Jewish Pride and Moral Sensitivities


By Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Rosh Yeshiva

January 22, 2008  -  15 Shvat 5768



          At the last weekly meeting with his cabinet partners,  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reported that he had been exceedingly “embarrassed” in front of visiting President Bush by the fact that the Israeli government had not yet fulfilled its commitment to uproot the “illegal” settler outposts. This shameful statement reflects the repulsive role of responsibility chosen by the Prime Minister of Israel.


          Before the summer 2005 uprooting of all Jewish communities from the Gaza area, the southern town of Sderot suffered from occasional rockets while Gush Katif towns absorbed harsh, daily bombardment. The “disengagement” was supposed to bring “peace” to southern Israel, but instead, Gaza has become a launching pad for destructive and fatal rocket attacks on all of southern Israel including Ashkelon. This past week, more than 200 rockets exploded in Sderot; every hour the residents ran for their lives to bomb shelters.


          Prime Minister Olmert should be embarrassed that for 7 years Kassam rockets have fallen steadily on an Israeli city. He should be embarrassed that Israeli citizens, young and old, are not protected and must live in fear 24 hours a day. He should be embarrassed that uprooted and displaced Gush Katif residents live as the Jewish People lived in times of exile, a reminder of when we ran from place to place in fear of our enemies. He should be embarrassed that young Jews in their homeland can’t hike freely without danger of terrorists killing them, as we mourn the 2 soldiers from Kiryat Arba who were brutally murdered a few weeks ago, victims of a wicked road map. He should be embarrassed that discussions over partitioning the holy city of Jerusalem are being held with infamous murderers with blood on their hands. He should be embarrassed that the Prime Minister of Israel promised to freeze building and restrict the lives of loyal Jewish citizens in the heart of their country including Jerusalem.


          In front of President Bush, the leader of a powerful foreign entity, Ehud Olmert unashamedly announced his embarrassment that he hadn’t carried out the crime of uprooting more Jews from their homes. This is a horrible perversion of moral and national sensitivities and responsibilities. I am sure that every Jew, true to his people and country, feels humiliated that Israel has a Prime Minister and government that accepts and supports this sinful policy.


          Olmert went to Sderot on a late night visit and declared the next day that it was a good visit, the situation was under control and much credit was due to the IDF for their decent and humane tactics, especially their pinpoint attacks on known terror targets instead of bombing the entire area whereby “innocent” Palestinian victims might be harmed. It is embarrassing to hear this heartfelt sensitivity for evil terrorists but no empathy for the innocent Jews living in Sderot. Gazans know exactly where the rocket launchers are emplaced and could stop the bombing themselves if they chose to do so, but they don’t. The only way to stop the rockets is to eradicate the launchers and let the Palestinians who support Hamas flee for their lives, not the Jews of Sderot who are not bothering anyone.


          This perverted representation of moral sensitivity is clearly illustrated by all talks and in all agreements thus far negotiated with the Palestinians. Israel demands they stop terror activity and they demand Israel stops settlement. It all boils down to a simple mathematical equation, obliterate terror equals obliterate settlements. This is the language of all the demands they present, as if murder is identical to building. Settlement versus terror. This abnormal outlook stems from a lack of basic faith in the divine Zionist process. We who believe in our rights to Eretz Yisrael from Biblical sources, remember that the goal of Zionism is to restore the life of the People of Israel in the Land of Israel; two entities eternally conjoined and dependant one on the other.  We bear in mind that the Jewish people were warned that if they do not follow the ways of the Almighty, they will be expelled from the Land of Israel and driven into exile. Then came the divine proclamation: “I will make the land desolate and your enemies will be desolate upon the land.” Vayikra 24:32. Our Sages explain that there is a hidden blessing in this passage. Just as the Jewish people in exile will remain loyal to Eretz Yisrael and will not accept any foreign homeland, the Land of Israel will remain loyal to the Jewish people and not bear its fruit for any other nation. The enemies of the Jewish People will never succeed in creating fruitful life from the soil of Israel. Throughout 2000 years of exile, the land remained barren and desolate. It only started bearing its fruit when the Jewish People began returning in greater numbers, turning it into a Garden of Eden.


          Today we clearly see that only the divine combination of the Jewish People and the Jewish Land can restore vitality to the land. Foreigners can only bring terror and destruction. Unfortunately, those who are disengaged from this faith and understanding of the reality of Eretz Yisrael, continue to blindly follow the illusion that compromises and yielding parts of our homeland to foreign rule will bring “peace”, instead of the reality of bombs, hatred and devastation. This government headed by Mr. Olmert is not only lacking national pride; their distorted “peace” plans and perverted moral sensitivities, present imminent danger as a result of irresponsible handling of national affairs.


          We are sure that this government cannot continue and will have to be replaced by a leadership that is engaged in Zionism, and deeply rooted in the eternal bond between the Jewish nation and the Land of Israel.


          Thank G-d that the fate of our people will not be determined by politicians who are proud of groveling in front of Ms. Rice and Abu Mazen, and are embarrassed by the pioneering spirit of a new generation of authentic Jewish builders and settlers of our homeland. Our future will be determined by Torah guided Jews who are engaged in the sacred task of studying Torah together with building and defending Eretz Yisrael. These proud people of faith who implement the true values of Torah, are the ones who continue the path of our forefathers and their Zionist followers, ensuring the security and fruitfulness of our land.


          At this stage of redemption, we draw our strength and inspiration from Yoav, a general in King David’s army who declared: “Let us be strong for our people and our G-d’s cities, and the Almighty will do what is good in His eyes.” (Samuel II, 10:12)

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