quotes Israel, we all know who you are

09 April 2024
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Updated 08 April 2024

Israel, we all know who you are

Throughout the darkest days of the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan regularly referred to the US as the “shining city on a hill,” illuminating the rest of the world through its freedom, values, and a powerful message of courage and optimism.

For a long time, Israel was seen by America and parts of the West as the shining city on a hill in the Middle East, projecting a message of hope, democracy and Western values upon a land of darkness. It turns out that it was actually a powerful volcano, sending deadly tremors and explosions throughout Arab and Palestinian lands while spewing a lava of hatred, destroying everything in its path.

Today the world sees Israel for what it is, or perhaps for what it has become. Its light of freedom and democracy has been all but extinguished in those very lands. Yet the volcano roars ever louder, destroying Palestinian schools and hospitals, murdering children and entire families with no qualms.

Every day, it spews more lava and seeks to destroy not only the Palestinian people but every decent human being trying to help those in need. The seven World Central Kitchen aid workers who were killed were unfortunately not an anomaly. Even the American public can now see what Israel has become, no matter how oblivious they may have been to the country’s abuse and oppression of the Palestinians, a people who had lived peacefully and respectfully in this land for countless centuries. God does not forget his people. The darkness of evil is eventually exposed by the sunshine of justice.

We all see what Israel is today, and it is not about blaming one measly politician such as Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has been overcome by a far greater wave of hatred that flows everywhere, dressed in lies and mendacity. Israelis are no longer ashamed of being seen and filmed expressing that hatred, killing thousands of women and children without concern or remorse, destroying an entire people and their livelihood out of dark, black spite.

Israelis are no longer ashamed of being seen and filmed expressing that hatred, killing thousands of women and children without concern or remorse, destroying an entire people and their livelihood out of dark, black spite.

For those who thought Israel was spreading the light of democracy and Western values, this is an uncomfortable awakening. Israelis like to say they are like a sabra cactus, prickly on the outside but sweet on the inside. A more appropriate image today would be a cactus that is prickly on the outside and opens to reveal a live hand grenade on the inside. Palestinians have known this all along, of course, as they have been oppressed and denied, not even reaching the status of second-class citizen in Israel itself.

The expressions on the faces of the children of Gaza are concentrated in their eyes, the reflection of that volcano of hatred as it erupts, the lava and shrapnel destroying their homes and penetrating their flesh. The faint glimmer in their eyes is recognition that the world finally sees the true face of Israel — its hatred, its violence, its unforgiving vindictiveness — that they have always known, because it has shattered every aspect of their lives, every source of light and hope. Israel has been completely exposed, more desperate and vengeful than ever. If only Israel could heed the seemingly forgotten wisdom of its Jewish religious instruction.

There is no justification for Israel’s shameful behavior. They must remember the message of their prophets and confront the evil and extremism that is infiltrating Israeli society. They must awaken their consciences as a wise, learned and compassionate people. Jews around the world have upheld traditions that Israelis appear to have neglected. For centuries, Jews were an integral and highly respected part of Arab society, known for their thoughtfulness and scholarship, abiding by the law much as they do today in the US or Europe. More than anyone else, Jews around the world cannot bear to witness what has become of Israel.

But Israel cannot distort its own reality any longer. Enough is enough. The world is watching and understands the game of hatred and extremism that Israel is trying to turn to its advantage. It is time to expose the lie that was this shining city of Western democracy on a hill, overlooking the supposedly dark and retrograde world of Arabs. It is these very Arabs who have offered Israel a hand of peace, despite the suffering of their Palestinian brethren and despite the pollution of democracy and human rights they see. Israel today lies exposed; I call upon the world to help us wake the humanity and compassion, the integrity and hope that lies buried beneath the country’s all-consuming volcano of hatred. Help us wake Israel and shine these values on their hill.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi Arabia’s petroleum ministers, Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani, from 1959 to 1967. He led the Saudi Information Office in Washington from 1972 to 1981 and served with the Arab League’s observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.