Nov. 29, 2019
How to Survive in the Middle East – Nave Dromi
Almost a million Jews had lived in the Middle East and North Africa before being expelled by Arab leaders and forced to flee around the middle of the 20th century. On Nov. 30, we will remember their ethnic cleansing on the Day of Commemoration for the Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran.
According to numerous surveys, Jews whose origins are in the Middle East and North Africa understand better than others that in this region there are only two types of people: the conquerors and the conquered.
We have seen in recent years how the stateless are treated, whether it is the Kurds in Turkey, Syria or Iraq; the Coptic Christians in Egypt; or the Yazidis in Iraq. And this used to be the lot of the Jews in the region. When Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and Iran talk about destroying Israel, their goal is to undo what they see as the unnatural emergence of Jewish sovereignty on territory previously conquered by Islam – which must be reclaimed in battle. For them, this is a very real religious obligation.
For Israel to survive in such a region, it must prove itself. Israel’s enemies believe it can and will be defeated. Peace will only come when it is clearly understood that Israel will not be defeated and will not vanish. When Israel’s enemies grasp this and are ready for peace, then negotiations can begin in earnest. The writer is director of the Middle East Forum in Israel. (JNS)