With a Little Help from my Friends 


Israel, Ma'ariv

By Menachem Ben


 "The work of the righteous is done by others…” 


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edited by Steven Stenzler


29 February 2012



It’ll do good to strip off the Purim costume “we want to hit Iran” and admit to ourselves that we want America to do the job for us – like in Saddam’s days.


Without entering at all into the question of whether it’s right or wrong to attack Iran – which only the greatest, as all know, can answer – whereas we are lower than grass (of course, if it were possible to hang the new Persian Haman on Purim1 without paying a price – we would sign up): we’d rather admit in any case, at least to ourselves, – otherwise we might abide in a very erroneous and very dangerous inertia – because despite our demonstrative and continued dissatisfaction with the world, isn’t it that what the world is doing on our behalf with regard to Iran is apparently a lot more of what we would have done on behalf of the world?

Can you imagine, for example, Israel participating in any boycott that is about to hurt its pocket – and concerns some other country? But here we go: all the countries of Western Europe and the U.S. and Australia and Japan are pulling together and are ready to absorb heavy losses affecting their economies in order to battle the Iranian menace. So it’s true that Iran, that pledges to export the Shiite Islam, portends the future of the entire world (including Russia’s and China’s who back it today) – but the immediate threat is undoubtedly primarily on us. And yet, the key part of the world joins the boycotts against Iran – and for this, we owe world a big thank you.

On the whole, the global willingness to make sacrifices in the name of a more just world is very impressive. The countries of NATO have sent their soldiers to intervene in the bloody war in Bosnia, to eliminate Saddam’s governance in Iraq, to cancel the Taliban rule in Afghanistan and so on and so forth - and in the process, suffered terrible losses and spent tremendous amounts of money – also when it wasn’t a direct threat to them, or was not to them overall (did Afghanistan endanger Poland? Did the Bosnian war imperil the U.S.?). Can you think of the Israeli government and the Israeli Knesset2 and Israeli mothers giving their blessing to some Israeli soldier to risk putting himself in harm’s way in the name of some “foreign” war on the globe?

How ugly it was to hear the Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Ya’alon (called “Bogie,” – and perhaps, it’s more appropriate to say “Bokey”* in this respect?), responding to the question of the Iranian issues the following: “The work of the righteous is done by others.” In other words, a disguised wish that the world would spill its blood for our sake in Iran. The main thing – not us. For aren’t we particularly sensitive to the dead, wounded and captured? So it’s right that Yitzhak Shamir3 was smart to promise George Bush the senior not to respond to Saddam Hussein’s Scud attack – for why would we retaliate if America does? But the major question is whether we realize the gratitude we owe to America and George Bush in the aftermath of bringing down Saddam Hussein who jeopardized our existence and even plotted to infiltrate Jordan in order to invade us from the East – and we’re talking about a man who indeed hesitated not to waste countless Iraqis (as he did in the Iran - Iraq war) in a war against us. So, did we say ‘thanks’? No, not really. Certainly not in a voice loud enough. Vice versa. We asked to be thanked, and even be given extensive bank guarantees – since we restrained ourselves.

This is about a very dangerous game. The question standing at the focus of the debate between the Democrats and the Republicans, and among the Republicans themselves, seems to already be not whether America should spearhead the effort on terminating the ayatollahs’ regime in Iran, but whether it should “allow” Israel to strike. And in this state of affairs, America definitely might let us – encouraged by Israel-haters like Ron Paul – assault on our own. Did you want this? Please go ahead. Just don’t expect American interference. And then what? Do we truly want – and can we proceed by ourselves in Iran? Netanyahu and Barak surely know how to answer that better than me.

Furthermore, I always remember the biblical verse from the book of Isaiah: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper,”4 which means that there is no weapon able to defeat Israel, if Israel acts rightly. In every matter. Therefore, the problem is not bombing Iran –but instead, the measure of our righteousness. On this, we still have to work...

Original Hebrew article:




1. Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by evil ruler Haman – a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. One of its most distinguished features is wearing extravagant masks and costumes.

2. Israeli parliament

3. Former Israeli prime minister

4. Isaiah 54:17

* slang - stupid