|Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.|
Afterwards I read all I could about Israel. I learned more about the Holocaust than the pablum fed me by high school text books. I read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Leon Uris' epic novel, Exodus. I read how Mossad captured and brought to justice Adolph Eichmann. I listened to Israeli folk music along with the Beatles. As much as any secular gentile could, I fell in love with the nation of Israel. I still am viscerally in love. Leave out my brain and my gut would support her unconditionally. This is why I ache every time I criticize her, as I often do these days.
One of the reasons I respected Israel was the honor with which they fought which was in sharp contract to how the US Army behaved in Vietnam. Only very much later did I discover that this philosophy had a name, the Purity of Arms, and as a creed predated the State of Israel and was the basic principle of the Haganah and Palmach. All this began is change in 1973.
Yom Kippur War
|Sea of Galilee with the Golan Heights in the distance.|
For the first time since 1948, significant number of Israelis had been captured. While Egypt treated their prisoners well, the Syrians tortured and murdered their captives.
The result of the war was a nervous Israel that was no longer completely certain it could defend itself.
Rise of Likud
Menachem Begin founded Israel's Likud Party in 1973. He also once led the Jewish terrorist group Irgun. Unlike the Haganah, the Irgun never subscribed to the philosophy of Purity of Arms. Begin and his allies believed that any tactic in defense of Israel was valid.
Since the 1930's, the Irgun believed that all territory described as Palestine was rightfully part of the Land of Israel.
|The Irgun foresaw modern Jordan in the nation of Israel.|
With the rise of Likud Jewish settlements on the West Bank blossomed. Hell, they metastasized. Seventeen percent of the 2.5 million people living on the West Bank are Israeli settlers.
The other lesson is one nobody should learn, how to treat other people like sub-human animals. Nowhere is that lesson more obvious than in the West Bank Security Fence.
Israel has surrounded the Palestinian population of the West Bank with prison walls. The walls are supposed to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks within Israel and I have no doubt they accomplish that goal. The price is turning Palestine Arabs into a nation of prisoners and turning Israelis into a nation of cruel jailers. While I believe Adolph Eichmann would view the Wall as an eminently practical solution I also believe that David Ben Gurion would be repulsed by the very idea.
|The Nazis built a similar wall around the Jewish population of Warsaw.|
So where do I stand now? My viscera are steadfast, they support Israel whatever she does. The rest of me is troubled. Israel is no longer the noble Jewish warrior nation. They have attacked the civilian population of Gaza with chemical weapons. They treat Palestinian Arabs like animals, caging them behind high walls. And they have reneged on many of their negotiated deals.
I want to love her but she is making it impossibly difficult. And I can't believe what she is doing will lead to a lasting peace.