“There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat.” James Russell Lowell
In our last postcard (“Jews Speaking Civilly to One Another?”) I bemoaned the fact Jewish people cannot agree, even about those things that speak to their own survival.
I even sought wisdom from my Rabbi, and while he saw clearly through to the crux of the issue, sadly, he could offer no definitive solution to the dilemma.
One reader of the article posed an interesting question and asked, “Whose voice shall be the one that is spoken in unison?”
And that is at the heart of the very dilemma the Jewish people now face.
Perhaps it is imperative we examine these voices and what they are actually saying before selecting a point of view for the Jewish people.
One group seems to be saying Israel ‘is’ the problem. She is not acting in accordance with the values she espouses, not behaving in a Jewish liberal fashion and by protecting herself she is harming innocent victims. They would ask that Israel give back land and stop oppressing what they see as a poor, innocent Palestinian population.
The second group sees Israel “not as a problem,” but a blessing. Are many within this second group aware and acknowledge that Israel does possess “problems?” Indeed. But that is a far cry from the other’s belief system.
The second group takes solace in the fact the land of Israel was returned to us, the rightful owners. It is like losing a precious diamond given to you by a parent and suffering until it is once again in your possession.
This is what Israel is to many Jews. A precious gift returned to the Jewish people. It is incumbent on this generation to ensure that gift be passed down to those who come after.
It is important to understand how many Jewish people have suffered at the hands of evil, pogroms, mass murders and all those who believed, and still do, that the Jew is a disposable commodity.
But indeed, we are not the only people who have suffered. Evil is not choosey when it needs to prey and feed. Sadly, too many Jews and all humanity have fallen into the devil’s clutches too readily and conveniently.
Interestingly however, since the State of Israel came into being, there have been no Holocausts, no pogroms nor any Inquisitions. Yet, there have been numerous attempts.
Still evil feeds ravenously across the planet. Darfur, Rwanda, throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
When the Russian Jews were oppressed and finally allowed to leave, they fled to Israel. When the French Jews realized their lives were in danger and they must speak in hushed tones to keep their religion a secret, they made * aliyah* and bought properties in Israel. This surge in French ownership greatly contributed to Israel’s economic regrowth after the Second Intifada and leading into the Second Lebanon War.
Oddly, there was no problem for these Jewish people who were in harm’s way to find a safe haven within the tiny Jewish State.
At one time, there was no safety, no place to run.
In the Jewish ghettos of Europe in the early 20th century, Jews were forced to stay inside locked and gated streets. They could not own land and possessed no rights as citizens or human beings. They were treated like animals at the mercy of a cruel master.
There was no Jewish homeland to run to, only a life of hardship and misery.
Now there is Israel, and those who recall the past see her as a blessing, a gift to the Jewish people to be back in their own land.
I compare Israel to a parents’ home after one has left for college or set out to make their way in the world.
If times are hard or life becomes intolerable, one can always return to their parents’ home to find comfort and nurturing.
Although the second group sees Israel as a great gift, they are realistic about the problems that confront the tiny country on a daily basis.
They watch with trepidation as the world gathers the storms of controversy against her, and they seek answers that will end the constant tirades of hatred. Would two states be the solution? Has giving away land in the past solved problems? Could it work or would this be merely the strategic position her enemies seek to ultimately destroy her once and for all?
Until these questions can be answered rationally and logically without political spin, neither group can truly speak with certainty. There is great frustration in the lack of definitive answers to such a crucial dilemma. Perhaps without the sound of Jewish people arguing, the voice of the enemy and their intentions will become clearer and more easily understood.
Listen to Hamas, for instance. Democratically elected Hamas claims to be the real and only representative of the Palestinians.
Can having a bordering state run by Hamas be safe for Israel and her people? These are the very same people who are lobbing rockets and missiles into Israel daily, placing innocent children and citizens in harm’s way. They kidnap soldiers and refuse to let the International Red Cross access. Jews say to trust that Hamas wants peace while Gilad Shalit sits in a prison, hidden away from any watchful eyes to guard his safety. Can they be trusted to keep peace? To be mindful of Israel’s borders? Of Israel’s safety?
This is indeed a conundrum.
As a Jewish person, I have two great problems with this “solution.”
First, is it my right to give away land that rightfully belongs to the Jewish people?
Second, can those to whom I am giving this land be trusted? Has their previous behavior, and those who are paying for and influencing their politics, put me at ease about their future behavior toward Israel?
These are not insignificant questions.
The answers are in fact what stand between life and death for the Jewish Homeland.
How can any Jewish person buy into hype and hateful propaganda and use that misinformation to make critical decisions about the future of Israel?
It seems madness to me.
I am not prepared to use my voice to demand Israel do anything until I am convinced it would be in her best interest and only her best interest.
Once the pertinent question is answered and I am assured that the every Jewish child and citizen in Israel is safe and secure, I may then decide what course is best for Israel to follow.
We cannot rely on flawed political rhetoric or ideologies to decide the fate of something as important to the Jewish people as Israel.
I cannot ignore the ranting of a madman who pronounces to the world Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth along with the bigger Satan, the United States.
Evil is allowed to speak openly, because good cannot accept evil’s “truth.” The devil’s strongest weapon is denial by good people and their refusal to face the reality that when evil speaks and we refuse to listen, we will pay the ultimate price in blood.
We suffer for our short memory of past madmen who spoke their intentions and followed through on their promises.
Evil is proactive, and sadly goodness is reactive. That is why the price in human life will always be so high.
May I strongly suggest the rest of my fellow Jews likewise refrain from judgments? Perhaps the question we may all ask in unison is: What is good for Israel and her survival? And how does she arrive at a safe and secure position?
Once sufficiently answered, a more intelligent choice may be made. Until then, perhaps it is best we remain silent and for once we all hold our collective tongues.
In the absence of the Jewish people offering a multitude of opinions and remedies, one might be struck at the silence from the other side. It may alert all to the reality the enemy does not want two states, living side by side. Their final “solution” may be to shed Jewish blood and destroy the State of Israel. Perhaps we may hear their intent to finish a job they began so long ago. Shush, if we listen, we may actually hear their “truth.”