by Bernice Lipkin

In the past two years, Islamists have made significant progress in taking over the governing of Arab countries, planning to turn them into imitations of life in the 7th century Arabian desert — with the addition of cellphones and faster transportation. In general, what was dubbed the Arab Spring is shifting Arab states from rule by dictator to rule by totalitarian ideologues, with no perceptible change in the individual's ability to control his own life and make his own choices. The newly repressed states join the established retrogrades such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar in their plans for developing the rigid adherence to sharia that is deemed essential for re-establishing the Caliphate.

Israel's closest neighbors are more politically unstable than ever. As Stuart Fischman wrote in the December 19, 2012 edition of his Haifa Diarist blog:

"A look at the map reveals what our neighbors are like. Lebanon has not had an elected government since the assassination of Hariri and the southern border is fully re-supplied with Iranian missiles, under the 'watchful eye' of the UN observers 'enforcing' Security Council resolution 1701. Recall that Israel was encouraged to negotiate a withdrawal from the Golan Heights with the 'moderate' Assad government of Syria. Jordan is ruled by a Hashemite monarchy, but has a Palestinian population majority, and is economically weak. King Abdullah II is not the clone of his father, King Hussein. Egypt is currently ruled by a new Pharaoh who has reluctantly accepted the peace treaty with Israel. The porous Sinai border is now being protected by a security barrier to deter smuggling of weapons, drugs and illegal immigrants into Israel. Gaza — I'll let the 'Pillars of Defense' operations speak to that!"

Iran has been controlled by a harsh version of Islam since Jimmy Carter brought democracy to it by helping depose the Shah. The magic of the ballot box brought the Mullahs to power and there they have stayed, preaching and practicing the virtue of their own brand of repressive Islam. Iran is now the most likely candidate for profoundly changing the physical geography of the Middle East. It is also a place where contradictory trends are at work. Iran's Arab neighbors are angry at her meddling in their affairs (; Western turtle-speed sanctions are slowly damaging her economy; and the value of her currency has fallen markedly. Will these stop Iran's spendthrift investment in nuclear weapons before she actually has one to brandish as a weapon of regional blackmail or to use against Israel or possible America? It's a race, where we have little information on rates of acceleration for any of the factors involved in guesstimating which will come first: a great nuclear success or a great economic and political bust.

In keeping with its tradition of double or even triple or quadruple standards, there is no condemnation by the U.N. — that fount of moral idealism — when Hamas, the terrorist group controlling Gaza, calls for killing all Jews. There is no outrage when a head of a legitimate State, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, calls for genocide against the Jews. Syria kills thousands of its own citizens and that isn't condemned as harshly as Israel killing a child used by its own terrorist parent to shield the parent from Israel's counter attack.

Some of us assume that the brutal slaughters accompanying the new political rearrangements in the region will lead the world to reexamine its belief that the slaughtering of Jews by guns, rocks, knifes and mortars is excusable because the Palestinians have no other way of fighting a superior power. Watching Arabs slaughter Arabs and other Muslims with relish, people should suspect that Arab brutality isn't a new type of behavior developed in response to the Israeli "invasion." But in general the world compartmentalizes events and will extract no new meaning from them. For whatever reasons, it still wants to believe that if the Arabs didn't need to fight to regain their land, they would outdo the Buddhists in gentleness and peacefulness. For Islam is a religion of peace, is it not?

It is true some people are finally beginning to notice the same brutal harassment dished out to the Jews is bestowed on all minorities. Torching churches — they prefer it's filled with Christians — and murdering Christian Copts is on a sharp increase. Other Muslims sects who were always repressed are now openly persecuted. Brutality is universal. The Alewites in Syria kill the Sunni sects. The Sunni rebels can't wait to slaughter the Alewites. The Sunnis in Shi'ite Iran are persecuted and the wetlands of the Marsh Arabs of have been destroyed. In Saudi Arabia, the Shi'ites are repressed. It's hard to find a large group of good guys.

The response by other countries to the universal barbarism is not consistent. For example, the American administration apparently judges a Middle East state by who is running the country not on behavior. The threat of Iran which is a virus on the verge of creating an epidemic is countered in slow almost invisible motion, but Libya's Gaddafi who was no threat to the West was brutally slain, with American help. The suppression of alternative lifestyles and religious freedom by Egypt's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is rewarded with American weaponry and money. In Syria, however, King Assad's brutality is sufficient justification for the Obama Administration to work to put the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in power. Assad's likely replacement, Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib, is an all-around hater: he can't tolerate Jews, the West and the Shi'a. As the Muslim Brother spreads its power, Al Qaeda takes root in more places. Admittedly, the Obama regime, which blandly labels the Brotherhood as moderate and has funded Hamas, has not yet dared to suggest we make friends with Al Qaeda. But it has no problem supplying them with the weaponry to fight the Syrian regime.


ALL IS NOT BLEAK. There are some signs of changing attitudes toward Arab fundamentalism. Many have noticed that the change to retrogressive Islam appears to have the cooperation of the majority of the Arabs of the different countries. When given a chance, the majority consistently picks the most non-democratic and ideologically repressive group to govern them. The trend toward more "modest" dress and strict Sharia law is hard to ignore. Even in America, despite the inertia of our homeland security agencies and our media, the public is becoming aware that Jihadists are infiltrating American institutions. It isn't Islamophobia when the Islamists are demonstrably trying to install Sharia in place of our Constitution. They are openly targeting the West as well as their own Arab states.

The huge deposits of natural gas and shale oil discovered under Israel have the potential to make her a geopolitical power. This will be particularly true as America realizes it also has the oil and gas reserves to make the USA independent of the Islamic countries.

As this happens, more and more people are beginning to appreciate the importance of Israel, aside from its spectacular accomplishments in helping people live better, eat better and be more independent.

It used to be argued the Israel was important only because America was fighting Communism. When USSR imploded, pessimists assumed Israel's usefulness was at an end. We now understand that Israel has a different and more important role: it is the bulwark against an enemy more virulent than Communism was. Through no desire of its own and simply because of its location, it is a major block to the ambitions of resurgent Islam to make everyone Muslim or dhimmi to the Muslims. Fortunately, Israel has the strength to be effective. Unfortunately, the same forces that weaken America and make it ashamed to use its muscle operate in Israel, encouraging it to win the high moral heights rather than the war its enemy is waging.

Israel is in the eye of the Middle Eastern storm. She needs our support to fight her battles, which are also our battles. At least in the West, relatively few of us want to be absorbed by the primitive totalitarianism of Resurgent Islam. It is also true, as this set of essays makes clear, Israel needs to adjust its actions to harmonize with its clear-eyed understanding of the neighborhoods that have grown up, surrounding what was once Ancient Israel.

Bernice Lipkin is managing editor of Think-Israel.

Return_________________________End of Story___________________________ Return