More on Holocaust Remembrance; Modern-day Israel in Context of Jewish History …

For Context, refer to this post from Tuesday.

Lessons Not Learned


As happened at the end of World War II, when wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was replaced by Labor’s Clement Atlee with his mostly domestic agenda, so it has been in Israel. For the moment, socio-economic and domestic issues have trumped security issues, and the desire for “conflict management” with the Palestinians has overshadowed any hope in the foreseeable future for “conflict resolution”. It reflects growing Israeli despair over the prospects for a negotiated settlement.

This state of affairs will continue until a catastrophic terrorist attack leaves no alternative short of war. For now, however, social welfare reform has won the day and Israelis are content to maintain their current level of response based upon counter-insurgency, targeted assassinations and short-term incursions into the territories.

President John F. Kennedy warned Americans in another war: “We dare not tempt them [the Soviets] with weakness.” Following his death, Americans learned that lesson by “withdrawing” from Vietnam, Beirut and finally Mogadishu, Somalia.

In the Arab world, perception is everything. In the eyes of the Palestinians, any Israeli “withdrawal” is perceived as “victory”. The election of Kadima in Israel and the reaffirmation of its failed policy of withdrawal (for whatever reasons it chooses to offer – in this case, setting Israel’s borders for demographic reasons) has set the stage for yet another strategic blunder. It is the wrong policy, sought at the wrong time, with the wrong enemy and under the wrong circumstances.

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Love Me, Love Me Not


Reaching out and teaching Torah to Jews is, of course, a win-win technique at any time and in any place. The results will be positive regardless of extenuating circumstances or what the future may bring. The more Torah a Jew knows, the more enriched is his life and the lives of those around him, and the closer we are to Moshiach.

However, when it comes to countering the policies of the government, the approach is still focused inward. The way the plan was presented, Ze’ira is still concerned with the popularity of the settlers. They didn’t like us in this dress with this brand of perfume, so let’s upgrade and put on that dress and that brand of perfume.

Meanwhile, the main issue on which the settlers should be focusing is not who loves me and who loves me not. The main issue is security.

If these are the questions, then the answers to those questions are the key to communication and connection.

The first question – What is the army doing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza? – has two answers. The first answer is addressed by Ze’ira’s plan of teaching Torah. Rashi’s comment on the first verse in the Torah explains that the land belongs to the Jews. Jews who are ignorant of the Torah have problems standing up for their inherent rights. Sufficient Jewish education will eventually answer their question of what we are doing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and give them the strength to stand by their knowledge.

Ben Simon mentions that an overwhelming number of Jews feel exhausted from their struggle to live without fear. The first Rashi addresses this concern as well. These are people who see their connection to the land as being 58 years old, as opposed to 5,766 years old. Once they understand the root of their connection to the land stems from creation and the blossoming of that connection is from the time of Avraham Avinu 4,000 years ago, they will feel less tired. In a history of thousands of years – the recent 2,000 of which the Jews did not have a sovereign state – a mere fifty years of struggle are not exhausting – as opposed to fifty out of fifty.

Continue reading Love Me, Love Me Not