“For everything there is a season…a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
“He who comes to slay you, arise and slay him first.” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 72a)
It may be true that America is the global superpower, but Israel is the vanguard of civilization. As such, America should depend on Israel as much as the other way around. Yet for America to regard Israel in the proper light, Israel must first exhibit self-respect. That means fighting its battles with decisiveness and finality, not with halfheartedness or hands tied behind its back. It means acting with resolve against murderous aggressors, not with trepidation out of fear of the BBC or New York Times.
When it comes to its own survival, Israel must never wait for a “green light” from anyone, as if the nation is a dented sedan stuck in the gridlock of terrorism and desperate for permission to proceed with self-defense. It must never succumb to “hourglass” imperatives from the UN, at the risk of not finishing the mission. In short, Israel must stop fighting battles and starts winning wars.
The terrorists are forever fond of declaring that the “gates of hell” have been opened, apparently making them the sulfurous gatekeepers, which is accurate enough. But living under the constant threat of rocket barrages is a hell in itself, and so the equation for Israelis boils down to which hell is preferable.
For the Jewish People, there is no choice: when the aged Moses adjures Israel to “choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants” (Deuteronomy 30:19), this intrinsically includes the responsibility to protect life from all those who choose death.
Long ago, a dismayed Jewish monarch declared, “I am all for peace; but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalms 120:7). King David understood a hard and bitter truth, one that every Jewish leader since has had to grapple with: a preference for peace does not absolve one of the necessity to wage moral war.