Israel Cannot Escape the God Issue
Posted by Glezele Vayne on March 15, 2010
I can’t say it better than Professor Eidelberg —
“Few people understand why Israel, undefeated in war, is withdrawing to her perilous pre-1967 borders. Let me explain.
Israel has been led by prime ministers whose policy of “land for peace” belies the fact that Israel is engaged in a religious conflict with implacable foes who have said “peace means the destruction of Israel.”
It needs to be stressed that the futile and fatal policy of territory for peace contradicts the Torah—Israel’s raison d’être. This inane and ignoble policy magnifies Arab (as well as western) contempt for the Jewish state, and encourages Muslim despots to wipe Israel off the map. Israel cannot avoid or win this war as long as she is led by prime ministers who omit the God of Israel from the domain of statecraft. Before continuing, let’s review the stages of Israel’s territorial retreat.
The first step in this retreat was taken by the Likud government of Menachem Begin. Begin, a vaunted nationalist, compromised Israel’s retention of Judea and Samaria in the Camp David Agreement of September 1978. This agreement resulted in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of March 1979, in which Begin signed away the Sinai to a military dictatorship whose tourist maps of the Middle East omit the word “Israel.”
The second step was taken in September 1993 by the Labor government of Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin signed the Oslo Agreement which further undermined Israeli possession of Judea and Samaria. Oslo legitimized the PLO, a terrorist organization whose stationery logo depicts Israel as “Palestine.”
The third step in Israel’s shrinkage was taken by the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu, who, between 1997 and 1999, signed away parts of Judea and Samaria to PLO chief Yasser Arafat. Netanyahu lacked the backbone to abrogate Oslo despite daily PLO terrorist attacks. By the way, it was Arafat who said, “For us peace means the destruction of Israel.” Netanyahu played the role of a deaf and blind mute.
The fourth step was taken in August 2005 by Likud leader Ariel Sharon, who betrayed the nation by adopting Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement from Gaza, a policy rejected by an overwhelming majority of the public in the February 2003 election.
The fifth step in Israel’s self-immolation was taken on June 14, 2009 at Bar-Ilan University, when another Likud government—again led by Benjamin Netanyahu—betrayed the nation by endorsing an Arab-Islamic state in Judea and Samaria, the goal of the Labor Party. The Likud also abandoned Zionism, having long ago abandoned the God of Israel.
Israel’s territorial retreat is unprecedented in the annals of history. This territory was not only repossessed by Israel in 1967 in a war of self-defense. Eminent American professors of law and jurists also affirm Israel’s right to this land on the basis of international law! Yet no Israeli prime minister has emphasized this right against Israel’s enemies, and not even with the United States. They have completely ignored the compelling evidence and arguments propounded by Howard Grief’s monumental work The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law (2008).
If Grief’s masterpiece of legal reasoning were not enough for Israel to retain possession of Judea and Samaria, recall that shortly after the 1967 war, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that the Judean and Samarian hills, the Golan Heights, and even parts of the Sinai are essential to Israel’s security—a strategic assessment valid to this day.
Why, then, have various Israeli prime ministers regarded this land, which so many Jews yearned for, fought and died for, as expendable? What induces them to yield the patrimony of the Jewish people to Arab despots whose state-controlled media constantly spit out the most obscene hatred of Jews and Israel—obviously intended to prepare Muslims for the next war?
The conventional answer is that Israel’s territorial withdrawal results from her desire for peace on the one hand, and from American pressure on the other. Too simple. Anwar Sadat had a more realistic understanding. Shortly after his Jerusalem visit of November 1977, Sadat scornfully declared: “Fear is the second layer of skin of every Israeli or Jew.”
This suggests that Israel is retreating to her pre-1967 borders because her ruling elites are dominated by the fear of war, meaning violent death. If so, their professed desire for peace is merely a façade for cravenness—as may be said of their yielding to American pressure. Let’s go deeper.
Almost any normal person fears violent death. But for Israel’s elite to surrender part of their people’s homeland to avoid violent death suggests they regard violent death as the greatest evil—the teaching of Thomas Hobbes. Those who deem violent death the greatest evil will seek peace at any price.
And yet, only fools would expect genuine peace by surrendering strategic territory to Arabs, who cannot live in peace with each other, much less with Jews. Indeed, most of Israel’s own Arab citizens openly reject Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state!
This being the case, to say fear of violent death underlies Israel’s withdrawal to her pre-1967 “Auschwitz” lines, is not sufficient. Also operative among Israeli prime ministers is a mode of thought that induces them to obscure the enormity of evil confronting the Jewish state. This obscurantism results in self-induced stupidity. I see this in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s belief that the Arabs can be pacified by fostering their economic development. He apparently believes that modern technology and wealth-making will induce Muslims to forsake their Quran and overcome their 1400-year tradition of war!
In fact, some ten years ago, I attended a meeting in which Netanyahu predicted that the influence of Internet on Arab culture would eventually lead Arabs to peace! Since few people would accuse Netanyahu of stupidity, something deeper must be at work here.
It seems to me that Netanyahu has unwittingly adopted, or has been infected by, the Marxist doctrine that ideologies are merely reflections of economic development. Marx put it this way in The German Ideology:
We do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process. The phantoms formed in the brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material [meaning economic] premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. (Emphasis added.)
From this it follows that by changing a society’s economic development or “material life-process,” one can change its political and religious ideology. Thus, in addition to fear of war and self-induced stupidity, a soft Marxist mentality underlies Netanyahu’s adoption of the “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Now, I must emphasize that Marxism is a form of idolatry, one that deifies the primacy of physical or material forces in the history of mankind. Not that Netanyahu is a hard core atheist. We do not expect logical consistency from non-philosophic statesmen. However, Netanyahu’s willingness to abandon Israel’s heartland indicates that the God of Israel has been eclipsed by Bibi’s naïve materialistic politics.
This is the basic reason for Israel’s territorial retreat. To be fair, however, not a single Israeli prime minister has come to grips with the one thing needful in Israel: to bring God back into the domain of statecraft. The silence about the Sinai Covenant so often emphasized by the Prophets of Israel is precisely why Jews today are so confused, fearful, and politically stultified. Nothing else can rationally and adequately explain Israel’s insane withdrawal from the Promised Land.
In his commenting on Exodus 23:20, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that the Jews did not merit this land because of their virtue or valor. Rather, it was entrusted to them by God on condition of their living by the laws of the Torah.
Juxtapose the Malbim’s commentary to Exodus 23:31-33, which refers to the land’s foreign inhabitants: “If you drive them out little by little and allow some to stay, you will be tempted to make peace with them, to avoid the burdens of war.” The Torah warns: “Do not make a treaty with them … Do not allow them to reside in your land … for it will be a fatal trap to you.”
Isaiah 28:15 indicates that Israel’s treaty with the PLO is a “covenant with death,” which Targum Yochanan translates as a covenant with “terrorists”!
Therein is the Torah’s explanation of why Israel is shrinking – and will continue to shrink so long as its government betrays the God of Israel.
*Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, March 15, 2010.
From Glezele Vayne