(June 6, 2018 / JNS) If I were a child in the Gaza Strip, I would send incendiary kites towards the homes of the heads of Hamas for reducing Gaza to a failed Sparta.
Billions have been poured into Gaza; how much of that was stolen, and what has been done with the rest? The criminal gang that controls the Gazans (who elected it) has no interest in their welfare, only in silly preparations for a war against Israel. The Hamas leadership is committed to destroying Israel; until it does, it destroys its own people. In its own defense, it is busy from morning to night blaming Israel. The lack of responsibility for their own fate is the root of the failure of the Arab world as a whole and the Gaza Strip in particular. But the self-righteous left in Israel and the world won’t allow the Arabs in the Middle East to throw off that culture because it justifies their wretchedness.
In the summer of 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, even disinterring its dead from their graves. Since then, Gaza has not flourished. Of course not. Since we were exiled from our land (after the destruction of the Temple), it was desolate. Until we returned. The Arabs of the region have no interest in nurturing it or building it up, only in setting it alight. Or more accurately, in setting fire to the Yahud (Jews) who fulfilled the prophecy in Muslim tradition about the Jews returning home.
Playwright Yehoshua Sobol is a big lump of sentiment. He thinks this gives him moral countenance. He said that if he were a child in Gaza, he’d fly incendiary kites “because they are desperate.” From the earliest days of Zionism, a certain stream in Hebrew literature and culture has internalized the false claims of the Arabs in the region about the “original sin” of our resurgence on the ruins of an imaginary “Palestine.” In his story “Facing the Forests” (1963), A.B. Yehoshua describes an intellectual divorced from reality who works in a Jewish National Fund forest, and helps an Arab and his daughter burn down the trees to expose the remains of an Arab village abandoned in the 1948 War of Independence.
Even before the “occupation,” the story reflected the collective guilt assumed by some of the Israeli elite. The core of this guilt is the desire —conscious and unconscious—to set fire to the Zionist enterprise because of an inability to reconcile the establishment of Israel with the Arabs’ defeat. Like today, the idea of the “Nakba” (i.e., “Catastrophe”) has become embedded in Israeli discourse with the help of intellectuals from within our own ranks.
A.B. Yehoshua’s hero in the story is busy researching the Crusades. You see, we have also internalized the comparison between the Zionist enterprise and the Crusades, which were destined to end. Which is the reason for the ridiculous comparison between the French in Algeria to the Israelis in Samaria and Judea, the cradle of our nationhood and the biblical Promised Land. What history did the French have in Algeria or the Crusaders from Europe in the Holy Land? The answers are in Sobol’s imagination.
The argument between the Zionist majority and that same embittered sector among us that blindly justifies our enemies’ crimes and foists the responsibility for their failures upon us, is an argument about the nature of morality. Anyone who exempts others from responsibility for their own fate—anyone who prefers the “justice” of those who burn fields and forests over the return to Zion and the righteousness of the Zionist enterprise—isn’t a more moral person because that argument doesn’t end with the incendiary kites.
The claim of desperation, which Sobol uses to justify the arson, is correct to the same degree when it comes to the murders of Jews and “settlers,” firing rockets at Israeli cities, and digging tunnels to use in seizing an Israeli kibbutz and murdering its residents. This isn’t the first time Sobol has helped the Palestinians, knowingly or unknowingly, set fire to the Zionist enterprise.
Dror Eydar is a columnist for Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is distributed in the United States exclusively by JNS.