Why Israel Must Respond to the Gas Massacre in Syria
Reports of the Syrian army’s shocking use of chlorine gas against civilians in the state on our border require an Israeli response. If somebody thinks that we can bury our heads in the sand and say, “Let them all kill each other”, then he should understand that the message that we send when we ignore this situation is that we are no more than temporary guests here – certainly not the owners of this national home.
The background question is if we are here by chance, like a coincidental meteor that fell in a poorly chosen venue, or if our sovereign existence in this Land is a priori and purposeful. Is the State of Israel part of the Middle-East problem (and perhaps its central instigator) or is it a central part of the solution?
Burying our heads in the sand in the face of the horrors that Bashar Assad is perpetrating is understood as Israel’s coming to terms with the first possibility. This accelerates the process of de-legitimization of our sovereign existence.
Yes, the automatic response of most is “Are you crazy? Why should we endanger our soldiers for some lofty ethics that are irrelevant to this region? Just sit back and let them kill each other.” But those who do so ultimately find Vladimir Putin rolling out his “protection” of the region, the Iranians taking advantage of the Russian umbrella to dig in on our border and our own children under a nuclear threat manifold times more critical than Assad’s gas.
No, it is not reasonable to send our soldiers over the border to stop the massacre. Their blood is more dear than the blood of all the Syrian children. But Israel should have been the country to fire the cruise missiles into the Syrian air base in response to Assad’s gas attack last year – and not the US.
I call upon Israel’s government, the government of the Jewish State – to justify our ethical existence and to do something now.
We must understand that the identity crisis from which we suffer creates a mentality of not belonging. This feeling of estrangement brings about a passive, apologetic strategy, which is incapable of acting in the name of any value other than self-defense. This strategy beckons to every dictator to come here and to usurp our responsibility for the region. Ultimately, we find ourselves facing a much more serious existential threat, while losing our international legitimacy and our ability to defend ourselves.
The ability to enter the arena in the name of values that are beyond self-defense and existence alone is not theoretical. It is entirely essential. If we continue to justify our existence here solely in the name of self-defense, without any ethical considerations, without any values for which it is worthwhile to fight, then our existence will not last for very long.
If they are gassing children just over our border and we look the other way, why are we needed here at all?