22 March '17..
Former Mossad Director Tamir Pardo, speaking at a security and strategy conference hosted by the Netanya Academic College Tuesday, outlined a bleak vision for Israel's future unless the Palestinian issue is resolved. He blamed Israel for burying its head in the sand and ignoring an existential threat.
One can only wonder why he made this statement, as if there is one thing Israel's governments have focused on more than any other issue, it is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This topic has also been the primary focus of public discourse and the media for about a century. Unlike the Jewish-Israeli side, the Arab-Palestinian side has never consented to declaring an end to the conflict and all demands, even if they were met in full.
I'm convinced that when it comes to daring Mossad operations, Pardo was able to think "outside the box," but when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict he mutters something about occupation, the demographic problem, and what kind of country we will bequeath our children.
Pardo spoke of the "occupation" in Judea and Samaria -- but Israel is no longer present in the Gaza Strip and it is still seen as an occupier. And what of Israeli Arabs? Does having the right to vote mitigate their "occupation"? The Arab sector's leadership does not accept their Israeli citizenship and strives to revoke Israel's Jewish nature. Do prisoners who have the right to vote for their wardens feel any freer?
As for the demographic issue, Pardo named the Palestinians in Gaza as a threat to Zionism and Israel's Jewish character. Why? Gaza harbors an independent Hamas entity. As for Judea and Samaria, Pardo spoke of between 2 million and 2.5 million Palestinians. But for more than a decade now, a serious population survey has been challenging demographers who have been intimidating us with an Arab majority from the time of Israel's inception till now. The survey was published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and its findings, which speak of 1.75 million or fewer Palestinians, have been confirmed by Nicholas Eberstadt, a senior demographer at the American Enterprise Institute.
Moreover, tens of thousands of Palestinians leave each year: Lt. Col. Eyal Zeevi of the Civil Administration estimates that some 175,000 Palestinians have left Judea and Samaria via the Allenby crossing in the past 15 years alone. What about those who left through other border crossings?
Like other defense and political official, Pardo speaks of "resolving" the Palestinian issue, but are they willing to shake off their fixation and dare think that there might not be a solution? The solution is linked to the causal perception of Western philosophy, which seeks a cause for every phenomenon; therefore, if we find the cause of the problem, we can find a solution.
This is a rationalist view that assumes both sides share a similar perception of reality and similar values. Look around -- do we share a similar rationale? Even the perception of time in the Middle East is different than that of the West. In this sphere, the cradle of human civilization, not every problem has a solution, and 100 years are a mere blip on a continuum spanning millennia.
Only 73 years ago, in 1944, the extermination of the Jews reached its peak. Within a few months more than 500,000 Jews, transported from Hungary to the death camps, had been exterminated. At the same time, the Jewish community in British Palestine numbered less than 500,000 Jews. Logic did not lend itself to the possibility of establishing an independent Jewish state only four years later while overcoming superior armies; and it certainly did not lend itself to the possibility that a million immigrants would make aliyah a decade later. Even a fictional book whose plot would have raised the possibility that the Jewish state would be in economic, security, cultural, scientific, religious and technological position it is today, would have been branded as madness.
The opinions of Pardo and other defense officials are no better than anyone else's. The former Mossad chief's expertise lies with defending Israel, but he is no expert on Israel's future or the Zionist objective. Pardo has chosen a side in an ancient debate between two schools of history: revolution versus slow evolution; hasten the end versus those opposing calculating it.
The Prophet Isaiah, speaking of the redemption of the land and the people, resolved this issue, saying, "The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least a mighty nation; I the Lord will hasten it in its time" (Isaiah 60:22). The latter five words illustrate the difference between those subscribing to the "hasten it" school of thought, who would see the end come sooner rather than later; and those subscribing to the "in its time" school of thought, who are patient and believe that redemption will come in due time, in a historical process more solid than any doomsday prophecy.
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