Sunday, November 30, 2008

Israel Must Remain Heroic

Dr. Helen Smith has an initial post about a book she is reading: The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why. Dr. Smith writes about the chapter about heroism, noting that according to the book, heros
have confidence in their abilities. They tend to have an "internal locus of control"--that is, a sense that they shape their own destiny rather than looking to someone else.
Read the whole thing.

Her link to Wilderdom defines Locus of Control as addressing the question
Do you believe that your destiny is controlled by yourself or by external forces (such as fate, god, or powerful others)?
Could that definition, broadly stated, shed light on the success that Israel has had in general as well as militarily? Re-establishing the State of Israel, the Six Day War, the rescue at Entebbe, successfully and destroying Iraq's nuclear reactor are all events in Israel's modern history that take on heroic proportions.

Similarly, the opposite of Locus is defined as
Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances.
That is a definition that could readily be applied to Palestinian Arabs, not only because of their reliance on external aid, but also because of the Islamic belief in fatalism.

The actual study was focused on the US, where it found that a high proportion--80%--of the heroic acts studied
happened in places with less than one hundred thousand people. The author opines that this might be because in small towns, people know one another and acts of kindness are recognized and remembered. A strong sense of duty to help others was also mentioned.
People knowing each other...a strong sense of duty--these are also traits one finds in Israel as well.

The question, though, is what happens when Israel's image changes, not only in her own eyes but also in the eyes of other countries as well. Take for instance the US, as described in this article from April 2006--3 months before the Israel-Hezbollah war:

Bush's attitude toward Israel has changed as well. Until 2002, Bush saw Israel has a powerful ally of the United States and able to deter its enemies. Today, the president sees Israel as weak and Bush has publicly pledged to protect the Jewish state from an Iranian attack. Quietly, Israeli defense officials dismiss Bush's pledge was little more than symbolic given the start of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

"The feeling in both the administration and among belatedly among many conservatives in Congress is that Israel has to accept the fate of a small nation reliant on a superpower patron," a leading U.S. analyst who is close to the administration said.

Regardless of whether the article is accurate or not, I think we can all agree that such a view, if internalized by Israel, would be dangerous and detrimental to Israel's continued survival. That of course is just what the Iran-backed terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hizbollah aim to do.

Recent events, such as Israel's putting up with a Hamas truce with more holes than Swiss cheese, half-hearted incursions into Gaza and an easy compliance with US pressure may be signs of a lessening in Israeli self-confidence.

The upcoming Israeli elections in February, contested between Kadima and Likud, may turn out to be not so much a struggle for the soul of Israel as its confidence that Israel truly is in control of her own destiny

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