Club Med Mentality

December 3, 2022, Israel

I have never been to Club Med, or any other resort for that matter, but the impression is one of European luxury, comfort, relaxation and safety. The impression I have is of a culture that can afford luxury vacations, a people with plenty of disposable income, lounging around on beach lounge chairs, a drink in your hand and your toes on the sand, not a worry or care in the world.

And this worries me. 

It worries me because it is not the appropriate mindset for where we live. We live in the real Club Med, the Mediterranean, the Middle East. We are a small country surrounded by many hostile countries hell bent on our destruction. We are a people with a history of being the victim of genocidal attempts. There are still those among us who survived the atrocities of Europe and the murderous attempts of Arab nations to destroy us. Is it truly the time to go vacationing?

I grew up in a different Israel, a more frugal Israel. We had one week out of the year where one could purchase American products; it was called Shavua America (American Week), it was held in Kolbu Shalom in Tel Aviv, and it was a very exciting time. I can recall going there with my parents and we could see the products we missed from when we lived in the US. We could get our Raisin Bran cereal, Hershy's chocolates and other products. Today there is no need for such a special event; you can purchase American products anywhere anytime, and, Israeli products are just as good these days. The days of frugal living are over. 

I recall my dad, may he rest in peace, distributing our chocolate treat every Shabbat, on the Sabbath, one bar of chocolate for a family of six. It was a special treat for the Sabbath, I cherish that memory. Today any child can purchase chocolate whenever he wants. I recall that peanut butter was considered a luxury. I recall my dear mother, may she rest in peace, working extra jobs, teaching private English lessons, anything to make ends week. I recall that using the air conditioner was a luxury. I learned to appreciate everything, the value of a dollar, or an Israeli Lira in those days. 

Today, according to the Hebrew calendar, marks two years since my dear mother departed this physical life, but her values live within me and I cherish the lessons. One might say we had a harder life in those days but I never felt a lacking for anything, and I know we were better off than today. 

I recall we had a constant plumbing problem until our good friend Meir finally found the cause of the leak; an underground cache of weapons hidden during the War of Independence, whoever hit those weapons never came back for them. I recall when the police came to carefully remove the ammunition and explosives. 

And where I am I going with this? This is not just a meandering down memory lane, it is a vital lesson. We understood then that we must be careful, alert at all times, we must never put down our guard, we must understand that we are surrounded by dangerous enemies. Neighbor Bluma Hershkowitz's Auschwitz tattoo, numbers lining her arm, was a reminder of what the world thinks of us. No time to relax in the sun. We must be strong, alert, attentive. 

But the Israel of today has forgotten this. When I travel for work, to teach Krav Maga, and I overhear some of the other passengers, I am disgusted. What is this thinking? A weekend in Rome, Paris, for what? Don't you know what these places mean in Jewish history? Don't you know that the Romans destroyed our Temple, stole our money and used it to build their Colosseum? (using Jewish slave labor as well) Don't know you know that in Paris they rounded up every copy of our Talmud, our holy books, and burned them publicly while the people cheered? Europe for the weekend, for some fun shopping? No, this is not the Israel that I knew where people were modest, money was spent carefully, and people knew and felt their history. 

And this leads us directly to the Intelligence fiasco that allowed our neighbors to catch us with our pants down, or our soldiers in their pajamas. The nation was led by people who thought we lived in Club Med rather than in the real Middle East, a violent and brutal place filled with people who have never entered the 20th century. Our leaders thought that our enemies could be subdued with dollars and comfortable living, but it was precisely the billionaires of Hamas who planned these attacks. We thought we could buy them off by showing them a European standard of living, but while our children were suntanning at Club Med their little boys were training with real AK 47s and their girls were dreaming of becoming Shahid's, martyrs. 

A weekend of shopping in Paris and Rome, a Gucci handbag, a Swiss watch, does not a warrior produce. We need to go back and understand where we live. We need to drop these illusions of Club Med lifestyle and return to the 1950s when outdoor training, Krav Maga, camping and agricultural training where part of our education. We need to return to warrior training. The generation after the Holocaust rejected the finer European culture and took up Middle Eastern style living, farming was more sought after then playing the violin, rugged clothing replaced fine European garments. Guard duty was the common lot for all. 

For years I have been warning against the Club Mediatization of Israel. Now we are paying the price.

The failure at the top was due to a misconception, it is time to leave the delusions, roll up our sleeves and get back to work, real work, and real training.


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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