Christians and Jews know from studying religious texts that the Hebrews lived in what is now Israel roughly 3,000 years ago, and many independent sources confirm their occupation of that land three millennia ago.
Even the Quran, the Islamic equivalent of the Bible, notes: “Sura 17, The Children of Israel (Banî Israel)” in the Khalifa translation, and perhaps others, as well.
Charles Krauthammer provided context in The Weekly Standard in 1998, commenting that “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”
The land occupied by modern Israel is small, about the size of Wales or half the size of Costa Rica, and is located roughly on the site of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, except that these ancient kingdoms also included what is now the West Bank.
Israel is 263 miles long and varies from 9 miles wide at the narrowest point to 70 miles wide at the widest point. It is a little larger than Connecticut and a little smaller than New Jersey, and is home to approximately 8 million Israelis, 5.5 million of whom are Jews.
Israel is bordered on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, and its contiguous neighbors are Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, with Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran not far away.
Israel is smaller than any of its neighbors, both in geographic size and population. The nations that surround it don’t like Israel or Jewish people. “Death to Israel” is in fact a common sentiment among those nations and their people. This sentiment is reflected in a BBC poll last year showing Israel as the fourth least popular nation on the planet, behind Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.
This perception is based largely on the fact that there are more voices in the region where Israel and its enemies reside demeaning Israel – those would be the voices of the “Death to Israel” crowd – than there are Israeli voices telling the other side of the story. It is not so different than going to Boston and asking which American League team residents think is the most unpopular, and finding most named the New York Yankees, not the Red Sox.
As the saying goes, the more you tell a lie, the more it is believed, and with the help of dishonest reporting, the lie spreads far and wide.
In fact, while the enemies scream “Death to Israel,” Israel only asks for peace, and has made numerous concessions towards that goal, only to be slapped in the face with violent attacks.
The current fighting follows an unprovoked attack on Israel by Hamas. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Hamas “is the largest and most influential Palestinian militant movement … [and] is a Sunni Islamist group and a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization violently opposed to the state of Israel.”
The murders of three Israeli boys and the murder of one Palestinian boy initially stirred tensions, and Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets on Israel to kick-start the conflict.
The differences in how the two sides operate could not be starker: Hamas fires rockets aimed at civilian-occupied areas; Israel targets Hamas compounds, militant command centers, weapons storage facilities and tunnels into Israel and Egypt.
Thus far, more casualties have occurred on the Palestinian side of the conflict, due in part to the Israeli Iron Dome defense system used to protect their citizens by intercepting rockets aimed at population centers. Hamas, however, is said to store rockets in homes and schools, and reportedly uses civilians as shields against attacks on the storage areas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the two philosophies: “We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."
Such tactics help explain the greater number of casualties among Palestinians, and Hamas turns this into anti-Israel propaganda, helping to propagate Israel negative image worldwide.
Steven P. Bucci, who served America for three decades as an Army Special Forces officer and top Pentagon official, writes that “before the Israelis strike a building, every home in it gets a call on its landline phone, as do all the cell phones associated with the inhabitants of the building — the cells additionally get text messages — telling them that in a few minutes the building will be targeted. Finally, to make sure everyone gets the message, Israel drops a dud bomb—one containing no explosives—onto the roof of the structure. … There is no instance in modern military history where a force has taken greater measures to give the innocents as much chance to get out of the way.”
The broad hatred of Israel and love for its enemies is irrational. Despite this, Israel behaves honorably in defending itself against repeated attacks, holds its own against the haters, and survives.