middle-Eastern nevertheless.
I don’t know why Levy and his ilk are so surprised. Half of the population has recent roots in Arab countries. Our religion and ethical principles developed here, even though they took something from the years of Diaspora. Since before the founding of our state, our neighbors have been teaching us about life in the Middle East the hard way.
Herzl thought Altneuland would be a more tolerant version of Germany, but that isn’t what happened. Not surprising, actually.
Honor is important in the Middle East. Families and clans are important in the Middle East. The Jewish people is in a sense a large clan (the ‘Palestinians’ would like to be a people in that sense, but they don’t have the history. They are trying to make it up).
In the last 6 months or so 34 Israeli Jews (and several Arabs) have been murdered on our streets, in stores and homes, and at bus stops. The murders have been incited by official and social Palestinian media. The killers try especially hard to kill soldiers and police, particularly young women. Tacit (and sometimes overt) approval comes from the Palestinian Authority, as well as support and admiration for the murderers. To the disgust of Levy and friends, our human, Jewish and Middle Eastern response has been “when they rise up to kill you, kill them first.”
Levy and others have a vision of a secular, Western state, a state in which the protection of the rights of Arabs – even while they are trying to kill us – takes priority over the pain of their victims. This might work in a place like the US or Germany with their resources and power – although the signs of decay there are becoming more and more evident – but it does not fly in a tiny Middle Eastern country surrounded by enemies.
Levy writes: “The People of Israel lives, and will continue to do so, its country is strong and steadfast and it will apparently survive forever. But this place will become impossible and intolerable for anyone who thinks differently.”
He is correct.