Photo: AFP
Herzog and Livni benefit from Israelis' optimism
Photo: AFP

The die-hard optimism of Israelis

Op-ed: The odds that a two-state solution will know peace are slim to nil; but Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni know better.

Optimism is a characteristic trait of Israelis. This optimism is encapsulated in the Israeli expression "everything will be alright." These words allay all anxieties in the Land of Milk and Honey.



Has an employee been fired? "Everything will be alright" is what every sabra will tell the jobless person. Is a relative undergoing chemotherapy? "Everything will be alright" is how Israeli friends console the cancer-stricken family.


This optimism is all the more remarkable in light of Jewish history. After all, Danes, Hawaiians and Australians have solid reasons to be optimists. But how can a nation which endured centuries of exile, the Inquisition, the pogroms and the Holocaust have any optimism left? Doesn't Jewish history demonstrate that everything will NOT be alright?


Regardless of the past, Jewish Israelis are hardened optimists. So do not be surprised that when Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced a missile barrage over Tel Aviv, people on the beachfront said "everything will be alright."


The same answer is uttered by residents of the Negev as Hamas rebuilds its terror tunnels in the desert, and by Israel’s intellectuals every time the ayatollahs vow to erase Israel from the face of the earth.


Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni benefit from this optimism. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Churchillian warnings resonate with right-wing retirees and Naftali Bennett’s words are trusted in religious circles where suspicion of outsiders is deep-seated. Yet by vowing that everything will be alright thanks to a two-state solution, Herzog and Livni touch most Jewish hearts.


Let us assume that Herzog and Livni are right. Let us assume that a solution that transforms Jerusalem in the united capital of Israel and Palestine can be found. Let us assume that Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the Arab states give up all claims that Palestinians return to their pre-1948 homes. Let us assume that the last mezuzah is torn from the last Jewish doorpost in Judea and Samaria without violence. Furthermore, let us believe that this Palestinian state is demilitarized and that US troops guard its borders. Finally, let us assume that all major Palestinian parties accept a peace agreement and that foreign aid gushes into an independent Palestine.


After all these assumptions are made, can we at least assume that everything will be alright?


It is possible that Lebanon and Syria drive their 1 million-strong Palestinian population to the West Bank. This will burden the limited resources of Palestine.


It is plausible that most foreign aid will be wasted or siphoned abroad fueling popular discontent and political instability in Palestine.


It is probable that some neighboring states renege on their ties with Israel just as Iran and Turkey have done in the past and are doing in the present.


It is all but certain that the religious and educational establishment of an independent Palestine will continue to teach that Palestinian sovereignty over only 22% of geographical Palestine is dishonorable and un-Islamic.


It is thus predictable that a new generation of Palestinians leaders emerges which blames Israel for the misfortunes of their country and impugns past peace agreements.


The former misfortunes will be publicized by the hundreds of NGOs and thousands of foreign volunteers who flood to an independent Palestine.


Palestinian irredentism will be tolerated by all those who believe that Zionism is forever to blame for the plight of the Palestinian people. The world’s Muslims, progressive Christians, leftist trade-unionists and politicians, secular intellectuals, students and journalists will thus sympathize with Palestinians tabling new demands and eventually renewing hostilities against Israel.


The odds that a two-state solution will know peace are slim to nil. But Herzog and Livni know better.


Everything will be alright.


פרסום ראשון: 02.21.15, 23:15
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