Israel is surrounded by enemies and by humanitarian crises, and there’s a connection between the two.
To its south is the Gaza Strip run by Hamas, a terror group that is so blinded by its hatred of Israel that it steals international aid money intended for the wellbeing of its people to acquire the means to destroy the Jewish state.
The result? B’chasdei Hashem, Israel is thriving, with an economy that has surpassed that of Japan’s, and the only thing Hamas has succeeded in destroying is Gaza, whose residents live with four hours a day of electricity, a lack of clean water because of the inadequate sewage system, high unemployment and little hope for a better future for themselves or their children.
To the north is Syria, run by Basher Assad, who has managed to surpass the cruelty of his father, Hafez, a dictator who murdered 20,000 people in Hama. Basher, a medical doctor by training who did post-university studies in London specializing in ophthalmology, has murdered hundreds of thousands of his citizens over the past seven years in an attempt to put down opposition, and turned millions of people into refugees, creating instability in the Middle East and Europe.
Assad, despite his medical education and fluent English, is just as stubborn as his father when it comes to making peace with Israel. Indeed, when the “Arab Spring” hit Egypt in 2011, Assad attributed it to Egypt’s perfidy of making peace with Israel and confidently predicted that nothing of the sort would happen to him.
A little further afield, Iran is run by the ayatollahs who spend billions of dollars to “wipe Israel off the map,” developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, sponsoring terror groups in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon and trying to establish a military presence of its own in Syria, but spend precious little on the needs of their people. Demonstrations were held this week to protest the lack of clean drinking water in the country, following a year-long drought.
The connection between Israel/Jew-hatred and humanitarian crises in the Middle East should be obvious, but it isn’t, at least not to heads of state. For 70 years, they’ve accepted the Arab right to reject Israel as a Jewish state. For 70 years, they’ve justified terrorism, the killing of innocent Jews, on the grounds that Israel was an “occupier,” not a legitimate presence in the land of its forefathers.
Instead of having the integrity and courage to tell the Arabs that they will not be accepted in the international fellowship until they accept Israel and educate their children to do so, the world benignly accepted hatred of Israel. And the direct result of that is the humanitarian crises we see today in Gaza, Iran and most especially Syria, where some 160,000 have been forced to leave their homes in recent days.
Because when Arab leaders are given the green light to indulge in their blind hatred of Israel, the ultimate victims are their Arab citizens, whose basic needs are sacrificed for the “higher” cause of destroying Israel.
The crisis in Syria is heartbreaking. Assad, in his attempt to regain control of the Daraa province in the southern part of the country from the opposition, sent a large military force into the area, after Russia bombed from the air, destroying many of the homes of the poor farmers.
The army went house to house, stealing the families’ money and jewelry and shooting those whose names appeared on a list of “traitors” who had spoken out against Assad or in favor of his opponents over the past seven years.
Understandably, the helpless villagers packed their meager belongings into any vehicle they could find and made their way to the Jordanian border, following in the footsteps of a million and a half of their fellow countrymen. But Jordan has shut its doors, and so the refugees, by the tens of thousands, made their way to Israel, presenting a serious dilemma for the Netanyahu government.
On the one hand, Israel cannot possibly open its gates to the hundreds of thousands who are seeking refuge from Assad. On the other hand, it can’t ignore the terrible human suffering.
The government found a middle road: No to refugees, yes to massive amounts of humanitarian aid. In a special military operation last week, Israel transferred 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food and formula, 30 tons of clothing and shoes and medical supplies.
In addition, it took in six Syrians who were badly wounded, including four children aged 6 to 14. (Over the past five years, Israel has taken in 3,300 wounded, including some who needed months-long hospitalization.)
There is no doubt that the humanitarian organizations will demand that Israel take in refugees — ironic considering how the very same organizations claim that Israel is an inhumane country, so why would they want to subject the refugees to such terrible treatment?
Israel is the only success in the Middle East, but it cannot be expected to solve all of the problems of its neighbors. It’s time for the international community to get involved. That means removing tyrants, or at least holding them account-
able for minimal international norms, and providing humanitarian assistance in a way that guarantees it will reach those who need it.