"Stop Deceiving the Arabs!"
by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski
The real question: Do Jews belong in Israel?
Oslo is an arrogant and wholesale dismissal of our Arabic cousins. The
Arabs have a serious argument. At Camp David they cited to former President
Clinton the famous Biblical story of the two mothers arguing over the
baby and King Solomon's brilliant verdict. They argued that the very fact
that Israel was willing to divide or even to negotiate Jerusalem while
the Arabs were not, proved that the Israelis were not the true mothers!
The Arabs view Jews, especially European Jews, as a foreign implant,
as outsiders who have colonized and occupied native Arab land. All the
most reasonable and logical arguments in the world and all the UN resolutions
combined will not change for them the simple fact that Jews don't belong
in Israel. According to the Arabs, all of Israel is one big settlement,
and all Israelis are settlers occupying the land of millions of displaced
Arabs. This is the fundamental truth that lies at the heart of this long
conflict. The Arabs are a spirited people who respect truth and will not
be browbeaten into submission.
Israel to date has not formulated a coherent response to this apparently
just argument. Why, even G-d takes this argument seriously enough to add
an entire book to the Bible for the sole purpose of refuting this argument.
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the revered 11th century French who wrote
a commentary on the Bible) opens his commentary on the very first words
of the Torah with a question. Why the Torah begins with the account of
creation when it should have begun with the first commandment given to
the Jewish people as a newborn nation during the Exodus? In essence, the
entire book of Genesis doesn't belong in the Torah.
He replies that G-d wanted to provide the Jewish people with a response
to the international allegation that Jews stole the land of Israel from
the Cannanites. The Torah begins with the story of creation to teach us
that the entire universe, the heavens as well as the earth, belongs to
G-d, therefore he may do with it as he pleases. The only reason G-d included
the book of Genesis is to tell us that he has decided to give his Holy-Land
to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an eternal inheritance.
Interestingly, Rashi wrote his commentary during the first Crusade period
when the Christians were battling with the Muslims over Israel!
It's not by human might that Jews came to Israel but by Divine right.
Neither political prowess nor military power brought us to Israel, rather
by Divine grace. Indeed ever since Joshua conquered the land from the
Cannanites over 3300 years ago, there has never been an independent nation
in Israel other than Jews! Whenever Israel was bereft of Jews the land
shriveled up, becoming barren, inhospitable and filled with malaria infested
swamps. Although we were exiled from our homeland, our bodies were sent
into exile, not our souls. For thousands of years now and up until this
very day, Jews all over the world, turn three times a day towards Jerusalem
On the nature of Truth
Truth is like pregnancy, just as there's no partial pregnancy, there's
no partial truth. The conflict boils down to the fundamental question:
Do Jews belong in Israel or not. If Jews don't belong there and are not
allowed to settle in Hevron, Beit Lechem and in Gaza then surely Jews
don't belong in Tel Aviv and Yafo. In that case we truly are a bunch of
thieves, crooks, usurpers and bandits of the worst kind. If, however,
Israel belongs to the Jewish people, than every Jew has the right and
the privilege to live freely in his homeland. Jews are guests in the "royal
palace" and we neither own nor control the land. We neither have
the right nor the unprecedented chutzpah and audacity to give away our
host's dining room and to negotiate away his bedroom!
The Arabs and the international community are waiting to hear how Jews
will respond to this critical question. The moment of truth has arrived.
We can't blame our problems on Arafat or on our Arab neighbors. We must
have the courage to face the truth and to admit that the Intifada is our
fault. "Oslo" didn't fail because of Arafat's stubbornness.
Actually, it was nothing short of a miracle that Arafat said no at Camp
David, thereby showing his true colors. Oslo blew up in our face because
we lied, because we told the world that we really don't belong in the
land of Israel.
If we are ready to give up even one percent of the land than we don't
belong there at all and we must relinquish all of it. We can't have it
both ways. Every proclamation by the Prime Minister that there'll be a
Palestinian state is a dagger in the heart of the Jewish people. Israel
is playing with fire engaging in a very dangerous game. Thousands have
paid the price with their life and limb and millions continuously suffer
by living in constant fear for the safety of their loved ones, with no
end in sight to the horrific bloodshed and daily dose of violence.
As long as Jews are terrified to proclaim the simple truth that Israel
is our home and it's not negotiable, there will never be peace in the
Holy Land. It's time to tell the truth that a "Palestinian State"
will never happen, not in G-d's lifetime! No one is doing the Arabs any
favors by cruelly fueling false hopes that will only lead to frustration
and greater disillusionment.
The wise "pragmatist" behind Oslo are the world's greatest
fools. No nation on earth is powerful enough or affluent enough that it
could afford to lose its soul! With a healthy soul we could survive Hitler;
without a soul we can't survive Arafat. These pseudo intellectuals have
robbed Israel of its essence, its core truth and its spirit. History will
never forgive them for their stupidity. Israel has been hijacked by a
small but influential group of intellectual terrorists who harbor, justify,
excuse and rationalize terrorism in the worst way, who play politics with
life. By not taking decisive action they have turned Israel into the greatest
harbor of terrorists and suicide bombers in the world today!
No conscientious person could remain indifferent or keep silent as we
witness Israel disintegrating before our very eyes. After September 11th
the world has become allergic to lies, discovering that it could be hazardous
to your life. Oslo and its underlying assumptions must go the way of Communism
and become history.
America has been blessed with real leadership, men of character, spirit,
integrity, moral clarity and truth. Will a genuine Jewish leader please
step forward in Israel?
(Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski is director of Chabad of the Upper East
Side of Manhattan. He may be e-mailed at Chabadues@aol.com.)