Israelis, Demand Victory from Our Leaders, Not Korbonot for Goodwill from Gentiles!


                                                   By, Moshe Burt


There has been a phenomenon on the internet in recent days.  Many of us are being bombarded with variations of a message in which we are being urged to "Act Immediately" in calling, faxing or emailing a message to President Bush pleading with him to "stand firmly behind America's ONLY ally in the Mid East -- Israel -- and to back her right to use ALL means necessary against Arafat's relentless terror machine."


I am writing these thoughts against the background of the tragedy on 9 April in Jenin -- 13 Israeli soldiers dead and 22 wounded in a massive ambush which included a multiple-bomb boobie-trapped building and Arabs waiting in ambush for those who emerged from the building after the delayed-action blasts.  As this tragedy was taking place, "Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said that he feared Palestinian officials would distort the battle between IDF soldiers and gunmen in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin in order to portray it as a "massacre." (Ha'aretz, Tuesday, 9 April, 2002,  "Peres fears Palestinians will distort Jenin battle" by, Reuters)


I write these thoughts against the background of the Sharon Government's announced redeployment out of Kalkilya and Tulkarem -- a redeployment made as a result of bowing to American pressure even though military experts have said on electronic media that the objectives in the two Arab towns had not been achieved and that the IDF had not even approached the terrorist hotbeds in the Kalkilya and Tulkarem refugee camps.  More redeployments may be in the offing once Secretary of State Powell arrives.


I write these thoughts against the background of Prime Minister Sharon claiming that Israel will not halt this campaign until terrorism has been eliminated.    And once again, I find an absurd disparity between Prime Minister Sharon's words and actions.   Further, I find this disparity between Sharon's words and redeployment actions puzzling in light of the fact that he's done away with the "Kitchen Cabinet" in which he's been continuously outvoted by Peres and Ben-Eliezer and added Effie Eitam, Yitzchak Levi and David Levy as Cabinet Ministers in the Security Cabinet.


But back to the issue of writing President Bush.  Why are we writing to "Dubya?"  I'm kind of really uncomfortable with the concept.   Are we not degrading ourselves as Jews by acting as if our destiny is in the hands of a Gentile?   Don't the pleas quoted above constitute showing reverence for the wrong "Bush?"  Spiritually, shouldn't we be more concerned regarding reverence for "the Burning Bush?"   And on both spiritual and physical levels, are we Men or are we the cockroaches of Parsha Shlach?   I find a direct relationship between the mentality which calls for pleading letters to President Bush and the tragedy in Jenin which was caused by attempts to "beat the clock" in bowing to American pressure for withdrawal.  And worse, I read that Colin Powell will advocate sending US troops as "observers" to enforce a ceasefire thus taking our own defense out of our hands.


I heard an english sound-bite from the recent Sunday New York rally at the UN on the news early in the morning on 8 April.   This rally was organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss and the Coalition for Jewish Concerns-Amcha.  The quote went something like this, "Israel must be able to do what any other country would do to fight terror.  Tell your government to say NO to President Bush."


The speaker who uttered that sound-bite was dead-eye On Target.  And the impact of his plea to the Israel Consulate reaches far beyond the rally scene in New York City.  Instead of taking the easy way, the cop-out way and pleading like beggars and schnorers to Gentiles, we need to be talking forcefully to our own leaders -- most importantly to Prime Minister Sharon.  And when we speak about doing "what any other country would do to fight terror" and standing up to American pressure, we are addressing, as well, the wide-ranging implications of standing like men.  In short, it's time that we "bit the bullet" and became a truly independent, sovereign nation. It's time that we've weaned ourselves, cold-turkey, from "our annual fix" -- from the addiction of American Foreign Aid.


We must reform Israel's current socialist, micro-managed economic system to make it more capitalistic, with more tax incentives geared toward economic growth.  We must eradicate excesses in Protexia -- the tool for the perpetuation of corruption, graft, nepotism, employment discrimination.   We must eradicate the Histadrut and socialist control of all Israel's vital institutions. 


And finally, we need Aliyah -- in large numbers.   We need American Jews as well as South American, British, French and South African Jews.


It is interesting to relate the story (extracted from the story "Silence of the Lambs" , by Shlomo Shamir, Ha'aretz, 9 April, 2002) of a conversation which took place at recent special meeting of 500 Jewish leaders just before Pesach.


 "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who addressed the participants at the meeting via a videotaped speech, outlined a vision of a million immigrants coming to Israel. When Sharon said that he wants Jews from France, Argentina and South Africa to immigrate to Israel now, the leaders of the Jewish organizations responded with applause. When he mentioned that he would also like to see U.S. Jews make "aliyah," the sound of chuckles could be heard in the audience.  "The prime minister spoke about a million immigrants at a time when the Jews of America avoid setting foot in Israel, even as tourists, " said an Israeli observer.


When the meeting ended, a conversation developed between Israel's US Ambassador Pinkas and one of the heads of a large Jewish organization. "Why doesn't your solidarity take expression in three jumbo jets taking off for Israel full of Jews?" Pinkas asked. One of the Jews responded, "It's a logistical nightmare." Pinkas did not let this go unanswered. "The establishment of the State of Israel was also a logistical nightmare, and it's good that you weren't among those advising Ben-Gurion what to do."


Mass Aliyah will force the changes mentioned above which will benefit us all and make Israel healthy economically.  It will change the demographics of world Jewry and it will change our very perception of ourselves.


But, priority one is to Win The War.  Eradicate terrorism and it's infrastructure.  Fight a War like a War regardless of what the US, the UN or the world says.   Our fate is in Our Hands and Hashem's, not in George Bush's hands.  And as the old saying goes, "Hashem helps those who help themselves."  No more Korbonot for PR or Goodwill.


Moshe Burt, a former Philadephian, is an Oleh Chadash of three years, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh and a commentator on events in Eretz Yisrael.  He is founder of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network.




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