The End of Israel
Since this past Friday, my family has been hosting our best friends, who came all the way from California to visit us in Israel.
It’s not a quick journey; a direct El Al flight from LAX to TLV takes about fifteen hours, and to do it with three children is even more challenging.
Friday the 16th, around 3 PM, they were already in Tel Aviv, on their way to the hotel; at my apartment, my wife and my daughter were well on their way in preparing a Bar-B-Q lunch for our starving guests, who were about to head over.
When visiting Israel and, specifically, Tel Aviv, the number of preconceived notions about how life is in Israel – a country that is constantly threatened by its neighbors – the first thought is that it must be dangerous.
In fact, our friends were told not to come and shown videos of the Iron Dome defense system, deploying hundreds of missiles against inbound attacks.
From the other side of the political aisle, they were presented with the unfortunate and sad truth of civilians, living in Palestinian territories, who have been hit by weaponry from Israel’s military, even though they weren’t part of the assaults or terrorist groups.
This is a highly contested debate, and what’s even more incredible is that it only deals with the past 20 years or so, while this region has seen conflict for thousands of years.
On Sunday, I hired a tour guide and told him that I wanted to show our guests the Jordanian and Syrian borders. The only place from which this can be achieved is a region called the Golan Heights, which was part of Syria after the Six-Day War of June 1967.
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Our 66-year-old tour guide was 10 years old, when in 1967, he was being told by his parents and by the government that the end of the modern country of Israel, then just 19 years of age, was OVER.
As he’s driving through the Golan Heights, on each side of the road, we see old tanks left on old battlefields, and signs warning of minefields that were never cleared, along with sightings of fortified bunkers and other pieces of what seem to us like ancient history. He reminisced about how the government felt helpless and powerless in May 1967, as the Soviets were sending boatloads of ammunition to the surrounding countries and encouraging them to attack.
The generals were begging, pleading with the Israeli government to go on the attack, instead of waiting for the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians to make the first move.
“They’re growing infinitely stronger by the day, meanwhile we’re getting weaker, our economy is grinding to a halt and the Americans are refusing to offer aid. We need to defend NOW,” said the generals to the Prime Minister, and he gave them the green light to open fire.
I will tell you the rest of the story on Thursday, but as you can see, Israel’s heart is still beating, so the nation has not met its end yet…
I sat in front, right alongside the driver and heard him telling this tale and saw his eyes tearing up, while sharing the details. That feeling, though, of the guide uttering the words “my father said this is the end” will not be easily forgotten by me.
I tell you this because 2023 will feel like that at times, when news of bankruptcies, layoffs and economic hardship, recession and perhaps a renewed spring operation by Russia in Ukraine, make you believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but know that peace and prosperity will follow.
Don’t wait for the world to come to its senses; take care of yourself and your loved ones — initiate!
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