Question: The recent war [in Israel] has left people with the feeling that we as if lost control of the situation and the ability to live a normal life in our country. We are used to the constant feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, waiting for sirens, and the inability to sleep at night.
The war seemingly ended, but we feel that we have not achieved peace, security, and the resolution of this conflict. An agreement has been signed, but no one believes in it. We have already witnessed seven ceasefire agreements that had were violated. Where is the guarantee that this will be observed?
External pressure is growing, and Israel finds itself in international isolation. This war has brought great damage to Israel’s economy and produced a wave of layoffs. There is a feeling of insecurity undermining our foundations: the army, the government. What is happening to us and what can we do in this situation?
Answer: I really empathize with this general feeling of fear, anxiety, frustration, bitterness, and helplessness, and at the same time I am filled with hope and confidence, which did not exist before.
It seems to me that this time our people finally feel all the instability of our position and will be able to wake up to the correct requirement of security and stability, which was not cared for and was even neglected before.
I remember the Six-Day War awakened such strong emotions in me as if I were born again. I felt like a Jew, with my own country, which now correctly was correctly establishing itself, moving ahead and building itself in a new way. From that moment I began to make every effort to get out of the former Soviet Union and move to Israel. For seven years, from 1966 to 1974, I was refused and fought for the opportunity to repatriate.
There was a feeling that Israel was moving in the right direction. But when I came to Israel, I felt that the people were in some kind of euphoria after the Six-Day War. There was a feeling that we were stronger and did not care about the rest of the world. We were like a self-confident child who does not understand his own boundaries, his strengths, and duties.
This victory produced a negative effect on our people, filling them with so much pride that it went beyond the limits of necessary national pride. We lost a sense of moderation and went out of balance, neglecting all the boundaries, which we had to establish for ourselves. We had to educate our people and to organize the life within the country and outside it in the correct way. But instead of all this, there was just a feeling of disregard, pride and confidence in our heroism.
After the Yom Kippur War, it was not noticeable that the nation had received some correction. I think Golda Meir, who was the head of the government at that time, hoped that there would be a serious internal analysis made, a reconsideration of their attitude, and would reach some sort of equilibrium between the warring parties. But this did not happen. The people were as if deaf.
All the subsequent military operations left the same footprint—the Lebanon war, terrorist attacks, bombings in buses—it was an exhausting war with terrorists. The Gulf War was added to this, when we could do nothing with Saddam’s missiles that were launched at us. We had plenty of opportunities for internal analysis, but we did not use them.
Only now, in the last war, is the first time we have felt that we are against an enemy that cannot be defeated by conventional means. There is no one to sign a peace agreement with because it is not a state, but simply a gang of terrorists with whom nothing can be done.
It is possible to fight with a country, to go into battle, to come to some kind of result, then sign an agreement and leave it at that. We would have known that these agreements would be executed at least to some extent and would keep us in some framework.
But here there is no body with whom to sign an agreement. Of course, the agreements that we sign now are worth nothing. Once the terrorists have an opportunity, they will immediately attack us, not even recalling the paper on which their names are signed.
In addition, we do not sign an agreement with them because we do not recognize this right for Hamas. And they do not recognize our right for existence. The war against terrorists is a war with a faceless enemy. They can promise you anything today and tomorrow do whatever they want.
Therefore, we certainly will not achieve any peace agreements. The cease-fire can last for months or years or may end tomorrow. Everyone is aware of this: both us and them. We were under pressure from the United Nations, the United States, and Europe, but they understand that these agreements are worthless because they have the same problem with these terrorists.
Therefore, they want agreements signed with them at our expense that will allow Europe and America to exist peacefully. They throw Israel like a bone to the dog. We need to try not to turn into such a bone because we are dependent on Europe and the United States, so we are in a difficult situation.
But all these conditions awaken a lot of hope in me that the people of Israel will eventually begin to figure out what the solution is, what we depend on, what power can help us, and where it is. And then we will rebuild our lives in a new way.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 8/27/14