First there is a blinding flash. Israel is small enough that nearly everyone in the country will see it. Then would come the delayed sound of the massive explosion. This might reach fewer Israelis, but the implication of doom would be no less. This would all occur seconds or maybe minutes after the hopeless sound of air-raid sirens would wail throughout the country. This is the grave and possible outcome of a nuclear armed Iran.
Israel does not have enough land to take this threat lightly. A similar nuclear attack in the United States for example would be devastating to say the least, but the country as a whole would survive to fight its enemies. If one nuclear weapon were launched at Tel Aviv, nearly all of Israel’s population, both Jewish and Muslim, tourists and natives, Sephardic and Ashkenazi would perish. There would be no Hollywood style comeback and ultimate victory for the nation of Israel. The country that means so much too so many, and has cost the blood of both Jews and Arabs, would cease to exist. There would be no nation to fight for or live in.
The repercussions for the rest of the world’s Jewish population are also potentially devastating. As violence and conflict would erupt, countries will start choosing sides and the Jews could once again be very easily be demonized as the reason for the world’s major wars.
This is of course, a worst case scenario. There are a great many possible outcomes to the Iranian nuclear program, including the point that even if Iran does build a nuclear weapon, the Ayatollahs may not actually be crazy enough to use them on Israel. Most Israeli’s however, don’t like the odds in playing chess with a madman as the most recent check-up from the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran does intend to build a nuclear weapon and their getting closer to their goal every day. Ten random Israelis were approached for this article and asked one simple question: “Do you believe that if Iran succeeds in building a nuclear weapon, that they will use it against Israel?” Two replied with a quick no, one said that he didn’t know, but seven Israelis responded with a firm yes.
This means that Israelis see the potential danger that lays in their future. This is not like the beginning of the Holocaust when Jews denied the aggressive signs in front of them. But wait, the huge mall in Tel Aviv where this questionnaire was performed was packed with Israelis. The young people, the business people, and the religious people are all going about their lives in the modest Israeli economy as if there was no missile in the world with range enough to destroy everything that they know. How can this be? Why aren’t their Israelis leaving the country from fear? Why aren’t there nervous citizens lining up to receive gas masks? How can the economy be continuing to grow under such threat?
There are a few answers to these questions that make Israelis slightly unique from the majority of the world. One is the Jewish history that Israelis constantly keep in mind. Now, every nation of people is unique for their own individual history, but having to put up with this kind of threat for so long has made the Israeli nation particularly resilient to panic. People are worried, but they’re used to worrying. The history of the Jewish people is of course full of threats of annihilation, but just since the creation of Israel in 1948 Israeli citizens have put up with multiple attempts to end their existence. Israelis have learned something important: fear will get them nowhere. Their only option is to keep going as they are. They exist in a hostile environment, and if necessary, know to fight for what they have.
The second reason that the average Israeli does not panic about these things is a certain trust, or blind faith that the people capable of stopping Iran (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barak Obama, and other European leaders) will succeed before it’s too late. This is also a point of view that comes from Israel’s history of superiority militarily and technologically. In 1981 Israel successfully destroyed an Iraqi nuclear in a preemptive airstrike because of intelligence suggesting that Iraq would bomb Israel if given the opportunity. The Air Force has also destroyed nuclear facilities of its hostile neighbor Syria. A great number of Israelis do not support or agree with Netanyahu, but these facts of historical evidence allow Israelis to trust that their leaders will not play politics when it comes to their safety and survival.
Another logical reason, which in turn is part of the reason for the Israeli trust in government, is the fact that there isn’t very much the average Israeli can do against this threat. In fact, the only action they can actively take part in to combat an Iranian nuclear weapon is to not be afraid of it. By going about their lives just as they normally would, Israelis show strength and courage in the face of great danger. Once again, fear and panic will not take the country of Israel very far.
Threat of a nuclear armed Iran is a real one for Israel and her citizens and it’s growing every day. Even if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs wouldn’t in fact launch a nuclear attack on the Jewish state, that’s not a risk that Israelis can afford to take. To their credit, Israelis are handling the situation just as they should be. They are concerned and fully aware of the dangers before them, but they also know that to be a responsible citizen in this case means to worry, but not too much.