Words of the Week: Ron Leshem (trans. Mitch Ginsburg)

Many Israeli writers petition for peace and rail against the occupation. I have added my voice to that choir, particularly in May during the government’s lethally inept handling of the Turkish flotilla that tried to break the embargo on Gaza. Yet, as I look back at 2010 and the flotilla, I deeply believe that the greatest peril is from a ruthless and implacable foe: religious fanaticism. And the people on the ship that the Israeli naval commandos boarded, the Mavi Marmara, with their motive and capacity to manipulate world opinion, were acting cynically on its behalf. The death of nine people on the Mavi Marmara was a calamity. But activists on board stabbed and shot the soldiers who sought to steer the ship to a port from which nonmilitary cargo could be trucked to Gaza.

It is simple for an author to declare: “Peace. Peace now!” But it is a hollow demand.

From “Israel’s Present Tense,” by Ron Leshem (trans. Mitch Ginsburg), The New York Times, January 2, 2011