Thursday, March 19, 2009

Man proposes. . . .

From reading the papers and hearing the news accounts, one gets the impression that we are living in a time of great anxiety regarding the future of Israel. In fact, anxiety has surrounded the State since its inception, with the possible exception of the time immediately following the Six Day War in 1967. When the British were about to leave in 1948, and the surrounding Arab armies were gearing up for war, all the experts advised against declaring independence. There was no way, they said, that the tiny state-to-be could hold out against such overwhelming force. At the insistence of David Ben-Gurion, who would become the State’s first prime minster, independence was declared. As predicted, seven Arab states declared war the following day and invaded the new State of Israel. Again, the experts advised withdrawing to a tight defense line along the coast between Tel-Aviv and Haifa. There was no hope, they said, of the joke of a state granted by the United Nations partition plan prevailing. They were right about the partition borders being a bad joke. They were right about the plans of our enemies, but God and Ben-Gurion had other plans. Every town, every settlement was to be defended. Not only did the State prevail; it expanded. The Etzion Bloc and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem were lost for nineteen years, but Israel fought its enemies to an armistice on all fronts, an armistice that held for nineteen years while Israel grew economically and absorbed the Jews expelled from Arab countries with little but the clothes on their backs – no sixty-year refugee problem there.

Now the experts are at it again. From the United Nations, Europe, Russia, and President Obama's administration, the voices are unanimous. Israel must negotiate with terrorists irrevocably committed to its destruction. A "two-state solution" is inevitable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assures the Arab world that the United States will energetically promote a two-state solution. This is the same Clinton who kissed Mrs. Yassir Arafat after the latter had accused Israel of deliberately infecting Arab children with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Not a word of protest from Mrs. Clinton. The same administration proposes nearly a billion dollars in aid to rebuild Gaza, never mind that the money will go, like all money given to Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, into the pockets of corrupt officials or to bankroll terror attacks.

It should not surprise us that the nations of the world are ready to install a terror state on Israel's border. They foolishly think that by throwing Israel to the wolves they will save themselves. Sacrifice the Little Satan and the terrorists will turn away from the Great Satan. But even among Israelis there is an air of resignation and inevitability. Foreign Minister-designate Avigdor Lieberman of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party supports a "Palestinian" State and, incredibly, is prepared to trade Arab-populated land in pre-1967 Israel to such a state in "exchange" for Israeli settlements beyond the "Green Line."

There is one ray of light illuminating the darkness. Purim (14 Adar) is the yahrzeit of Ha-rav Zvi Yehuda Hakohen Kook זצ''ל, son of the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook. Shortly after I came back from Israel in 1974, I saw a wall poster in Boro Park (!) written by him. It was headed, in big bold Hebrew letters, "Lo taguru," – Do not be afraid. Having graduated Yeshivah of Flatbush, where all Jewish subjects are taught in Hebrew, I drank its contents in thirstily and had no trouble understanding it. The Rav's son proclaimed that none of the "territories" may be given away. Not a grain of sand. Not because it would be strategically foolish, though it would be. Not because our enemies would interpret any "concession" as a sign of weakness and act accordingly, though they would. Eretz Yisrael is God's land and it is assur – forbidden by the Torah – to give any of it to Gentiles once it comes into our possession. We were to proclaim that message to other Jews and to the world – urbi et orbi – unapologetically and without fear. I later learned that the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ''ל said much the same thing to anyone who would listen. Later still, after studying the philosophy of Rav Kook on my own, I learned of the drasha given by R. Zvi Yehuda on Yom Ha-atzmaut of 5727 (1967), where he lamented the Israeli people's resignation to the loss of so much of Eretz Yisrael. Only three weeks later that drasha would be looked back on in wonder, for on the day after the hag the run-up to the Six Day War began. The Arabs had their plans – drive the Jews into the sea. The world had its plans – sit back and leave Israel to its fate. The entire Jewish world was fearful; Israel would be outmanned and outgunned, as always. But God had His plans. On that day, when the enemies of the Jews had hoped to defeat them, it was turned around, and the Jews defeated their enemies – whenever I read the Megilla and come to that pasuk, I think of 26 Iyar 5727, the first of those fateful days. Wars are supposed to take years; the one in which the United States is currently engaged has been dragging on for eight. This war took all of six days. Mi shama ka-zot – who ever heard of anything like it? When it was over, Israel had quadrupled in size and Hevron, Shekhem, Yeriho, all the places whose absence from the State R. Zvi Yehuda lamented, were in Jewish hands for the first time in 2000 years. The world stood dumbfounded. The Jews had light, joy, gladness and honor – until one faithless government after another squandered what should have been the run-up to the final ge'ula.

So, lo taguru. Do not be afraid. President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the United States, the autocrats in the Kremkin, the Arab oil barons, - what they say does not matter. They only think they're in charge. We are to heed the One who really is in charge. Shine the light of R. Zvi Yehuda Kook first on our own people, then on the world. Let it chase away the darkness. There is no occupation. Eretz Yisrael – all of it – is ours. Irrevocably ours. Not by the generosity of the nations but from the Hand of God. You do not occupy your own territory. You do not annex your own territory. You settle it, build it and make it flourish. The world's two-state solution is really a three-state solution. There already is a "Palestinian" state. It's called Jordan and it sits on 80% of mandatory Palestine. Golda Meir was right; there is room for only one state between the river and the sea, and that state is the Jewish State of Israel. If the Arabs there wish to be citizens of Jordan, that can be worked out. If they want to rename Jordan Palestine, we won't stand in their way. If America wants to pour a billion dollars down a rat hole, let it pour the money on AIG and Citigroup. But Eretz Yisrael is not up for sale, barter or exchange. It is ours and ours forever. We have the Word of God on it, and we can take that to the bank. The banks have been lending money lately on a whole lot less.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Garnel Ironheart said...

Kol hakavod.

Remember that God watches over the land of Israel "meresheis hashanah ad acharis hashanah". One who wants to will see that ever since 1878 one miracle after another has driven our State forward.
God has given us a great opportunity. It is up to us to make the best, most proper use of it and bring the final redemption forward.

Tue Apr 07, 11:37:00 AM EDT  

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