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  Does Israel Get It?


Does Israel Get It?
By Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski
Director Chabad Upper East Side

On September 11, an explosion of evil took place that shook the very foundations of the world and of life itself. The world has known many evils but not of an evil so absolute that it recognizes no boundaries, a hatred running so deep it knows of no limits, a plot so diabolical that it has no other goal but total destruction for destruction's sake.

While the sadness is unbearable and the tragedy is overwhelming, we've also experienced an unprecedented explosion of goodness. The outpouring of goodness and selflessness was titanic, surely G-d must have been smiling. In a moment of truth it became evident that America is essentially a righteous nation with goodness at its core.

All of us unanimously applaud the President's characterization of Tuesday's cataclysmic attack as a war between good and evil, as a struggle for our very survival and existence. The Congress has unanimously endorsed the President's position that not only must we go after the perpetrators of these acts but also after those who harbor them as well.

We must, however, take it one step further. We should single out not only those who physically harbor the terrorist but also those who intellectually harbor the terrorist, as our enemy. Those who have laid the intellectual groundwork to excuse, justify and rationalize terrorism, who give comfort to the terrorists with their glib tongues and poisonous pens are just as guilty. The moral equivocators in our midst are more dangerous than the terrorist because the harm they do and the havoc they wreak isn't as obvious.

"What are we doing that is making them so mad, that evokes such rage," cry the moral relativist among us. "We must address the political root of the problem. It's not so simple," they say, assuring us that there's no military solution to the problem. "We have our point of view and they have their point of view, and who can say who's truly right," etc.

Ideas have consequences. We must realize that these ideas are poisonous, undermine our confidence and drag us to the abyss. These pseudo intellectuals embolden the terrorist with their dangerous prattle.

What it boils down to is something quite simple. Life is sacred and has an inherent and absolute value and there's nothing in the world that could justify the taking of a single innocent life. Nothing. It doesn't matter how angry the murderer is there's absolutely nothing in the world that could justify the taking of an innocent life.

While ours is a culture that values life, theirs is a culture that values and celebrates death. Our two cultures are now at war with each other locked in a life and death struggle. Only one of us will survive.

Terrorism is a malignant tumor and you don't make peace with cancer. If you play nice with cancer it will kill you, show mercy to a tumor and it will metastasize and mercilessly kill you and kill itself in the process. The only merciful thing to do is to eradicate, destroy and pulverize the tumor into oblivion.

The same is true with terrorism. If we want to live they must die and if they live we will die. Those who have put us on a guilt trip should be run out of town. We state unequivocally that we are good and they are evil. Let no one undermine us or undermine our confidence. To win we must believe one hundred percent in the justice and in the righteousness of our cause.

America now gets it. The question is does Israel get it. The signs are not encouraging. With "Oslo," for the first time in its history Israel has made peace with terrorism. It has allowed itself to be hijacked by a very small group of pseudo intellectuals who have put the entire country on a guilt trip for the merciless terror and aggression that has been waged against it since its miraculous founding and continued existence. This band of intellectual terrorists have sapped Israel of the elementary will to live, fight and to survive.

The thinking behind Oslo and its underlying assumptions are lethal, threatening Israel's very existence. As of today neither the right nor the left have rejected the underlying premise of Oslo. Although Israel is fighting for its life it is still pretending that it's not at war. Incredibly it's still negotiating with the granddaddy and the wiliest terrorist of them all!

The first responsibility of government is to protect its own citizens. Jewish law (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 329:6) states unequivocally that when life is in danger, even a single life, there can be no political considerations. The country must mobilize, go to war, uproot and stamp out the terrorist threat at its source! Israel should immediately launch "operation chemotherapy" and obliterate the whole infrastructure of terrorism in its midst.

Israel could have had the eternal honor of delivering the coup de grace to terrorism around the world. Now that honor will go to the United Stated which will lead the world to victory against this abhorrent evil, and deservedly so. America had the courage of its conviction to stand up to the whole world in "Durban" and walk out of that hate filled conference that would have made Hitler proud. We hope and pray to the Almighty that the war will be more successful than we dare expect, but we have no doubt of the outcome. In the end truth, justice and goodness will triumph. In America it may already have triumphed.

Part II

War Against Life

In response to your many questions and remarks, firstly, I would like to thank you for your honest feedback. Secondly, I must confess, that try as I may, I could not understand many of the arguments.

The terrorists have spoken, using very clear and unambiguous language so we must respond using the same strong and unequivocal language, speaking plainly and candidly.

Does anyone doubt that if the terrorists would have the ability to murder 60,000 or 600,000 or 6 million people that they would gladly do so. Today! To them this is the holiest calling, a fulfillment of G-d's will. It is only a matter of time (a very short time) that they will have the means to destroy us, so to pontificate and to philosophize and to indulge in love-fests is a luxury we can ill afford because our very survival and existence is on the line. We are at the eleventh hour and we pray to G-d that it's not too late.

I fail to understand the mindlessness of the anti war demonstrators. To whom are they preaching their anti war message? To Americans who risked and lost their young lives (fire fighters) in the hundreds to save other peoples lives, who are bombing at night and are dropping food packages during the day to feed the Afghanis! They should preach their message of love to the terrorist and their millions of supporters who were dancing in the streets for joy at the merciless and horrific death of six thousand innocent men, women and children.

Only someone who doesn't know the true meaning of love could talk about life and love in such chilling abstractions. If your wife was raped, G-d forbid, before your eyes and they threatened to escalate the violence and to kill her, would you also be pontificating such nonsense as "violence begets violence" or would you grab the first available weapon and defend your loved one!

It's this moral swamp and erasing of  truths, morality, reality and clear distinctions between good and evil that is directly responsible for the cancerous growth of Bin Laden and his ilk. The anti war demonstrators are part of the problem!

This war will only be won when we have the same passion for truth and life as these beasts have for murder and death. We will triumph when we have the same moral clarity to defend G-d's desire for life, as the terrorists are clear about their mission to destroy G-d's gift of life.

Bin Laden has declared war against life itself. The arrogance of the 19 people who took their own lives and thousands of innocent people with them, is simply staggering. According to the Torah, a person is not allowed to mutilate himself, let alone to kill himself. Life is sacred, divine a gift of the Almighty and we neither own nor control our lives. Every fiber of our being and every bone in our body, screams out in protest against the brazen toying with life by the suicide bombers here and in Israel who violently assault the very foundations of existence itself.

Let us shamelessly admit that we Jews are extremists when it comes to life. Yes, we are guilty as charged, we are absolutely fanatical about life. We are a holy people because life is holy to us. For 3800 years it has been inculcated into every Jewish child that saving one life is the equivalent of saving the entire world. A Jew must violate 610 out of the 613 Mitzvot in order to save a single life. Every Jewish home, whether right wing or left wing, inculcate into their children a love for life. Israel is the only army in the world that never leaves a wounded soldier behind and every time a life is lost the entire country mourns. Hundreds of Jewish communities around the world have Hatzolah groups who are on call 24 hours a day for any emergency just in order to save lives.

Jews must lead the way in this battle against absolute evil. We are a people of spirit and this war will only be won through spirited action taken by leaders who have the moral courage and the backbone not to compromise, not to blink, to look evil in the eye and to mercilessly eradicate it.

Wasn't Menachen Begin's war against the British also of a terrorist nature?
No! Begin's first priority was to save lives, both of his own members, as well as those of his enemies. Begin escaped the Nazis and eventually arrived in Israel in 1942 after losing his whole family to in the Holocaust. In addition to siding with the Arabs during the violent riots of the twenties and thirties in which many Jews were massacred, the British reneged on their promise and closed the borders of Palestine, indirectly causing millions of Jews to perish in the Holocaust. By their actions the British had become a clear and present danger to life, an immoral colonialist power with no real ties to the land. The British today are following the same "noble" path vis a vis Israel!
The Irgun fought against British troops, not civilians, and the tragic incident at the King David Hotel was a terrible accident resulting from the British not heeding the frantic warning of the Irgun that they evacuate.

In true Jewish fashion, however, let me respond to this question with another question. What would happen if all the Arab armies took a week's vacation, no a month's vacation, does anyone doubt what would happen. The Arabs would sleep  like babies at night. The great "terrorist" Arik Sharon would gladly go back to his famous farm in the Negev to cultivate his cucumbers and tomatoes. Even when Israel could have and had every right to invade Cairo and Damascus during the Yom Kippur war, incredible at it seems, they did not!

Does anyone doubt what would happen if the IDF took a day off, how fast the Arabs, including Egypt and Jordan would overrun Israel?

We are at peace and have been for the past 52 years while the Arabs have been waging a relentless brutal and merciless campaign of terror and aggression against us, so why do we feel guilty for miraculously winning every war? What kind of evil mind could so twist and distort reality to make Jews look like the bad guys and the Arabs like the good guys?

Let us heed the thunderous wake up call that reverberated throughout the world on September 11th. If the bombing of the twin towers doesn't cure us of our illusions and wake us up to reality, what will?

With best wishes for Moshiach now, when truth will reign on earth and goodness will flood the world.


Republished from the weekly newspaper Algemeiner Journal
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