Some of the people reading this column, and possibly very many of them, are infuriated and fuming at this very moment: Apologize? To the Egyptians? Why should we? What for? And what about our “national honor”? Well, they can relax, take a tranquillizer and get some rest. The undersigned cares about national honor no less than they do, and possibly even more so. However, peace – as long as it’s alive – is more important. We have nothing that is more important.
You call this peace? Say the experts. Why, have our singers already performed in Alexandria? Did Israel’s national soccer team play against the local champion in Cairo? Have you seen the masses screaming anti-Israel slogans? Have you seen the hatred in their eyes? And what about the burning of Israel’s flags? And what about the anti-Semitic expressions? God help us.
And I say: National honor is very important for all of us, but life – actual life – is more important. Given that the Zionist movement is the master of gaining time and utilizing it correctly, every additional month, year or five years of peace constitute a net profit for us in terms of security, economics, policy-making, social, and in every step we take.
I say to the impassioned public, look at the immense gains we drew from the cold peace with Egypt. Indeed, the Egyptians also gained much, yet they are barely able to see the manifestations of these gains. When Menachem Begin signed the peace treaty with Egypt, some 35 million people lived there. Today, some 85 million people live there (but what kind of life is it?) The rare economic wellbeing of Israel is a large part of what we got in exchange for the peace deal.
We want to liveHad a state of war still prevailed, we would have had to come up with four or five more brigades, thousands of new tanks and hundreds of modern fighter jets. For the same price we could plant trees made of pure gold along Rothschild Boulevard and there would still be some change left. Every two days, tens of thousands of Israelis would be called up for reserve service, because Egyptian troops would go in and out of the Sinai. And I haven’t even spoken about the living and the dead.
A mishap happened. Egyptian soldiers were hurt and killed. We are not at fault, apparently. We are never at fault, so let’s apologize and get it over with. We have already apologized for smaller and greater things. So what? Oh, that national honor needed for the poets of glory and victory albums. Yet we want to live. The altar of the homeland can wait.
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