The battle against terror may make Israel deserving of a break from the international affairs, but one can’t help but wonder why the current escalation comes right on time to draw attention away from the jarring moral dilemma

The pace at which current events unfold in Israel no longer startles its people. Previously concerned almost entirely by our festering domestic troubles, Israel has become a hub for mediation of various international issues – from the Abraham Accords to Russia and Ukraine.

At the same time, relations with the Arab world have proliferated geographically, ideologically, and conceptually.

The map pf ‘Palestine’ in Jenin (Photo: Jaafar Ashtiye / AFP)


Instead of the old-fashion rivalry between Israelis and Palestinians, or Jews and Muslims, the Arab-Israel framework has evolved into a multi-layered affair, scoping from riots in small towns in the West Bank, to superpower trade relations via the Abraham Accords.

The present-day elaborate relations include interest-based alliances, ancient rivalries, and everything in between. What was once a series of consecutive, monotonous conflicts that antagonized Israel in the eyes of Arab countries, has become an intricate network of relations between the Jewish state and various Arab players.

If this wasn’t enough for our miniscule Middle Eastern state, it has also taken it upon itself to play a central role on the international arena. Israel, in its almost 74 years of existence, has managed to secure close ties with the United States and other global superpowers in what could be seen as an attempt to play in the big-kid league.

Israeli supporters of US President Donald Trump wave flags as they drive on a Highway on their way from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel, 27 October 2020
Israeli-American flags (Photo: EPA, AP)


Following decades of growth and development, Israel has piled on both rights and obligations on the international field, involving itself in more distant matters to construct a reputation, fulfill its interests, and win over more allies.

The most up-to-date example of this type of venture is exhibited in Israel’s efforts to mediate in the Russia-Ukraine war, before it all came to a crashing halt with the start of the latest terror wave a few weeks ago.

Given the unique position Israel has on the world stage, being an ally of both Russia and Ukraine, it answered Ukrainian calls to bring the two warring sides to the negotiating table. Israel has endured a lot of criticism for maintaining good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, giving critics another reason to bash Israel. Despite the some negative feedback the endeavor brought upon Israel, it also helped Israel be seen as a crucial diplomatic player beyond the confining Middle East region.

ראש הממשלה, נפתלי בנט, ונשיא רוסיה, ולדימיר פוטין, נועדים לראשונה בעיר סוצ׳י, רוסיה
Bennett and Putin (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)


With all this on its plate, it’s no wonder the breaking news in Israel runs like water. With reports leaping from the Temple Mount to Mariupol, it’s only human for yesterday’s headlines to escape the public’s conscious the day after.

So, here’s a quick reminder of some of the headlines that were all over the Israeli media just a few weeks ago: “Israel braces for a housing crisis amid Ukrainian immigration wave”; “Ukrainian embassy torches Israel over restrictive refugee policy”; “Polish envoy rails Israel over response to Ukrainian refugee crisis”.

Israeli politicians struggled to juggle between welcoming the refugees of Jewish origin, eligible for the Law of Return, and elegantly turning down requests of some non-Jews to seek asylum in the country, placing itself on a slippery slope between humanity and discrimination. Can it really be regarded as humanitarian aid if the humans being aided are handpicked and altered to the nationalist demographic interests of the Jewish state?

Just as critics were bashing Israeli politicians and bringing them face to face with this jarring question, along came the terror wave.
With civilians in imminent danger and the Palestinian conflict reemerging to the surface, Israel refocused its efforts back on the domestic front, putting all other matters on hold.

עולים חדשים במתחם משרד העלייה והקליטה בנתב"ג
Ukraininas arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport (Photo: Yariv Katz)


With frequent shootings, stabbings, and nationwide rioting, all in the context of the religious holidays, the Ukrainian refugees have disappeared from the headlines.

It would be fitting if someone asked how they’re doing and reminded the government of the question they were had overlooked even before the start of the terror wave.

One can’t help but wonder whether if this turn of events – while never wished for – is somewhat convenient for Israel at this time. What deters unwanted immigrants more than a terror wave? Although it goes largely unspoken, don’t many countries seek ways to glibly deter the burden of refugees, especially at a time of such dire need for a joint effort of absorption?

לפסטינים מניפים דגלי חמאס בהר הבית
Riots at the Temple Mount (Photo: AP)


This isn’t a call to point fingers at politicians for skirting around the refugee crisis. Maybe Israel deserves it – a time out from the international disturbances. A country that can’t catch a break from battling the constant threat of terrorism could indeed use a minute to patch itself up before offering a warm embrace to those in need on the outside.

Still so, it would be wise to skim over the headlines from the not-so-distant past, both to remind ourselves of the atrocities happening outside our borders, and to witness the way time took a turn of ironic convenience to Israel’s advantage.

As reported by Ynetnews