Days of Thunder with Eyes on the Prize

The fires of May were predictable and premeditated.  The fighting that erupted inside Israel’s capital, and then with the 4,360 rockets and missiles fired from the Gaza Strip into the population centers of southern and central Israel, was never about Ramadan, or the canceled Palestinian Authority legislative elections, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas. It had nothing to do with the collateral damage of the fourteen-month-long pandemic, or how the Palestinian leadership lost a golden opportunity to rewrite the paradigm of the conflict by embracing the Abraham Accords. The spark, the kerosene, and the flames were all about Jerusalem.

Bear in mind that the mullahs in Iran, the terror warlords in Gaza, or the Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah have no illusions that they can lead a sweeping Islamic army across multiple fronts and capture Jerusalem. They realize their limitations; they know the might of the Israel Defense Forces and its intelligence services. They know that when they promise to liberate Jerusalem in their slogans, propaganda, sermons, and social media, they are offering unfulfillable wishes. Nothing more. The men who sit in Tehran, Beirut, and Gaza, know the lay of the land and they know what they can and cannot achieve. But the fantasy they peddle is enough to mobilize the mob and to propel those who would stab, shoot, ram a vehicle, or blow themselves up to perpetrate the most heinous acts of indiscriminate violence. For the men who pull the strings, setting fire to Jerusalem is all they can do and they are happy to watch it burn.

And that’s the heartbreaking tragedy. In day-to-day life, Jerusalem is a wondrous mosaic of faith, backgrounds, languages, and cooperation. All anyone needs to do is visit a Jerusalem pharmacy, supermarket, or restaurant to hear Arabic and Hebrew spoken by citizens of the holy city who live, work, and coexist with one another peacefully and with prosperity. People of all faiths are free to worship as they please. So, when the Farsi and Arabic-speaking puppet masters set themselves up as false prophets demanding the end of days and use the spark of a holy war to enflame the masses toward violence, they are destroying the miracle of Jerusalem simply for the sake of hoping that people suffer. They cannot peddle their war unless they instigate the opening salvo of violence and loss.

And that’s why the Israel National Police and the Border Guard deserve enormous praise. On June 18, Palestinian and Jewish extremists clashed after the Friday prayers near the Dome of Rock. The flammable situation could have been made much worse had mobilized police units responded with a heavy hand. Instead, commanders held their ground and waited for tensions to dissipate. Peace and stability are the short- and long-term objectives of those sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the Israeli capital. They knew that the extremists—this time on both sides—were looking for blood. It wasn’t going to happen this time around. And certainly not on their watch.