JERUSALEM, Israel -- Imagine living in a country the size of New Jersey surrounded by a sea of less-than-friendly neighbors who prefer not to acknowledge your right to exist and refuse to open diplomatic relations with you. That's reality for the Jewish nation-state.
Like most people, Israelis want to live normal lives, working, marrying, raising their families. They want to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and holidays together and generally they do. Life goes on in Israel just like anywhere else despite the seemingly unending threats and the world's double standard when it comes to Israel.
Nonetheless, in the current climate, Israel simply cannot afford to let down its defenses -- not on the borders and not within the country.
An Israel Defense Forces source quoted by The Jerusalem Post earlier this week says Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, is steadily increasing its influence in the West Bank via social aid programs. According to the source, Hamas is particularly targeting university students, inculcating them with its jihadist mentality.
The tactics are very similar to those used by its mentor, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: pave the way for infusing jihad by meeting people's practical needs, precisely what Hamas is doing in P.A.-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria -- the West Bank.
That same ideology pervaded the bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in June 2007. At the time, eyewitness accounts told of fathers being gunned down in front of their wives and children and Fatah members being thrown from the roofs of high-rise buildings.
In January 2006, Hamas trounced Fatah in national legislative elections by a whopping 70 percent -- a resounding affirmation of Hamas over P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.
Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist al-Nour Party, won nearly 75 percent of Egypt's upper and lower houses of parliament last spring, paving the way for Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi's victory in the presidential elections.
In the year following the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, Islamist mobs attacked the U.S. embassy in Cairo more than once, this despite the Obama administration's backing.
Meanwhile in municipal elections in the West Bank over the weekend, Fatah candidates won majorities in six towns, but lost in five others, where voters chose independents, more evidence of Abbas' dwindling support. Hamas boycotted the municipal elections, with one Hamas official saying they enforced "the split" between the two parties.
Though the media generally paints Abbas as a moderate, he's been exposed promoting the same hateful agenda as Hamas countless times.
In Cairo over the weekend, someone recorded President Morsi appearing to pray for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. On his knees in customary Islamic style, Morsi is seen praying along with Futouh Abd al-Nabi Mansour.
"Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us and grant us victory over the infidels," Mansour prayed. "Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate your might and greatness upon them. Show us your omnipotence, oh Lord."