|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 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 opens his commentary on the very first words of the Torah with a question: Why does the Torah begin 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 B'Reishis 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 K'naanim. 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 Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov as an eternal inheritance. (Interestingly, Rashi wrote his commentary during the first Crusade period when the Christians were battling with the Muslims over the Land of Israel.)
It's not by human might that Jews came to Eretz Yisroel, but by Divine right. Neither political prowess nor military power brought us to Israel, but by Divine grace. Indeed, ever since Joshua conquered the land from the K'naanim over 3,300 years ago, there has never been an independent nation in Israel other than that of the 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, only our bodies were sent into exile, not our souls. For thousands of years now and up until this very day, three times a day all over the world Jews turn towards Yerushalayim to pray.
On the Nature of Truth
There's no partial truth; truth is absolute. 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, Belt 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 Yasser 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, then 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 and 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. No one is doing the Arabs any favors by cruelly fueling false hopes that will only lead to frustration and greater disillusionment.
The wise "pragmatists" 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 for terrorists and suicide bombers in the world today.
No conscientious person could remain indifferent or keep silent as he witnesses Israel disintegrating before his very eyes. After September 11th the world has become allergic to lies, discovering that they 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 Krasnianski is Director of Chabad Lubavitch of the Upper East Side of Manhattan He can be reached at Chabadues@aol.com