Had the graphic artist at TIME magazine had as his goal to upset the Jews by his cover for the January 19 issue, he couldn't have done a better job. A blue star of David hiding behind a cinderblock wall topped with barbed wire is so evocative of the Holocaust and the old canard that the Palestinians are the "victims of the victims" that it has stirred up the Jewish world and elicited accusations that TIME is (and has always been) anti-Semitic.

The bold title across the cover, "Why Israel Can't Win" has further riled a Jewish world intent on doing exactly that in Gaza. But the cover article by Tim McGirk, TIME's Jerusalem bureau chief, has more truth in it than those of us who love Israel would care to admit. I'll spare you my list of examples of Mr. McGirk's pro-Arab bias. The essence of the article is the contention that there is no solution to the conflict that will allow Israel to exist as a Democratic Jewish state—or even to exist at all.

The article is peppered with expressions of despair: "...the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state;" "...will require Israel and its defenders to confront excruciating dilemmas: How do you make peace with those who don't seem to want it?" "There's something tragic, too, in Israel's predicament: in any confrontation with its enemies, it is damned if does and doomed if it doesn't."

Israel cannot exist with hostile Arab states as close to it as the Bronx is to Manhattan.

Mr. McGirk's pessimism is based on a political reality and a demographic one. The political reality is that Israel has no way to get rid of Hamas, the overwhelming democratic choice of the civilians of Gaza, no matter how much it beats Hamas down militarily. In this, TIME is echoing a recent Wall Street Journal article by Max Boot, who contended that the only way Israel could eradicate Hamas is by fighting an all-out war like the U.S. fought against Germany and Japan. Since neither Israel's own moral scruples nor the international community would permit such combat, Israel can temporarily weaken Hamas, but can never defeat it.

The demographic reality is that there are nearly as many Arabs as Jews living in the total area between the Jordan River and the sea (which TIME readers may be surprised to learn is barely a distance of 40 miles). As TIME's handy chart points out, by 2020, the Arabs, due to their higher birthrate, will outnumber Jews at 8.5 million to 6.4 million.

In short, Israel cannot exist with hostile Arab states as close to it as the Bronx is to Manhattan. Nor can it reclaim those thickly Arab-populated territories and administer them without relinquishing its democratic ideals.

In this sense, Israel's victory in Gaza leaves us in a more desperate situation than our 2006 defeat in Lebanon. Then we could say that we lost due to poor performance by our governmental and military leaders. This time, both the government and the military have performed splendidly. Yet real victory -- the permanent cessation of attacks into our borders -- eludes us.

Israel is backed into a corner, with no exit. If I didn't believe in an almighty God who intervenes in history, I would give up all hope. But instead of groping around the floor for a trapdoor that isn't there, I look up and see a ladder. The only way out is up.


Jewish history has always been a long shot.

Here is where TIME magazine is wrong. They fail to take into account what I call "the God factor." Jewish history has always been a long shot. The most dramatic proof of that is that I, a Jew, am sitting here in my home in Jerusalem, 2,595 years after my ancestors were banished from here by the Babylonian Empire, 1,939 years after my ancestors were again banished from here by the mighty Roman Empire, after 1,930 years of my ancestors wandering among hostile and often murderous European hosts, 60 years after five well-armed, well-trained Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state, and 41 years after Nassar, backed by superior Soviet weaponry, vowed to "drive the Jews into the sea."

The eternal survival of the Jewish people, which was promised by God through the Biblical prophets, is as unlikely as a cluster of grapes, thrown into an erupting volcano then being swept up into a tornado and pounded by a tsunami, surviving intact -- and returning to its original vineyard.

Just think how TIME magazine would have reported on some of the significant events of Jewish history:

Issue of 1737 B.C.E.:
Why Abraham Can't Win

Abraham ben Terach, the famous revolutionary preacher of the exclusionary divinity, has been promised by his God that his offspring will inherit the land of Canaan. This pledge is politically untenable, as the native Canaanites have no intention of ceding land to this recent immigrant from Ur Kasdim in Mesopotamia. Moreover, the promise is ludicrous, as the 75-year-old Abraham has no children, and, even more to the point, his wife Sarah is 65 years old and suffers from incurable fertility problems.

Issue of 1312 B.C.E.:
Why Moses Can't Win

Our Midian bureau chief has discovered that the former Egyptian prince Moses, for the last 40 years a fugitive in Midian, claims to have had a vision of God. The Divinity reportedly promised that He would rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and would "bring them to... a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite." Egyptology experts agree that the powerful Egyptian Empire, led by Rameses II, would never agree to release their formidable slave population. Nor has any slave ever succeeded in escaping Egypt. Even if such an unfeasible escape were ever to occur, the seven aforementioned nations, well fortified in walled cities such as Jericho, could certainly hold their own against an untrained, ill-equipped army of ex-slaves.

Issue of 701 B.C.E.:
Why Judea Can't Win

The army of Assyria, led by the invincible Sennacherib, has laid siege to Jerusalem. This is the same superpower that vanquished the Northern Kingdom of Israel and exiled its ten tribes 19 years ago. The siege of Jerusalem was preceded by the Assyrian army's total destruction of the Judean city of Lachish. Experts agree that Judea's King Hezekiah, a weak monarch ruling over a tiny kingdom, has no possibility of lifting the siege by the Assyrian forces, who number 180,000 strong. The many interlocking challenges facing Judea, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a Jewish state in the region, lead us to predict a crushing defeat for Jerusalem.

{Note: A few days after this issue was published, the Assyrian camp was decimated by a strange plague. The few survivors, led by Sennacherib, fled in panic. Jerusalem was saved.}

* * *

No one will succeed in wiping out the Jewish People, because our survival was guaranteed by God.

I do not know how or when God will deliver the Jewish People and the Jewish state from our present predicament. But I do know that hordes of Islamic terrorists and their anti-Semitic allies will never succeed in their ambitions to wipe out the Jewish People, because God has guaranteed our eternal survival: "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout the generations, an eternal covenant to be your God and the God of your descendants after you." [Gen. 17:7]

And I also know that when God does decide what will happen to us, He will not consult TIME magazine.

Sara Yoheved Rigler is planning a U.S. speaking tour in May. To bring her to your community, please write to srigler@aish.com.