Friday, July 18, 2008
Remembering Entebbe: Israel Then and Now
Cross posted from The Jerusalem Connection
Thursday, July 17, 2008
By: Naomi Ragen
I was a new oleh when the PFLP and two Germans hijacked a plane full of Israelis to Entebbe. I remember well those nail-biting days, the moral dilemma of freeing dangerous terrorists for live hostages; the idea that negotiations would just lead to more hijackings. But what other choice did we have? After all, they were in Uganda, so far away.
We found a way.
I will never forget the morning of July 4, 1976, waking up to the news. Our soldiers had gone in, at great personal risk. They had saved almost everyone, and killed the terrorists. We were not helpless victims anymore, the Jews. No, we were clever, and resourceful and courageous. We showed the world how to behave. We led the way.
I wake up this morning of July 16, 2008 with quite another feeling. Our soldiers, kidnapped on our own land, not across any international border, are brought back to us in caskets after two years of sadistic playfulness with the hearts of their families by Hezbollah terrorists, who led us to believe they were alive. And in exchange for dead bodies, we turn over a despicable baby-killer, Sami Kuntar.
Oh, you will hear the boosters of the Israeli government sigh. What can we do? We are civilized and they are not. We care about our soldiers and their families.
No, I'm afraid you do not. If you cared, then you would have a death penalty for people like Kuntar, so that they too can be released in caskets. And if you cared, you would be intelligent enough, seeing our soldiers brought back to us dead, to have put a bullet through Kuntar and then turned him over to his friends.
Civilized is a euphemism for weak and helpless. Civilized is not a moral value, because we all know what Western civilization is capable of. Concentration camps. Civilian round-ups, the gassing of children. All this under the banner of laws and policemen and governments. On the other hand, the moral thing to do to a triedand convicted murderer like Kuntar is to spill his blood, because he has spilled the blood of others. That may not fit in with current civilized niceties, but let no one say it is immoral.
When it comes to immoral, to release Kuntar to a hero's welcome and the opportunity to murder others is on the top of the scale.
My government, the Israeli government, arranged this. They let it happen. They oversaw it and implemented it.
I am deeply ashamed to be an Israeli today. And I'm not very proud of being a Jew either, if this is how a Jewish country behaves. To lead the world in ever more despicable acts of appeasement is nothing to be proud of. The torch we always carried, the "light unto the nations" has been blown out by the hot-air of our politicians.
If we cared about our soldiers, we would not be showing our enemies that kidnapping and terrorism pay. We would not be setting the stage for the next murderous terrorist raid and hostage standoff. We would be passing laws with a mandatory death penalty for convicted terrorists with blood on their hands, as well as their accomplices. We would be making these laws retroactive. Then, we would be cutting off all water and electricity to Gaza until Gilad Shalit is released. If that didn't work, we'd begin executions within one week, increasing the number of convicted terrorists facing firing squads with each passing day until Gilad is returned to us safe and sound. And if that didn't work, we would begin daily bombings of Gaza, with the same number and frequency of attacks that our own city Sderot has suffered over the past three years from the Gazans. Not civilized? Perhaps. But moral. Extremely moral.
My fantasy is that Israelis will rise up and overturn the political system which has left them with the dregs of their nation as leaders- a bunch of self-serving crooks and syncophants who will do anything to stay in office; an electoral system in which a party like Kadima, with its collection of felons and moral imbeciles, who got only 23% of the vote, is allowed to rule us into the ground. We have Mr. Olmert, and Ms. Livni, and Mr. Peres, and Mr. Ramon (a convicted sex offender, who is now in line to take over from Olmert) and many, many others to thank, for creating this day of infamy.
May G-d redeem us from them.
A note from Radarsite. There will be no objective and well-reasoned reaction here to this superb essay. I love this article! I love the anger and the passion and the clarity. Damn. This is what it's all about. Are only our dim-witted enemies capable of fire in the belly?
"Civilized is a euphemism for weak and helpless." Precisely. This has always been the problem with 'refined' societies. They refine their natural warrior spirit out of their societal persona. They become overly self-indulgent, and at the same time, overly self-incriminating. All violence is wrong, they say. No matter what the provocation, violence is never the answer, they say.
Well, they are simply wrong. Monumentally wrong. Existentially wrong. If this was a non-violent world then perhaps we could do without the martial spirit; we could all become philosophers and poets. But, alas, our bloodthirsty adversaries will not be deterred by philosophical dissertations or plaintive poems. They will however be deterred by the prospects of sudden violent death or the promise of lifelong incarceration. They will be deterred by an unwavering strength of will and a determined resolve.
Although our author's heartfelt lament is aimed primarily at the sadly weakened State of Israel, everything said about Israel could just as easily have been said about the United States and our entire western world.
There is no known substitute for courage. And sometimes courage means the willingness to inflict violence to stave off violence. There is also no known substitute for victory.
Bravo Naomi Ragen! I applaud your passion and your righteous cause.
God save Israel and the West! - rg
Email from Naomi Ragen:
That's great, many thanks.