Not that I expect the Arabs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries CE to take my advice, but I’d have counseled against attacking the nascent Zionist state. My cavalrymen and I could have told you what happens when you attempt to push the people of Israel into the sea.
Now, it’s true that the two conflicts were different in many ways, but several similarities should have alerted the Syrians, Jordanians, and the heirs to my once-great civilization, the Egyptians, not to get too ambitious in attacking Israel.
For one thing, in both modern and ancient cases, the problem arose when the minority in the area, the people of Israel, started trying to assert some kind of independence, when for so long it had been acceptable to treat them as second-class inhabitants, at best, and outright slaves if it came to that. You start undermining the assumption that the people of Israel are supposed to be oppressed, under the boot of others, and well, that’s a bitter pill to swallow if you’re the majority culture who has enjoyed privilege all that time. You start to feel entitled to having those slaves around to do your bidding and remain unable to resist. Well, when push came to shove and they insisted on not being downtrodden anymore, insisted on taking control of their own futures, we responded with violence, we ancient Egyptians and twentieth-century Arabs. And we miscalculated, so we lost, disastrously.
For another, you won’t see any soul-searching going on among either majority culture. You will notice that my scribes and historians went light on the negative aspects of my rule, preferring instead to dwell on my success only, as befitting a god worthy of tribute and submission. This might seem familiar to modern-day Arabs, whose culture discourages, to put it mildly, any thought of accepting blame for failures, and therefore any honest appraisal of what went wrong in order to prevent a recurrence.
Kindred spirits, if you will: the Arabs were not the first not to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity – I had multiple chances to Let His People Go, and chose each time to give my pride priority over my people’s welfare, over competent administration of my kingdom, and over my place in history. Imagine the prosperity, serenity, and grace that would characterize a Middle East in which Pharaoh had endorsed the freedom and sovereignty of Israel; imagine the prosperity, stability, and advancement of a Middle East that had embraced the reassertion of that sovereignty in 1948.
But you go ahead and keep trying to drive the Jews into the sea. Let My People Know how that’s working out for you.
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