I grew up in a generation in which a “proper Zionist response” was building, raising children, farming and clinging to the land. The Jewish “sumud” (steadfastness in Arabic) to the Land of Israel.
Here’s a partial list of what was acceptable a long time ago and that I remember from the past: Kiryat Shmona, Yad Hahamisha, Givat Hashlosha, Hahotrim, Yad Hana, Havat Yair, Havat Gilad, Kfar Giladi, Ramat Raziel, Nir Etzion, Tkuma. All these communities were a response to terror attacks, to the killing of soldiers, to major events, or any crisis which raised questions. Facing all of that, practical Zionism knew how to provide a proper response. A response, instead of whining.
And now 2016 is about to end, and the list of responses to every problem is the complete opposite. Large fires, some started by Arabs, and the Zionist response is a competition of Facebook posts between politicians. One calls it riots, the other declares that it’s the worst situation he has ever encountered. While thousands of Israelis were busy guarding forested areas, the Facebook likes were kept safe. Up until two decades ago, we would have seen a planting and construction boom for every case of arson; now we are seeing a spree of words.
This applies to the reactions to the United Nations Security Council resolution as well. MK Michael Oren, who is usually a serious person, says they are trying to destroy us, the ministers are competing over who will slam US President Barack Obama harder, MK Tzipi Livni refers to the situation as “Masada,” as if we are about to commit suicide in a minute, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog calls it a tragedy, and finally, the proper Zionist response arrives in the form of reprimanding foreign representatives at the Foreign Ministry. Awestruck workers of the embassies facing awestruck workers of the Foreign Ministry. And Dan Shapiro, one of the best American ambassadors we have ever had here, meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a general conversation that ends with a formal rebuke.
There are a lot of things the State of Israel can to do in order to demonstrate that UNSC Resolution 2334 is irrelevant and present the absurdity in maintaining the 1967 borders as a criterion in the international community. We could convey a message through the construction of new agricultural communities on the old 1967 lines – from the north, through the valley to South Mount Hebron (at a time when agriculture is dying, this is a double message). We could move the government offices from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, next to the Justice Ministry, which – according to the Security Council resolution – is located on occupied territory. We could convene and hold a public debate on the Israeli areas of consensus: Gush Etzion, the northern Dead Sea, Ma’ale Adumim. Bring the opposition together with the coalition to discuss agreements, and then hold an important debate about vision – yes, even a vision that includes partial annexation – a moment before Donald Trump enters the White House. We could call on the people of Israel to visit every place, and light Hanukkah candles in a different community each day.
And yes, on the diplomatic level we could do what Israel has always done behind the scenes. Turn to our friends at the Senate, call Trump, use the Jewish lobby’s pressure, and mainly explain the lack of hope in such a resolution. Everything apart from being hysterical like a Jew from the previous centuries who found himself facing a group of Cossacks.
We like to say that prophecy is for fools, but this is what’s going to happen: Contrary to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s declarations, Israel will not sever its ties with the Palestinian Authority. We are the ones who are holding them. Without us, they wouldn’t survive. We transfer them money, we arrest Hamas people and we supply electricity. The Israeli interest is a diplomatic, not security separation. So even after the declaration (ask Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh), nothing is going to happen.
Japan and France will remain our allies. Ukraine, which has a Jewish prime minister for the first time, and Britain, which has a pro-Israel prime minister, will start receiving flattery delegations in two weeks from now to preserve the ties. And we will continue to fear Russia, which we prefer not to mess with. Ambassador Shapiro will leave with Obama, David Friedman and Trump will arrive, and Israel – which choses to write Facebook posts and reprimand – will find itself facing similar challenges in the future.
Obama was a catastrophe in terms of foreign relations. What he did in the past eight years is damage which will last for generations to come in the Middle East, but without a proper Zionist response we will continue to engage in gimmicks and whine.