View from Netanya

ELKAN’S VIEW 14th January 2015

Last week’s events in Paris have possibly changed the world we live in, although my cynical reluctance to admit that the nations of the West have any real concept of what they are facing leads me to wonder. Of course it was predictable; there have been enough signs in France to say nothing of the rest of Western Europe for people to understand that this is a major clash of civilisations.

It is not even merely an attack on the Jews, although almost every major outrage has a parallel Jewish attack. Shared by almost every other government in Western Europe, it is actually a significant failing on the part of the French government to take the threat of Islamic Jihadists seriously. It is easy to blame any government for a lack of police, troops on the ground, security people, whatever. The struggle against Islamic extremism must be taken forward by all available means, and governments have to be very proactive (as has the Israeli government for many years) if this dangerous threat to freedom is to be defeated.

Arguably it is now more dangerous for a European Jew, especially in France, to live outside Israel. If 7,000 French Jews made Aliyah last year, the figure this year will be undoubtedly much higher to Israel’s benefit and France’s loss.

That the latest addition of the magazine “Charlie Hebdo” sold out within minutes of coming on sale, despite the fact that its usual print run was vastly increased, gives a clear indication of what the average Frenchman thinks. But would have been quite as interested in the attack on the Jewish supermarket if it had not followed so closely the attack on the satirical magazine?

In the meantime quite how long will it take the British government to bring in necessary legislation to enable them to fight terror? The bleating of woolly minded liberals, that identity cards are an attack on liberty, is self-evident nonsense and must be derided as such. Liberty of thought and freedom of speech are wonderful things, but there are times when we have to fight, vigorously, actively, and with all available resources, if they are not to be destroyed by the liberties that they themselves profess to protect.