Wednesday, May 30, 2007


By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

Some things infuriate me. One of them is the way secular Jewish leaders continue to speak of Israel and its army in the face of the deteriorating, frightening situation facing Israel today. I hope those who read this will think about it and share your thoughts with us.

One of the underpinnings of the State of Israel is the claim of Zionist leaders that that it is the natural refuge for Jews from all over the world. These leaders reach out to Jews everywhere, urging them to move to Israel where they are guaranteed to be safe. They preach that had there been a Jewish state and a Jewish army during the period of the Second World War, the Holocaust never would have taken place.

All throughout history, Jews were sitting ducks, but now that we have our own army, never again will we be systematically wiped out, goes the claim. Never again will a nation be able to decimate untold numbers of our brethren. We will fight back; we will be defended by the Israel Defense Forces. We will not go like sheep to slaughter; we will fight like all nations of the world do. We will fight for our lives and we will prevail. So proclaim the self-important secular leaders of the Jewish state.

Every year on Yom Hashoah, the leaders of Israel gather and address the people and feed them this hype. They wax eloquent about how the Holocaust will never happen again thanks to the IDF. They tell them that now we can hold our heads high because we have our own country and our own army. They proclaim that Israel is the ingathering of the exiles and every Jew should make aliyah and flee to The Promised Land where our own army will protect them.

One glance at reality is enough to puncture these myths. Take a look at the most recent news. Iran is getting very close to producing a nuclear bomb. As Israel fiddles, the radical leader of that country continues to repeatedly proclaim that he intends to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. What does Israel do? Not a thing. What can they do? At the end of the day, nothing. Oh, yes, they deliver speeches and warn the world that something must be done before it is too late. But they are powerless to stop the madman of Tehran from achieving his ambition and carrying out his threats.

Forget about Iran. Look at the lowly Palestinians, a people which didn’t even exist at the time of the founding of Israel. This lowly group of stateless vagabonds has the vaunted Israeli leaders stymied. The greatest general and tactician in the history of Israel thought that if he would forcibly evacuate Jews from Gaza, that would usher in salvation and peace for Israel. They would be rid of the contentious conclave and leave the Arabs to deal with the mess.

What actually happened? As was predicted here and elsewhere, Gaza turned into a terror base. Thanks to American insistence on “democratic” elections and Israeli acquiescence, Hamas ran for election and won control of the area on Israel’s southwestern border. Gaza is now a terrorist’s dream. Every terror group has an office there. Every terrorist is armed to the teeth with as many guns, grenades and rockets as he desires.

Every day, the undisciplined and poorly trained Palestinians shoot rockets into Israel, killing some, wounding others and creating mayhem in the border city of Sderot. The people are terrorized to stay there, but many have nowhere to go. Children won’t go to school, people are afraid to go to work. They are afraid to stay home and afraid to leave home.

The poor people of Sderot have been repeatedly promised protection and retaliation against the terrorists by the government, but that same government fails to provide even rudimentary bomb shelters. They promised to reinforce school roofs and haven’t done even that. Private philanthropists had to step in and donate pre-fab simple bunkers for the shell-shocked city. No one even talks anymore of stopping the rockets from falling in the first place

They turn to their army for salvation and there is none. They turn to their elected leaders for some direction and there is none. As a last resort, some raise their eyes to Heaven and beg G-d to deliver them from their enemies and leaders.

The very same people, who just one month ago on Yom Hashoah spoke with so much pride of their many accomplishments since the day Jews were liberated from Auschwitz, now stand as if paralyzed, mouthing empty, meaningless words. They are powerless to stop the rockets, they have no plan, they have no way out.

In the face of constant bombardment of the home front, Israel’s political leaders are shown before the world to be inept, arrogant and ignorant. It’s not just me who is saying this; this shameful truth was codified and documented in the recently released Winograd report set up after the disastrous experience last summer in Lebanon. The usual bravado didn’t work this time and Israel was displayed before the world as a paper tiger.

The feckless and hopelessly conceited prime minister should have been thrown out, but the people haven’t mustered enough force to demand his removal. His party, founded on the faulty premise that unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would usher in peace, is fearful to face new elections. Hypocritically, they stand behind him, placing their positions of power and imagined prestige above the security of the beleaguered and besieged country.

The defense minister is not as lucky; his people have thrown him out, though in his stead they seem set to pick another left-wing loser with his head in the sand.

To us, none of this should come as a surprise. We say, “Al tivtichu binedivim, b’ven adom she’ein lo seshua.” The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos states as well, “Ein miskarvin lerashus, she’ein michavnim eloh letovasom,” politicians only do what’s good for them and rarely care about the welfare of the general community.

Israel now celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Six day War of 1967. Way too many of the military and political leaders who ought to know better fail to recognize the many miracles which led to that historic victory, attributing all to the prowess of the vaunted Israeli army, “kochi v’otzem yodi asu li es hachayil hazeh.” They ignore the truth that since that exuberant period four decades earlier, it has become painfully obvious to all that “Im Hashem lo yishmor ihr shav shokad shomer.” The great army which repelled advancing armies from three different directions is rendered powerless when it fails to earn Divine support.

Yes, we are sheep, and our shepherd is the L-rd, who watches over us and leads us to greener and safer pastures when we so merit.

We still have not merited to be delivered from the exile of golus to freedom in Eretz Yisroel as we are so painfully and repeatedly reminded each day. We raise our voices in prayer and beg that a new light rise above Zion, illuminating the truth, and that we all prove worthy of benefiting from it.

We say every day in davening, “Eileh barechev v’eileh basoosim va’anachnu besheim Hashem Elokeinu nazkir.” We don’t place our faith in military might, but rather in G-d. Those who depend strictly on the army and political leaders to defend them will crumble and fall. “Heimah karu venafalu va’anachnu kamnu vanisodad,” but we will rise and ultimately prevail.

May we merit seeing the posuk come to fruition speedily in our day before any more innocent Jewish blood is spilled.


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