Classical Zionism posited that the future State it envisioned would be a ‘light unto the nations.’ The vision behind this statement was that most of the nations of the world had made a mess of things. War and hate was the only language they seemed to understand and anti-Semitism was for many, almost national policy. Zionism’s vision was a people and State which would show the world the best that the human heart can offer.
That was then, this is now. What does contemporary Israel offer? Targeted killing. The surveillance state. Counter-terror and perpetual war. Israel’s defense industries are ranked tenth in the world in their exports of weapons systems. Not to mention Israel’s so-called “start-up nation,” which is little more than a massive technology incubator for the Israeli military/security apparatus.
Once Israel represented a dream of peace and humanity. Today, Israel represents the arms makers of the world. Instead of exporting Jewish values, it exports missiles and security systems and the product I’ll introduce below.
When it comes to protecting its people, no nation is more resolute than Israel. With a land area about the size of New Jersey, and fewer than 8 million citizens, the country is relatively small and geographically vulnerable to the hostile adversaries that surround it. As evidence of its resolve, Israel is said to spend a greater percentage of its gross domestic product on national defense than any other nation.
…The rifle’s development began two decades ago when the Israelis—at the time relying primarily on the Galil and its variants alongside the M16 rifle and M4 carbine for infantry use—found themselves facing increasingly dynamic and demanding urban combat situations. Dismounting from vehicles and shooting on the move in and around buildings proved a need for a more agile, adaptable platform. In addition, better accuracy and easier transitioning from daytime to nighttime shooting were identified as areas that should be improved.
Now, PoliceOne, a website devoted to evaluating and selling weapons and other products to U.S. police departments has featured the Israeli rifle under the following screamingly inauspicious subtitle:
The Tavor is one of the most anticipated rifles since the end of the assault weapons ban
This is a promotional video produced by the Military Arms Channel that includes a tour of the IWI factory and a suitable hasbara subtext. You may not be able to stomach the entire 18-minutes of this glorification of the weapons culture, Israel-style. But I offer it as a documentary account of this contemporary version of the Zionist dream:
A headline in the IDF’s publication BaMaheneh boasts:
The Tavor Conquers America!
The article notes hyperbolically that:
It is the weapon most beloved by Americans. So much so that demand outstrips supply.
Its manufacturer, Israel Weapons Industries, kvelled:
“We’ve even seen a picture of a man who tattooed the Tavor on his arm.”
Speaking of “innovative” new weapons systems, over the past week, Israel announced a new rocket called EXTRA, (video demonstration above) with extra-long range that could be used in a future war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. At 100 miles, it is one of the longest-ranged rockets in the world. Its warhead is designed to destroy underground bunkers (an implied reference to Hezbollah’s wide underground tunnel system in southern Lebanon which was used to devastating effect against the IDF during the 2006 War). A number of foreign militaries have purchased the system, though none have yet been manufactured.
This is a direct response to the perceived threat from Hezbollah and meant for Israel’s next war in Lebanon. My first response when I read this article was to think, is this what one of the most volatile region’s of the world needs? A new rocket that can do even more damage that existing Israeli ones can? Israel has been a key player in militarizing the region and now it wants to ratchet up the arms race. Supposedly in order to fight its enemies, but additionally to bolster its economic bottom line by exporting these new weapons systems to foreign generals eager to buy the next military play-toy.
Herzl once famously said: “If you will it, it is no legend.” This was the Zionist dream that the early pioneers sought to realize with their blood, sweat and tears. But what are we offering to the world today? Instead of a light unto the nations, the new classical Zionist motto should be: a gun unto the nations.