22 Shevat 5768, 29 January 08 04:58

by Moshe Feiglin



Amalek is Israel’s quintessential Biblical enemy. Amalek is not just another conventionally cruel nation. Amalek is the essence of evil. The Torah clearly teaches that there is no room for Amalekism in G-d’s world.


Amalekism is Social Darwinism; the survival of the fittest as a moral imperative. This is actually the basis of Nazism and, while it is not politically correct to say so, it is also the basis of Islam. It is no coincidence that Mein Kampf has remained a best-seller in Islamic countries.


With the appearance of Amalek on the Biblical stage, we are introduced to another concept, as well: vulnerability. Amalek attacks the freshly-liberated Israelites from the rear, concentrating on the vulnerable Jews. Amalek is actually the world’s first terrorist. He doesn’t face off with his enemy in battle. Instead, he attacks the vulnerable civilian stragglers, the weak sectors of society that are lagging behind.


Terrorists, unfortunately, abound in the world. But they will only strike where they identify vulnerability. In other words, it is vulnerability that empowers terror.


My little son once showed me a fascinating National Geographic photo. It was an aerial shot of a huge herd of buffaloes, their menacing horns glimmering in the sun, running for their lives from two or three lions. It was an unbelievable sight. If the buffaloes would have turned around to face their attackers, then they could have crushed them with no further ado. But instead, they all turned their backs and fled, likely leaving a vulnerable buffalo or two - possibly small or wounded - straggling behind to be eaten by the lions. When the unpleasant affair is finished, all the buffaloes return to their routine.


We do not interfere with buffaloes and lions. But the continuous rocket attacks on Sderot and the apathy in Tel Aviv are disconcertingly similar to the above description, and most certainly warrant our attention. In other words, the fact that our society allows for the vulnerability - currently in Sderot - brings the terror attacks upon us. The lions do not chase the buffaloes away. Rather, the buffaloes’ lack of mutual responsibility abandons the vulnerable members of their herd and creates the opening into which the Amalek terror will inevitably enter.


The Torah promises us that when we are blessed, just a small number of Jews will triumph over multitudes of enemies, and vice versa. We all remember Israel’s victory in the Six Day War and how Israel’s army struck fear in the hearts of the vast Arab armies. But today, we are experiencing the opposite side of the coin.


In general, the “religious” answer to this situation is that when we observe the commandments we win and when we don’t, we lose. Observance of the commandments of the Torah is essential, but the religious explanation is a bit lacking. The Jewish nation did not observe more commandments before the Six Day War than it does today. So why did we merit the blessing then? And why do we hysterically flee our enemies today? (How many tanks are in the Hamas arsenal? How many planes are in the Hizbullah’s fleet?)


The factor through which G-d blesses us with the power of deterrence or curses us with trepidation in the face of our enemies is mutual responsibility. Simply put, if we have it, we are united and win. If we don’t, we create vulnerability and lose.


In 1967, the factor that united Israel was Zionism. Then, that was enough to unite the nation and to empower it with the blessing of deterrence. But today, Zionism no longer unites Israel. We have become a herd of individuals - buffaloes fleeing every lurking danger.


The only factor that can unite our nation once again is our Jewish identity, the most basic, foundational ethos of at least 80% of Israel’s Jews. If we will reunite around our Jewish identity, our mutual responsibility will be reawakened and the phenomenon of vulnerability will disappear. It is only then that we will merit the blessing of peace in the Land of Israel.


Moshe Feiglin is head of the Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] faction in the Likud party and a former prime ministerial candidate in the Likud primaries.

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