It has never been easy for Israel—the understatement of the century—from the day of its establishment in 1948 when it was invaded by seven Arab armies to the present moment when it is facing multiple threats to its very survival. It suffers a history like no other nation in the world, surrounded by enemies, fighting wars on every front, infiltrated by terrorists, confronting the wetware dreams of genocidal regimes, in particular the prospect of a nuclear Iran sworn to the country’s annihilation, and subject to an international delegitimation campaign carried out via the United Nations, the World Council of Churches, spurious NGOs and “peace” organizations, labor unions, university campuses, a hostile European Union, and the efforts of an American president who wants to see the country reduced to indefensible borders.
As if this were not enough, there is yet another menace it has to face, deriving from the Cain and Abel paradigm, which has inwardly corroded the Jewish community since the thunderous instant it purportedly received the tablets from Mount Sinai: betrayal from within. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and his mission to create a unified and cohesive people set the tone for much of what followed in the history of the Jews. The record is inexhaustible: the backsliding tribes and their idolatrous rulers whom the Prophets railed against, the conflict between the brother states of Israel and Judea, the quarreling Jews Josephus tells us about who were in large measure responsible for the Roman victory and massacre in the first century A.D., the apostates, “wicked sons” and Court Jews who have proliferated through the ages, and those who contracted the wasting disease that Ruth Wisse in Jews and Power called “the veneration of political weakness.”
True, the quietist Jews who took refuge in ritual and scripture caused no material injury, but they, arguably, instilled an attitude of helplessness and defeatism into the plasm of the Jewish sensibility—precisely what the vigorous and determined Palmach fighters and the Zionist kibbutzniks who settled and farmed the land of Israel intended to counteract. They would no longer go “like sheep to the slaughter”; instead they put the debilitating syndrome to rest, struggled valiantly to survive and built a strong and proud country. However, the renegades and turncoats did, and continue to do, immeasurable harm. The motive for treachery seems to be immemorial. As Wisse writes, “For every Mordecai and Esther who risked their lives to protect fellow Jews, there were schemers who turned betrayal or conversion to profit.” Indeed, “the ubiquitous informer, or moser” is always with us. In the modern age they beget like rabbits on aphrodisiacs.
But it is not only a question of schemers and betrayers. There are many Jews who have turned against, or disembarrassed themselves of, their own compatriots for ostensibly “noble” reasons, like the Yevsektsiya or European and Russian Jews who joined the Bolsheviks and were instrumental in the formation of the Soviet Communist Party, until they were duly liquidated. Today, these are the Jews who embark on flotillas to abet a terrorist regime in Gaza, validate the Palestinian faux narrative, practice outreach and dialogue with Islamic murderers, vote “liberal,” pride themselves on their pacific and ecumenical ideology—a “universalist worldview,” as Daniel Gordis writes in a poignant Commentary essay, that “does not have a place for enemies”—and celebrate their birthdays in Ramallah bars festooned with “PLO posters advocating the death of Jews.”
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