Thursday, July 10, 2003

No, we did not win, but Israeli society - to the
surprise of many - proved wondrously resilient.
Israel's achievement in this war is unique. In
a situation of indiscriminate terror against
civilians and intolerably difficult military
service in the territories, the state allowed
its citizens to leave the country. Even veteran
democracies have forbidden their citizens to
leave their borders during war or to take their
currency out of the state. In Israel, both
civilians and reservists can escape from the
danger for the price of a plane ticket. Yet
despite this, people did not flee the country
and call-ups of the reserves were not impaired.
No other state has ever experienced this
phenomenon: hell at home and the door wide
open, but nobody uses it.

I agree completely. The past three years have put the lie to the foremost assertion of Arab supremacists and Leftwing fanatics: that democracy is inherently weak and cannot defend itself. Not only did Israel, the most pluralistic democracy in the world, not collapse under the pressure of terror, it became stronger, breaking the electoral logjam that had existed for twenty years and also proving immensely tolerant of political dissidence, even that which in other countries (and, technically, under Israeli law) would have been considered treason. Not only has democracy not weakened Israel, it may have proven to be its saving grace, the one factor that gives it the strength to hold out against its tyrannical enemies. Let us hope the same proves true in the United States.


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