As soon as David Ben-Gurion finished reading the proclamation of the State of Israel's independence, the media outlets and education systems began to nurture the "few against many" myth and brought it to unimaginable heights. The "few against the many" stories were passed on from generation to generation in IDF units, schools, everywhere. Historians who tried to undermine the foundations of the myth were crushed by the fighters' tales, which have no end. We always won; we always got what we wanted; we were always the best.
Over the past few years the world's nations have been trying to teach is that "size does matter," and that with all due respect to the resourcefulness, the special spirit, the unique technological achievements, quantity - to a large degree - determines the quality. Heading this effort is the US, and it is going about it like love-making between hedgehogs: Cautiously. The Americans speak to us politely, but behind their backs they are holding whips and scorpions. Those who participated in the meetings with President Barack Obama last week know very well that his white teeth can bite, not only smile.
Now mighty Turkey is putting little Israel to the test. The Turks, like many others, are fed up with Israel's arrogance and boastfulness; they are fed up with the "few against the many." Turkey's leaders sit in Ankara, convinced they are an empire: Turkey covers an area of about 300,000 square miles and has a population of more than 70 million; the Turkish army numbers over a million soldiers. Israel's area is approximately 8,000 square miles; it has a population of some 7 million and a strong army which is renowned worldwide; but this army cannot be compared with the large armies of the world – certainly not with the Turkish army.
Turkey is an empire, and its leader, Erdogan, wants his big empire to become even bigger, at least as far as its influence on the developments in the Middle East is concerned. He may be a megalomaniac, but so are all the other leaders in the Middle East, including in Israel.
The State of Israel acted irresponsibly when it launched the military operation against the Marmara flotilla. Two prior flotillas to Gaza, during the Olmert administration, were not even mentioned in the newspapers; but in the Marmara affair, the military and political leadership decided to prove Israel's might to Turkey. The result: Severe damage to Israel's image following an unsuccessful and aggressive solution - the only solution the Israeli government came up with. One to two hours on the deck of the Marmara ship; nine deaths and a never-ending affair.
This does not mean that Turkey's conduct is justified. The reactions of its leaders - headed by Erdogan - to Israel's apology have been rude, and their callousness is breaking international records. But countries do not seek love. Between countries and their leaders there are only interests, and the interest of the Turkish PM these days is to gain ground on Israel's back – for Turkey's domestic needs, to boost Turkey's status in the Muslim world and gain some points with the international community, which does not exactly love the State of Israel.
It has been said that "it is not always beneficial to be right, but it is always important to be smart."