In response to a recent posting
on the future of the State of Israel, in particular of the need of the relgious Zionist public to devote our energies towards working together with our fellow Jewish brothers and sisters to rebuild Israel as a Jewish State, I received the follwoing E-Mail from a thoughtful Jew in America:
While there were undoubtedly some misguided, but well-meaning, Jews who thought the expulsion plan was good for Israel, I fear the majority who supported the plan were those who oppose the national religious segment of the Jewish population in Israel and their supporters abroad. I’m not sure I agree with you that there is anything left to rebuild. Sometimes, it’s important to recognize defeat. When more than half the population of the country planned and then celebrated the humiliation of a sizable percentage of their fellow citizens, it may be time to throw in the towel and declare the experiment we called the State of Israel a failure.
Here is my respnse:
Thanks for your thoughtful response to the article that I sent you. If I may respond to the points you raised, as I have a number of my own thoughts and questions regarding what you wrote.
I fear the majority who supported the plan were those who oppose the national religious segment of the Jewish population in Israel and their supporters abroad.
I personally do not believe that to be the case. True, political parties such as Labor - Am Echad, Meretz and Shinui (and obviously the Arab parties) are no lovers of the Jewish people or the aspirations of Religious Zionism; however they do not make up the majority of either Israel's Knesset or the Jewish electorate in Israel. These 3 parties combine for 41 seats out of 120. It is also important to remember that currently, the largest single bloc of registered Labor votes are Israeli Arabs, so even calling Labor a Jewish party is questionable, and from which one can infer that many of their seats have come from Arab votes, and not Jewish ones.
As for the Likud, the Likud is a party that believes in Israel existing as a Jewish State, throughout the Land of Israel, as can be seen from the party platform. What we have seen happen in Israel is not the will of the Likud party, its members (who rejected "Disengagement" in an internal party referendum), and those who voted for the Likud in the general elections, rather we see how one man, PM Ariel Sharon was able to hijack Israel political, electoral and judicial systems to push "Disengagement" through. The Likud MK's who voted for "Disengagement" were able to do so because there is no direct accountability of elected representatives to a constituency in Israel. As such, elected officials such as Silvan Shalom ,Ehud Olmert, Limor Livnat… will never have to face the voters and be directly held accountable for their actions. Keep in mind that Ariel Sharon and the Likud were overwhelmingly supported in the last elections, trouncing Amram Mitzna and the Labor party, specifically because he ran on a platform which rejected "Disengagement".
It is clear that the Jewish people in Israel are not with Sharon or favor the expulsion of Jews from their homes and the destruction of Jewish communities in the Land of Israel. True, the media and academia are controlled by the ultra-secular left which makes their influence and voice stronger than they truly are, but that is not the reality of the average Jew on the street here. True, there may have been a small Jewish majority who favored the “Disengagement” plan (which is debatable), but even so, the majority of the Jews who supported it did so out of a feeling that there was no other alternative, and not out of any malice or hatred for Religious Zionism, or the “settlers”. These Jews are hungry for a leadership that will stand strong on Jewish rights and values and will exude the spirit of Jewish national pride in all of the policies of the Jewish State of Israel. We thought that is what we were getting with Ariel Sharon. We were mistaken.
When more than half the population of the country planned and then celebrated the humiliation of a sizable percentage of their fellow citizens.
I am not sure to what you are referring when you say that more than half the population planned and celebrated the humiliation of their fellow citizens. The "Disengagement" plan was planned in fact by only Sharon's closest associates, such as Dov Weissglass and his son, Omri. Those who spoke out against the plan, such as former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon and head of the Shin bet, Avi Dichter, were summarily dismissed. Those members of Sharon's cabinet who did not vote in favor of "Disengagement" were fired, and votes of other MK's were bought by offering them cushy portfolios... As for celebrations, I have not heard of any. I do not doubt that there may be those in the media and academia who are overjoyed at the sight of Jewish suffering, and there may be members of the Jewish public in Israel who were happy to see the “Disengagement” plan implemented, but they are certainly not the majority or even close to it. True, there are many who accepted "Disengagement" because they believed that there was no alternative, but to believe that they have been celebrating is just not true.
I’m not sure I agree with you that there is anything left to rebuild... it may be time to throw in the towel and declare the experiment we called the State of Israel a failure.
If that is the case, then what are the implications of what you are saying? Should we all just pack up our bags and join you in America until Mashiach comes? No one ever said that the Jewish People returning to their Homeland after 2,000 years of Exile would be easy. After 2,000 years in Exile we have picked up a lot of bad habits and gone through many traumatic experiences and it is going to take us a little bit of time until we get the whole idea of Jewish sovereignty, with all that it entails, down pat. Ideally, we would have the best and brightest of our Jewish brothers and sisters here to help us make the "experiment" of the State of Israel an absolute success, but sadly, that is not the case, and as such, we are doing the best that we can here, shorthanded as we are.
I do not believe that the State of Israel can be considered a failure. True, we have not merited leaders who have feared the G-d of Israel nearly as much as they fear the President of the United States, but the State of Israel today represents the beginning of the redemption of the Jewish People, setbacks and all, as can be seen from the fulfillment of many prophecies , such as: "From Zion Torah will come forth and the word of G-d from Jerusalem". Israel is the center of Torah and Judaism today, with the flourishing of Torah institutions throughout the Land, and with more Jews returning to Judaism everyday. The State of Israel represents the fulfillment of the Ingathering of Jewish exiles from the four corners of the earth, where the majority of the Jews who remain living outside of Israel are doing so because they are actively choosing not to take part in the building a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. If not already, then certainly in the next decade, the State of Israel will have the majority of the Jewish People living within her borders. For 2,000 years the Land of Israel was a wasteland that refused to give its fruits to any who settled within her borders. Miraculously, the Jewish people have returned, and with the help of G-d, we have been able to take the desert of Gush Katif (and many other parts of Israel) and make it flourish in ways that no one could have ever dreamed possible. This, of course, being the surest sign that the Talmud gives for the onset of the redemption of the Jewish People.
One can not deny that the Jewish People in Israel are currently facing many challenges, but Baruch Hashem, they are our own challenges, and with G-d's help, we will be able to overcome then and be stronger for it. For 2,000 years the Jewish People did not have the luxury of having the ability to overcome their own challenges - the challenges of a sovereign nation - and had to turn to our non-Jewish "friends" for assistance. Today, that is not the case. Do we make mistakes? Sadly, we have made more than would be expected for a nation that is described as the "children of kings and prophets", but we are trying our best, and in the end, I have no doubt that we will be successful in creating a truly Jewish State in the Land of Israel that will serve as a light unto the nations and will serve to perfect the world through the kingdom of the Almighty.
The future of the Jewish People, in spite of all our challenges and setbacks, is here, in the Land of Israel. I reach out my hand to you, inviting you to come join us and help the Jewish People to fulfill both their own potential, as well as the lofty potential that we both know exists for the future of the State of Israel.