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Voices

Diplomatic solution the best for resolving Mideast conflict

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Martin Zagnoev, Johannesburg ​

The horrors of the Holocaust re-enforced this urgent need. Conflict with the Arab neighbours was the last thing they were looking for.

Since it was felt that the world stood by and allowed all these repeated anti-Semitic atrocities, many of our people were hardened and decided that in order to survive, we would have to become fighters. “Attack is the best form of defence.”

Unfortunately most of the Arab inhabitants bitterly opposed the return of their Hebrew cousins into what they also considered to be theirhHomeland and holy land.

And so, the stage was set for bitter conflict, in a part of the world where revenge is a part of life.

This hostility re-enforced the worst fears of the Jews who felt that they had better respond in kind in order to survive. And so we experienced a tit-for-tat escalation of war, with neither side benefiting.

As Golda Meir said: “I can forgive the Arabs for everything except for turning our sons into killers.”

An unfortunate side-effect of this battle for survival is that many Israelis have become war-like and the women have lost their femininity.

Judaism inspired the world with the commandment to “love thy neighbour”. Sadly, this noble idea has been largely buried by the conflict.

For many Jews, the world has always been against us and now that we are trying to survive in our own country, world opinion is against us just for doing so. Yet the average gentile is not familiar with the extent of past Jewish pain which led to the present conflict. All they see is that a strong Israeli state is now taking a tough stand and comes across as the aggressor. 

Yet after the Six Day War, when tiny Israel won a David and Goliath battle against the Arabs, much of the world supported her. And over two thirds of countries voted at the UN in 1947 to establish a Hebrew state. In fact, there are now low levels of anti-Semitism around the world (except in some parts of Eastern Europe).

Some of us pessimistically believed that peace could not be achieved. But then it WAS established with Egypt (formerly our largest enemy) and with Jordan! There are also good relations with Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

A diplomatic solution would thus be a better way of ensuring our survival and reducing anti-Semitism. After all the ongoing conflict is bad for everyone.

 

 

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