Anyone who was here in the summer of 1973 will never forget the atmosphere in the country and the image glaring at us from the television screen in Ron Ben-Yishai's report: Three soldiers sitting on the banks of the Suez Canal, softly playing some classic piece on violins. The water in the canal was flowing slowly. The birds returned to their nests in the branches of the trees on the Egyptian side. One could actually touch the calm after years of fiery commotion. And most importantly, the almost daily black frames around the pictures of the youth disappeared from the newspapers' front pages.
Anyone who was here in December 1987 will never forget the spectacular images of the life of cooperation with the Palestinians. The "Green Line" was erased. Masses of Israelis walked about the markets of Qalqilya on Saturdays in order to buy another kilogram of tomatoes for fewer agorot. The roads to Samaria's Arab villages burst with Israeli cars looking for two available meters to park.
Of the millions of citizens in the State of Israel, there was (almost) no one in the summer of 1973 and in the winter of 1987 who predicted the upcoming outbursts. The people of Israel drank and ate and danced as if there was no tomorrow. In the war which broke out in 1973 and in the intifada which broke out in 1987 we paid a price of thousands of casualties (together), and we all swore that it would never repeat itself.
We are now in the exact same situation. In the summer of 1973, the nation's leaders explained to us that the Egyptian weapons were rusty and out-of-date; that the Russians were deceiving their Syrian allies and sending them arms which had been out of order for a long time. Before the first intifada, the coordinator of the government's activities in the territories released a colorful booklet about the State of Israel's actions and accomplishments in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories. The State of Israel celebrated.
And what are they saying today? Exactly what they said then: "Our security situation has never been better." Look: Syria is drenched in the blood of its citizens, Egypt is dying, Jordan is torn, the Palestinians are "under our sole" (a common Arab expression), and we are celebrating. There is no other nation like us.
Ali Bibi and the 12 time banditsHere's a fact from the past few days: Even for the oppressor Barack Obama, God prepared a big surprise: Putin showed him who's boss here. Benjamin Netanyahu came to visit him in Washington, and the American president barely had any time for him. And the standing ovation Bibi received at the AIPAC conference? One would have to be deaf, a fool and a minor – as it says in the Talmud – not to lose one's head at the roar of the applause. There is no one else like me, there is no one else like us. If Obama wants to do something against Putin, he should come to us. We are friends, aren't we? Of course we'll ask for a reward for this fee. What is it, do the Americans give us anything for free? What do you say, something worth billions? Oh, well, they were and will always be anti-Semites.
Obama didn't have too much time for Bibi this week, but both he and his secretary of State, John Kerry, understand very well that time is running out and is not on the State of Israel's side. The most hackneyed cliché one can say is that time is on the side of whoever is on its side. It's a fact: Our security situation has never been better. Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, etc.
The statements and conduct of the prime minister and his 12 ministers and satraps indicate that they have all the time in the world. They are the time bandits. One can argue that history does not repeat itself and why create hysteria now? Well, it ain't so: Now of all times, when the Arab world is flat on its face and the Western world is hesitating and blinking, it may be the time to try and to try again and to try again to reach the end of the conflict and the end of the claims with the Palestinians. A reconciliation deal, a framework, a partial agreement, something.
Now may be the right time, rather than when we are threatened by streams of blood on both sides. It's possible that we should replace the generations-long and years-long hackneyed saying, and say these days: Is it the Jews who only understand force?