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Israel’s Nightmares

Paris – “It is reasonable to believe in miracles,” David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, once said. Today’s Israelis do not seem to believe in miracles. Instead, more than ever before they are obsessed by nightmares, foremost among them, the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

To prevent a regime imbued with an absolute ideology from gaining possession of the “absolute weapon” is Israel’s paramount priority. Everything must be done, even a unilateral military strike, to prevent or at least delay Iran’s acquisition of such a weapon. This Israeli conviction on what it considers an existential issue stands in stark contrast with the fatalism that otherwise dominates Israelis’ thinking about themselves and their relations with the Palestinians.

How is this fatalism manifesting itself, where does it come from, and what can be done to transcend it?

These questions are important, because “fatalism” has become a major obstacle that must be overcome by anyone seriously interested in bringing peace to the region. For this fatalism is a strong card in the hands of someone such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is intent on preserving the status quo . A majority of Israelis would probably back a preventive attack on Iran and satisfy themselves with the preservation of the status quo in relations with the Palestinians.