It's early in the morning. Max Nordau invites his friend, Vladimir Jabotinsky, for a coffee before the War of Independence, lamenting a Jewish reality that Moses already knew well in his time: "The Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won't open his umbrella under a cloudy sky; he waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia."
Time has passed and the sovereign State of Israel has a large and impressive military force. Has the "Jewish" principle mentioned above remained the same? One cannot deny there have been situations in which the country's leaders recognized danger and fought it, such as the Six-Day War, the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq and, most recently, the intensive debate over the Iranian nuclear issue. But when it comes to counter-terrorism, the track Israel has followed is reminiscent of a self-designed obstacle course.
Since terrorists became able to breach Israel's borders, starting essentially with our fight against them in the First Lebanon War, Israel's relationship to terror has changed drastically. The Oslo Accords and, later, the Gaza disengagement, were both direct continuations of our folly. In an unprecedented manner, in line with international perceptions, Israel has allowed the victim and the killer to reside on the same moral plane. The resounding failure of the above-mentioned programs for "peace" is a direct result of this moral fault. We must correct our fault with similar moral dedication.
The current operation, Pillar of Defense, is one signal of this correction. The moment the order was given to assassinate the head of Hamas terrorism, Ahmed Jabari, it was already clear that it would significantly change the "balance of the threat," which is nothing but a fiction in any case. Israel's offensive capacity obviously far exceeds that of the terrorists, and we must approach the situation as such.
The national resilience and economic strength of the State of Israel are not even on the same scale as those of the terrorist organizations and their patrons. Even if we remove, with understandable reluctance, the efficacy of the Iron Dome from our consideration, Hamas still doesn't have the capability to make decisions against Israel under any circumstances.
Since everyone else is discussing the IDF's plans, I would like to ask what Hamas is thinking. Has our Oslo consciousness paralyzed our ability to ask insistently what we ever did to them, the Arabs, to cause them to hate us so? What did we steal from them? Suppose we are in Israel at their expense, as they claim: This area of 25,000 square kilometers (9,653 square miles) is only one 500th of all the Arab territories, ours after seven wars and millions of refugees in ghettos for 65 years. What are their leaders thinking? What about their citizens? Let us examine the contributions of the Arab world since the start of the 20th century, outside of oil, fire and pillars of smoke. How could the Arab world, once rooted in high culture and science, turn into one based on oppression and so much contempt for human life?
Why emphasize these questions? Because the time has come to get off of the dangerous road of policy programs and peace processes, which are the direct route to self-deception. The current government must follow the lead of its predecessors regarding terrorism: a military response to match the height of the terrorism, and not a drop more. The Iron Dome system has been implemented; in engineering-science terms, it represents an almost unmatched peak of achievement. The barrage of rockets continues despite the Iron Dome's protection.
Now the equation changes. This time around, the head of the Hamas military has been removed from the picture. This sent a signal to Iran that its forward position here is in true danger and its ability to launch rockets has fallen significantly. This is a signal to Israeli politicians that the threat of regional war from a year ago with "thousands of missiles" is baseless.
The number of missiles Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon have from Iran is limited. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's threats to help his "brothers in the south" has proved, once again, to be empty. Likewise Syria, the third axis of evil, is busy with its internal ethnic cleansing at the moment.
Returning to the wonderful image of Max Nordau is refreshing. The umbrellas were opened by a government committed to peace for its citizens. When this battle in the south ends, we will have to ask a few rhetorical questions, which at the moment are on hold for those who form public opinion. What would happen if Israel were to disengage completely from Judea and Samaria as it did in Gaza? There is no need even to use imagination to figure that one out.
The writer is the director of Professors for a Strong Israel, a right-wing group of professors that describes itself as a “non-partisan organization of academics united by a shared concern for the security and the Jewish character of the State of Israel."