There are few nations on Earth other than Israel with a greater claim to exist as a homeland for a specific people. Along with China and India, Israel reaches back thousands of years, predating both Christianity and Islam.
For some 3,500 years, Jews have lived in Israel. In good times and bad, Jews have always identified themselves with Israel even when, as a Diaspora, they spread for their survival to many other nations. The re-establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948 led to two immediate events. Within eleven minutes after the announcement, President Harry S. Truman recognized the new nation. Within hours, the Arab League declared war.
With only six hundred thousand Jewish residents at the time, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq joined together to destroy Israel. They failed. They tried again in 1967. They failed. They tried in 1973, attacking on one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. They failed.
Following the 1967 war, eight Arab nations gathered in Khartoum and issued their "Three No's." No peace with Israel. No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel. In time, Egypt would sign a peace treaty; though not abandon its animus. Jordan would make its accommodations. The others remained hostile.
To understand Israel's situation, it is necessary to understand that (1) Jews had lived there since the days of Moses, (2) the early Zionist movement members that moved there purchased land on which to farm and live, (3) the land which was captured in successive wars had always been part of Israel, and (4) both the United Kingdom and the U.S., for their own reasons, have not been honest brokers, particularly in so far as their demand that Israel negotiate with people who never had any intention to negotiate peace.
The Israelis did not steal their own land, nor are they illegitimate "occupiers" of their land regained as the result of having been attacked. What they gained in wars against them historically was always theirs and had been denied to them by the Arab nations that claimed them.
Israel has never known a day of true peace in just over sixty years of its modern existence. In his latest book, "The Late Great State of Israel," Aaron Klein spells out why Israel is closer to destruction than anyone might imagine except for its implacable enemies.
I want Israel to exist and to thrive, but I find it unsurprising that a totally Muslim region, the Middle East and throughout the Maghreb, the Islamic northern nations of Africa, would see Israel through their xenophobic lens as in invasion by the West; by European Jews who began settling there in the early 1900s, by the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, by the host of Russian Jews granted permission to leave the former Soviet Union, and even the many Jews who felt compelled to flee Arab nations following Israel's founding.
While Jews had always lived in Israel, the Arabs who lived there prior to its establishment identified themselves loosely as citizens of pre-World War One Syria. The land had known many conquerors, dating back to the Romans who renamed the nation Palestine in a vain effort to remove its Jewish history. Muslims fought many wars, including the Crusades, to extend and maintain their control over Jerusalem Their utter scorn and contempt for Israel and the Jews is found in the Koran and infuses Islam as does its core belief that all religions must bow down to Allah.
Christians know the fall of the Jewish state to present-day Muslim invaders would mark the end of any opportunity to visit the birthplace and ministry of Jesus and would be taken as a sign that Christianity was vulnerable wherever it is practiced. In many towns and cities of Israel where Christians had lived for centuries, they have been forced to flee before the hostility of Muslim "neighbors."
Herein is the warning that Klein issues in his book. Those who would destroy Israel are not just external, they include (1) the Arab nations surrounding it and the so-called Palestinian "refugees" laying claim to it, (2) the United Nations that has supported the Palestinians since 1950 along with its endless resolutions singling out Israel as racists, and (3) even the largely unreported aid that the U.S. has given to Fatah, the alleged Palestinian Authority with whom Israel is supposed to negotiate peace.
Other than (4) Iran that has openly threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", the latest threat is (5) the Obama administration that is demanding a two-state accommodation with the Palestinians that they have always refused to accept because their goal is Israel's destruction.
To put the U.S. demands that Israel stop building settlements in the disputed West Bank and other areas in perspective, consider that, according to the World Almanac, Israel is comprised of 7,849 square miles. By comparison, New Jersey is 8,721 square miles. Imagine, then, if the federal government insisted that New Jersey cede Delaware all the area from Atlantic City to the Delaware border?
Internally, from its founding, Israel has been divided between its socialist and largely secular Jews, the men and women who took up Zionism as an answer to the bigotry Jews faced in Europe pre-dating the Holocaust, and the religious Jewish community who see Israel as the fulfillment of the Torah prophesy and as the center of world Judaism. This latter group has always felt the scorn of Israel's secular Jewish government.
Without delving into the complexities of Israeli politics, Klein makes a strong case that Israelis in recent times have been ill-served by the secular Likud and former PM Ariel Sharon's Kadima parties. The withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the 2006 short war led by Hezbollah shattered the image of Israel's impregnable and powerful military capabilities.
Israel's forced removal from Gaza of its longtime Jewish residents, its abandonment to the Palestinians, and the recent military action against Hamas simply demonstrates that the Palestinians have figured out a way to demoralize Israelis with constant rocket attacks. Giving Gaza to the Palestinians merely created a new staging area for attacks.
For now I will take some small comfort that Benjamin Netanyahu is once again Israel's Prime Minister, but unless Israel is prepared to assert its right to its ancient and re-conquered land;
Unless it destroys the Iranian nuclear facilities for an America too weak or unwilling to address this necessity;
Unless it refuses the wrongful demands to turn over Jerusalem, its holiest sites, and other Jewish cities from their control;
Israel's future may disappear in a nuclear cloud. There has been one Holocaust in my lifetime. I do not want to witness another.
At stake is more than Israel's right to exist. The failure to support and protect Israel puts the entire basis and future of Western civilization at risk.