Daniel Gordis’ latest dispatch is called One Day Forgotten Eight Worth Remembering. As with most of his dispatches I thought that it was good. Here are some selections that caught my eye:
“Those were days of broken sieges. Of leaders larger than life. Of courage and resolve in the face of aggression, and savoir-faire in the face of complexity. And now â€¦ November 1947 seems like a different country, doesn’t it?
Or maybe it’s because in 1947 Jews understood that they were going to have to fight for what little territory they had. This country’s filled with graves of survivors of Europe’s atrocities who were saved from Europe, brought here by boat, and upon disembarking, given a rifle and sent to the front. Lots of them survived, but many didn’t. And some were killed before anyone here even knew who they were. So they’re buried in cemeteries across the country, un-named, with nothing on their tombstone but the day that they were killed, and in the name of the battle in which they lost their lives.
The late 40’s and the early 50’s were years in which Israel’s borders were notoriously porous, the IDF largely unable to stop the attacks of the Fedayeen. But no one ran. Kibbutzim guarded. And the IDF, still in its infancy, retaliated as best it could. And eventually, the attacks stopped. Because back then, there was no moving us.
Today, when Kassams rain across the border into Sderot and the other town surrounding the Gaza border, the response is muted. A response here, a response there, always aimed at the (largely) innocent Palestinians from whose neighborhoods the Kassams are being fired, and not at the leadership of Hammas in Gaza City who ordered the firing in the first place. So, eventually, tragedies like Beit Hanun will happen, and when they do, and when Israel is the recipient of the world’s opprobrium, the IDF silences its canons. And Hamas learns its lesson â€“ there’s no cost to shelling Israeli towns that are in undisputed Israeli territory (unless you’re Hamas and the whole thing is disputed). Israel has lost its resoluteness.
Israelis are tired of fighting, Hamas has figured out. Time is on Hamas’ side. A few more years of this, a bit more of that, and the Israelis will move again. Out of Lebanon. Out of Gaza. Where will they abandon next? Sderot? Ashkelon? This time, they fled Sderot for Eilat for a few days. But for how long, next time? Sure, they’ll respond here and there, but the fire in the belly is gone. Just keep it up, they’ve decided. It’s just a matter of time. Is it possible that Ahmadinejad isn’t as wacko as we’d like to think when he says that Zionism is almost over?
Remember all the years when Kiryat Shmona was under Katyusha attack from the North? When kibbutzim were attacked from Syria, Jofrdan and Egypt? Who ran? Who fled? Who waited for a Russian billionaire to send them to Eilat for a few days?”