I was originally given the opportunity to write for this fine publication because I had a certain perspective about Israel and that country's ever-worsening situation.
I love Israel and the Jews. I have visited three times and highly recommend that you also see the land firsthand. The reason for my lack of opinions concerning Israel has been purely practical -- constantly opining that the sky is about to fall creates doubt and lethargy. Perish the thought.
But, as my old hero Bob Dylan used to sing, The times, they are a-changin'.
It is no accident that Benjamin Netanyahu's face graced a recent TIME cover. To fully understand the gravity of what is happening in Israel, let's briefly review a similar past event.
In the late spring of 1967, Israel's surrounding Arab neighbors decided it was time to finish what Adolf Hitler had started. And they made no bones about it.
Egypt's leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, publicly proclaimed the pending extermination of the nation of Israel. The tiny country, which at the time occupied less than one-tenth of one percent of the Middle East region, was an affront to Allah and had to go.
The Egyptian military began a massive buildup in the Sinai. Israelis in Eilat saw their potential enemy's campfires increase exponentially just to their southwest. Syria amassed hundreds of tanks on the Golan. Jordan prepared for war. Most Israelis prayed and, quite honestly, prepared for another holocaust. Backhoes dug massive graves in public parks throughout the country.
Israel's government, however, had different plans. There is a proverb about the progeny of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that says, If you want four or five opinions on any topic, ask two Jews. As the very visible buildup continued, Israeli officials vociferously differed on what to do. Finally, the feuding government factions were brought under one roof. Israel hit first and won the war in six days.
Why do I revisit that event? Simply because Israel has again restructured their government. The Middle East situation is purely theoretical to the other nations on our planet, but not to Israeli Jews. They are eyeball to eyeball with a genuine, terminal threat. The recent election in Egypt, which certainly means a dissolution of the decades-old peace treaty, tightens the noose.
When the Israelis are backed into a corner, without an escape route, they make a very bad enemy. They really don't care what Russia, China, Obama, or the United Nations thinks about their actions. They have already played the dying victims' role and they will not revisit that experience.
Expect a response soon. I am neither a prophet nor the seventh son of a seventh son, but a plethora of foreboding red flags are flying and something big is about to happen.
Walt Osterman is the author of Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth. He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.