Last week's incidents where IDF attempts to assasinate terrorists resulted in civilian deaths caused a number of reactions. The anti-Israel press had a field day of course. Those in charge of international public relations complained that it was hard to make a dent in the negative pr. And even pro-Israel bloggers, reacting to the incidents, groaned that they couldn't stand the headlines and kvetched about how uncomfortable they made them.
The unspoken but natural continuation of these complaints is the thought, just under the surface that "it would be so much easier if there were pictures of dead Jews to offset the ones of Arabs..."
The fact that G-d has been performing miracles lately for the people of Sderot, Ashkelon, and the western Negev and keeping the kassams from hitting human targets, seems to be met with frustration instead of profound gratitude and a fervent prayer that things will continue this way.
The fact that the IDF uses its intelligence and skills to kill terrorists before they attack is cheered - but seemingly only if their operation is conducted with 100% precision, and that the Jewish lives thus saved are null and void if civilians are mistakenly killed in the process.
This attitude makes me angry on many different levels, and points to a skewed perception that affects how people relate to Israel and to our very right to exist in this part of the world.
The history of the state of Israel is tied too closely to the Holocaust. It is as if the right of the Jews to live in Israel was established when the concentration camps were liberated, and that we "paid" for this priviledge with six million dead. It ignores the ancient history of the promise of G-d to the Jews that this land is ours, and it ignores the modern history of thousands of proud and idealistic Jews who worked hard to create a thriving country. We didn't "pay" for Israel with our dead, we paid for it the old-fashioned way - with cold hard cash. It started with Jews who gave charity to the Keren Kayemet in order to pay for land, and it continued with those who built cities and made the desert bloom, and it continues to this day. Believing that the Holocaust was the justification for the State of Israel sets up a sort of macabre installment plan, where Israel is only supported as long as we produce dead Jews.
This fundamental flaw in attitude is shared by too many Jews, both in the Diaspora and in Israel, and it colors how people react to current events such as those of last week.
It causes many, when confronted with the injustice of the one-sided portrayal of the anti-Israel media, to "forget" what is cropped out of the picture. In the case of Sderot, this is the hundreds of kassams that were launched against the civilians in this city. After all, this thinking continues, noone was killed there recently. Without a body, Israel seemingly loses its right to defend itself.
Anti-Semites will hate us no matter what we do. Those who know very little about the Middle East conflict, and depend solely on short sound bytes from the media, automatically reduce complex issues to "whoever is the underdog is right", as if whoever has the highest number of dead wins.
Those who educate themselves about the issues, and those who profess to be pro-Israel and have a stake in what happens here owe it to us to have the maturity to see the bigger picture, and to reject the simplistic assumption that the only time one can comfortably support Israel is when she bleeds.
We here in Israel have the right to be happy and safe. We have the right to a strong army which defends us properly, even if it means that sometimes civilians on the other side are hurt. In short, we don't have to be victims. A family in Sderot doesn't have to grieve in order for you not to feel guilty.