Had Hassan Nasrallah not existed, we would have to invent him, as in many ways he became Israel’s best survival guide. Just like an effective guide, he has no mercy on us and makes us cope with a series of challenges.
Nasrallah teaches us the tough rules of bargaining in our region, the rules of power and weakness, and how as a threatened minority, such as the Jews or the Shiites, one must be strong and determined in the Middle East. He reminds us what part of the world we live in, even if some of us thought that maybe we moved to Western Europe or to a new Middle East.
Nasrallah reminds us that despite the nice talk about nanotechnology and industrial parks instead of borders, the Middle East has remained fervent, vengeful, ethnic, and cruel. He was referred to as “sewer rat,” “butcher,” and “murderer” around here, but he did not invent the Middle East: He merely plays in accordance with its cruel rules, and most importantly, he teaches us.
Why do we complain about this Shiite leader? After all, we made him and the others accustomed to abusing us; after all, we are always ready to make “painful” concessions. We made them used to thinking that when we see the lost dog tag of a soldier, we are willing to do almost anything for it, not to mention a body.
This is how it works in the Mideastern Bazaar; if there is a willingness to pay, dog tags and body parts shall come. It took us 20 years, but we are starting to understand the bargaining rules.
Many around here thought, in the previous decades, that the era of wars in the Middle East has ended, to the point of maybe no longer needing a strong army. The process of cutting back and disparaging the military and defense establishment got underway. There were those who made us feel that we are such a great military power that we are immune to anything. After all, this is what a whole generation believed in the previous decade.
Thank you, Nasrallah, for bringing us back to reality, for sharpening our senses again, for reminding us about the danger lying in wait for a small country such as our own. True, it is not easy for us to sober up, but we learn quickly.
The IDF’s alarm clock
We should also be thanking Nasrallah for teaching us his psychological warfare tactics: At first, we fell into the trap, yet because he used them so much, we learned to recognize them, until they became almost transparent in the eyes of our public. Because he used them so much, we became immune to them. Now they haunt him, by presenting his real, cruel face: A cleric who trades in body parts.
We shall thank Nasrallah for making it clear to our army how irrelevant it has become in face of the upcoming threats. Thanks to the last war, the army again grew stronger, or so we shall hope. Nasrallah and his Shiites involuntarily became the IDF’s alarm clock, as well as our whole society’s alarm clock.
Just like a strict guide, Nasrallah is imparting these lessons little by little, gradually, so we have enough time to digest them, so we learn the lesson well, and so we finally really join the Middle East and its rules. We had painful losses as a result of this lesson, but we learned the lesson. There is no need for commissions of inquiry. The public understood.
And this is the great irony: The man who introduced the term “spider web” to describe the weakness of Israeli society has become the man who now teaches the Israelis how to shake off this spider web and how to gain strength again.
If it wasn’t for Nasrallah, and with the bogus “end of the conflict” sense that reigned supreme here until recently, where would be we today in the great Mideastern competition for survival?