OpinionMiddle East

Jihad: An existential threat to Israel

The problem is not complicated, but it is terrifying. We have ignored it for too long, hoping it would go away.

A Palestinian jihadist in Hebron, May 12, 2021. Photo by Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
A Palestinian jihadist in Hebron, May 12, 2021. Photo by Wissam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
Micha Lakin Avni. Credit: Dror Dray via Wikimedia Commons.
Micah Lakin Avni
Micah Lakin Avni is an Israeli attorney, businessman and activist.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem.

Today, Israel is engaged militarily at varying levels of intensity on seven fronts: Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Iran. And the situation is getting worse every day. We have a problem. A big, existential problem. We must confront it head-on with courage and determination. There is no alternative.

The next step to solving a problem is to define it clearly. Albert Einstein once said, “The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.” His insight is true of all problems, not just physics.

There were many mistakes made by our political, military and security leaders in the years before Oct. 7. These will be scrutinized and discussed for a long time. Investigations are necessary to hold people accountable, to restore trust in our governmental system, and most importantly, to learn from our errors and prevent them from happening again. Some of the mistakes are complex and need thorough analysis, but others are so obvious that we should address them immediately. We cannot afford to delay or ignore them. Our survival depends on it.

The problem we face is not complicated, but it is terrifying. We have ignored it for too long, hoping it would go away. But it won’t. It is like a cancer that grows around us, and we need to face it before it is too late.

The West is facing a growing threat from jihadist Islam, whose goal is to destroy the infidels (Jews and Christians) and spread their faith. They make no secret of their agenda, and they pursue it relentlessly. Across Africa, Europe and the United States, jihadists are spreading their influence, recruiting followers, establishing networks, radicalizing communities and unleashing terror. They are playing a long game, progressing steadily and methodically. Over Christmas, Muslim extremists killed 195 Christians, including many women and children, in Nigeria. This was barely reported in the mainstream media. The horrific attacks in New York on 9/11, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Manchester, London, Mumbai and Nice in the years that followed have faded from the public memory, disappearing into history along with almost 50,000 other jihadist terror attacks in the past 40 years. This trend is only increasing in frequency and intensity, but for some unfathomable reason, we turn a blind eye.

Israel is at the forefront of this war. We face constant attacks from radical Muslim groups that operate from Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iran. These groups may have different names and forms—Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, Ansar Allah—but they share a common ideology: the spread of Islam through jihad. They are also largely influenced by the same puppeteer, Iran. Their goal is to annihilate the State of Israel and exterminate all the Jews.

For years, Israel’s political and military leaders have misunderstood the nature of the problem. This is not a conflict over land or politics, and it has nothing to do with the quest for Palestinian sovereignty. It is a long-lasting and relentless religious war between Islam and Western Civilization, waged on multiple fronts. Israel is not the main target, but a strategic one.

The people of Israel must confront the reality of our problem and call it by its name: jihad. A holy war waged against us by religious fanatics with complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. We cannot ignore this reality; we must face it. Only then can we devise effective diplomatic and military strategies to ensure victory over forces of evil. If we fail to do so, there may not be anyone left to conduct a commission of inquiry.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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