The Arabs are winning the war

A chance encournter and a surprising conversation lead to a shocking conclusion. Op-ed.

Tzvi Fishman ,

Israeli apartment building hit by rocket in Ashkelon
Israeli apartment building hit by rocket in Ashkelon
Edi Israel/Flash90

Across the street from our home in Jerusalem a new apartment building is being constructed. Most of the workers are Arabs. Throughout the hot summer months I wondered how they could work all day long in the sweltering sun. Even more so, they worked with great energy and simcha. All through the day, their shouts and laughter filled the neighborhood.

Yesterday, I parked my car near the building site. A few strapping Arab workers were sitting in the shade during a break while they waited for a crane to lift new planks up to the roof. One of them was smoking a cigarette.

“When do you expect to finish the construction?” I asked.

“Maybe in another two months,” he answered. “Maybe more if there is a lot of rain.”

“Tell me,” I inquired. “Doesn’t it frustrate you to construct apartment buildings for Jews?” “I am not building for the Jews,” he replied. “I am building it for the Arabs who will live here one day.”
“Tell me,” I inquired. “Doesn’t it frustrate you to construct apartment buildings for Jews?”

“I am not building for the Jews,” he replied. “I am building it for the Arabs who will live here one day.”

His friends smiled and chuckled at his remark.

“Really? How is that going to happen?” I asked.

“It is simple,” he answered. “One day there will be a big war. Missiles will rain down on Israel from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. It will be a big balagan. Thousands of Jews will be killed. Thousands will flee from the country. The Arabs will win the war. Once again the land will be ours.”

He finished his cigarette and threw the stub on the ground. Glancing up at the building, he decided he had time for another.

“You seem to forget that Israel has missiles of its own. Our bombs could destroy Teheran, Beirut, Damascus, and Gaza City in a matter of days.”

“That is true,” he admitted. “But in the meantime, thousands of our missiles will fall all over Israel. The country will be in chaos. As you Jews like to say, we Arabs are a lowly people. We know how to live with very little. The devastation caused by your bombing is something we can handle. Like in Aza, we will simply build again."

"But your country will be paralyzed. You have become a spoiled people accustomed to foreigners doing all the hard work. Without Arab workers, you will be lost. And no matter how much you bomb us, our missiles will continue to cause death and terror. No one will come to your aid. Not even America. You will be alone against the whole Arab world. It will not take long before your frightened leaders will surrender. Your government and country will crumble.”

“Hashem will help us,” I said.

“Why should He help you?” he answered. “You ignore Him. As a nation you have turned your back on Him. In return, He will turn His back on you. Allah is with the nation of Islam. We have become the chosen people. You will see. One day, I will live in the penthouse of this building, or one of my cousins or friends will live here. And you, if you are still alive, will be sweeping our floors."

He blew a cloud of cigarette smoke in my face. His buddies laughed.

When I moved to Israel forty years ago, Arabs didn’t talk that way. The majority of Jews in Israel believed that we were the masters of the Land. How things have changed! I wanted to punch the arrogant fellow and wipe the smug smile off of his face. But I was clearly outnumbered. And there was no one to complain to. The foreman of the project was an Arab as well.

Who could I turn to for help? To Bennett, Gantz, Mansour Abbas?

While there remains a small core of Jews in Israel who are faithful to the Land, vast numbers of Jews in the country have allowed their belief in the Zionist dream to weaken. The Mapainikim of old who pioneered the resettlement of the Land no longer hold it as sacred in their hearts. Today’s Left is anxious to give chunks of their once cherished Zion away. The Likud, for all of its talk, is willing to compromise as well. The Haredi community is largely indifferent, and Jews in the Diaspora prefer to cling to Gentile lands rather than to live in their own Jewish Homeland.

On the psychological and spiritual front, the great and ultimate battle over the Promised Land is already underway and right now the Arabs are winning. Heaven forbid, it may indeed take a barrage of nonstop missiles to wake us up from our folly and slumber. Far better for us to strike first and deal them a knockout blow. But who today in Israel has the iron faith needed to push the button?

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."

Tzvi Fishman books