This past week I spent a few days in Silicon Valley.
When I left Israel, there was a momentary ceasefire in the "low level" violence being directed at southern Israeli towns by various militia in Gaza. I purposely say militia instead of "terrorists" because as the world is now aware, we are in a state of war with those in Gaza who have been using psychological warfare on and off for many years. Terrorists and terrorism can sometimes elecit a sense of martyrdom for a cause, to perpetuate the idea of the underdog. War, on the other hand, is simply war. And at times armies, acting on behalf of a nation, commit war crimes, attack civilian populations with no just cause.
This is the situation we are in. Hamas has been at war with Israel for many years, we are only know fully acknowledging that reality.
During a ceasefire in the war, Israeli political and military leadership took a decision to act upon a war room priority of killing Jabaari, the Hamas military chief. Similar to the US decision to hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden, who also was a political and military leader.
I personally think the world would have been a better place if we had brought Bin Laden forth to stand tribunal for his crimes, and sentence him to a life imprisonment pondering his fate. Yes, I am against the death penalty at all times, even for someone like Bin Laden. When there is a ticking bomb, however, we do not have that moral luxury -- and so at times we are justified in acting. Was that the case with Jabaari? Did our political and military leaders feel he was a ticking bomb, destined to commit further war crimes if we did not act in time? Perhaps. And so maybe there was a justified moral compromise. I do not know.
What I do know is that taking out of the equation one of the symptoms, without treating the core issues, is not a morally acceptable strategy.
If we have momentarily defused a bomb, wonderful -- but we must follow it up immediately with an intensive move to cure the disease, not only the symptoms. Gaza has been, since the ill-planned pullout, a stew of hatred breeding intense hatred. Is all of that Israel's "fault?" Of course not, Gaza shares a border with Egypt, under both Mubarek and his successor Musri that border has been closed -- and so are the sea, air, and other land borders controlled by Israel. Israel helped create a State of Gaza, with it's own political and military leadership. We are at war with that State -- but at some point we will want to live at peace.
And of course there is also the slowly developing State of West Bank, which we are fighting but is taking shape regardless. Will these two states merge? Maybe, but not our call. We need to make our peace with both of them, with an intensity matching or exceeding that of war.
When I was in Silicon Valley I visited with an Israeli friend whose company was recently acquired, and as a result he moved with his family to Silicon Valley to see through the integration of hs company into the acquiring entity. When I asked him how he was doing on a personal level, he said he only has one complaint about his new life in Silicon Valley..."that he has nothing to complain about." Only an Israeli would complain about there being nothing to complain about!!
And yet his statement represents the success of the bubble that Silicon Valley culture created, and within that bubble all is good. Can the Silicon Valley bubble be pierced? Popped? Sure, we have seen it happen. But that bubble is largely an economic one -- and those living at the "borders" of that bubble are somewhat indifferent, and when the bubble bursts are not so directly affected. Israel for many years has been behaving like a bubble, and those attempting to burst our bubble were operating with toothpicks going up against a super industrial strength bubble -- with a very thick skin. Poke us all you want, we don't feel it -- until the tooth picks get sharper, and pierce deeper (rockets in Tel Aviv). We cannot afford in Israel, or in neighboring States, for our bubbles to burst. We will not bounce back, as does Silicon Valley.
On my way back to Israel, an Israel that has woken up to the state of war it really is in, I think how we need to pursue peace at the same level of intensity that we fight our wars. We have finally started to stand and fight in a war that has been raging for some time. I pray that we can finish the war as quickly as can, and then start fighting for peace.
I bless us that we bring Israel to the point where Israelis can complain that there is nothing to complain about -- and then we will know we really did create our own version of Silicon Valley.