The Middle East is on fire. First it was Tunisia, then came Egypt. Syria and Jordon unrest is growing violent. Gadhafi continues to kill opposition and retain Libya under his control, even though Obama and NATO supposedly backed the anti-Gadhafi rebels. The president of Yemen has said that he will step down at the end of the year if he can leave the leadership in the hands of someone he can “trust.” And a couple of weeks ago there was a bus bombing in Jerusalem — this on the heels of the slaughter of an entire West Bank Jewish family in their sleep by Palestinian “freedom fighters.”

Demonstrators in Egypt are back in the streets; this time protesting against the army — that same army that they were hugging and kissing only a few weeks ago when they kicked out Mubarak. With the flare up in Jordan and Syria, Israel is now completely surrounded by unrest. Gaza is firing rockets daily into Southern Israel. The king of Jordan may be losing his ability to pacify his people much longer and the Lebanon government recently was taken over by men friendly to militant Hezbollah. Yep, things don’t look too good for our old pal Israel (our only real ally in the Middle East, and the only truly free democracy in that part of the world).

For decades, Egypt was friendly to Israel; it was a buffer that helped to keep the more extreme Jewish-hating countries at bay. Now, with Mubarak’s overthrow, all that has changed and recently Egypt Air, the largest airline in Egypt, has removed Israel from the map – literally. On its website, they have Jordan’s land reaching all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

The airline’s subsidiary, Air Sinai, flies to Israel regularly, but customers seeking flights to Ben Gurion National Airport will have a hard time finding them. On the map are the names of the Mideast capitals – Amman, Beirut and Damascus – but Israel is nowhere to be found. Egypt Air is the first large airline to have omitted the state from its map of destinations. Other airlines based in Muslim countries, such as Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian, include Israel and Tel Aviv on its maps. The omission is especially weird since the company continues to fly to Israel four times a week.

Hey, don’t forget to mark your calendars. The campaign for the Third Palestinian Intifada is set for May 15, 2011. Be there or be square. There are hundreds of Facebook pages that are promoting this, according to an April 12 special dispatch from the Middle East Media Research Institute. Many of these pages feature statements in praise of martyrdom, jihad and the killing of Jews. B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bomb)

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been calling for the total elimination of Israel for some time now, and Hugo Chavez has compared Israel to Hitler’s Nazi Germany, but this hate-filled rhetoric is not confined to the Middle East, North Africa and South American dictators. Throughout Europe so-called “human-rights” groups have been demonstrating at supermarkets, carrying signs to boycott Israeli goods.

In the U.K. 400 academics demanded that Britain’s Science Museum cancel an event highlighting the work of Israeli scientists. In Berlin thousands march under banners that say, “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza.” The United Nations Human Rights Council and other institutions of the U.N. repeatedly denounce Israel. Taking the U.N. Human Rights Council seriously requires a total suspension of reality since Libya (a nation with well-documented ties to terrorism) was among its members…until recently. Only because of what has been going on in Libya lately, did the U.N. General Assembly reluctantly decide to suspend them from the council.

In the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, anti-Israel divestment movements promote the idea that Israel is a pariah state. Britain’s largest union, Unite, unanimously passed a motion to “vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies” while saying a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be “similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid.”

Jewish anti-Semitism is found in the USA also, much of the time emanating out of the liberal universities and colleges. Anti-Israel divestment movements have been spreading on college campuses. Enemies of the state of Israel attempt to de-humanize and isolate her, diminishing her right to exist. They love to make comparisons to Nazis, showing that the Jews are no better than Hitler. A professor at UC Santa Barbara, for example, sent his students an email juxtaposing graphic images of Jewish victims of the Nazis, including dead children, with images from Gaza. “Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw, a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians,” he wrote. “We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide.”

Passover is an appropriate time for Americans to remember who their real friends are in the Middle East. Israel is surrounded by enemies and needs our help. As more and more of the countries around Israel catch fire, we need to understand that the very existence of this tiny Jewish state is at stake. Supporting Israel is not just the moral and ethical thing to do: it is what must be done in our own self interest and self defense. Every move we make in that part of the world should be with the thought of keeping Israel secure and thriving.

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