Nir Nitzan's father fought in Israel's War of Independence, and again in the wars of 1956 and 1967.
Nir fought in the first and second Lebanon wars, many actions in between them, and his son has fought in Gaza.
Nir has been my guide for the past couple of days as I have moved through Jerusalem and various other sites on my first journey to Israel. He is a realist.
He is also a magnificent guide to the Holy Land, and often leads large groups as well as small. It was especially interesting to be with him on the day after one of the worst terrorist attacks in years, as a group from Hamas-controlled Gaza made it's way across the Gaza-Egypt border and through the Sinai to a point where an ambush of civilian holiday traffic was possible, and killed eight and wounded 20.
"We destroyed the headquarters of the operation this morning," he relayed as we drove towards Masada, falling into the collective voice that marks a retired Lt. Colonel talking about a military operation. "But it is a sign of what will come if Egypt does not re-establish control of the Sinai."
This is not pessimism so much as it is the matter-of-fact statement of what comes from a radicalized Gaza and a collapsing Egyptian army.
The Arab Spring has been rightly celebrated in the U.S., and even now we ought to be working for the overthrow of Assad and after him Syrian influence in Lebanon.
But President Obama was late to call for the ouster of the Syrian dictator and if his pattern holds he and his Administration will be late to recognize the threat posed by the rise of Islamist political power in Egypt.
Our most reliable ally in the world is this small Jewish state, and never have relations between Israel and the U.S. been so strained for so long.
The president came to office with a deeply embedded attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that tilts towards the Palestinians and views the stand-off as a mutually caused tragedy.
Of course no Israelis ambush civilians en route to a holiday by the sea or launch unguided missiles towards civilian neighborhoods.
And no Israeli is making common cause with al Qaeda and cooperating with Iran's fanatics.
Walking through the tunnels that run alongside the Western Wall of the Temple Mount it is almost impossible not to atop and marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people and their tenacity.
But what the Romans lacked the Iranians will soon possess: The ability to kill every living thing in the City of David.
And what the Iranian regime already is what the Egyptian state could become.
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