Rabbi's and Politics

Question: With all due respect, Rabbi, how can you write that the building freeze won’t enhance Israel’s security, but only cause damage? Rabbi, do you have any idea what tremendous threats the Prime Minister has to deal with?! We’re talking about threats of nuclear weapons, and other threats that we don’t even know about! He is under indescribable pressure! The fact is that there were previous Prime Ministers from the right-wing who also couldn’t stand up to American pressure. Instead of condemning the Prime Minister and casting doubt on his ability to lead, you should have strengthened and praised him for not having agreed to withdraw up until now. In the current situation, rabbis should pray for the Jewish nation and the Land of Israel, and leave the issues of national diplomacy and security to the politicians.

Answer: In your question lies the basic assumption that rabbis are an exceptional category of people who are prohibited from stating their opinion on public matters, while everyone else is allowed to express their feelings on any topic they desire. According to your logic, the rabbi’s sole task is to pray and make halachic decisions concerning kashrut in the kitchen and similar issues. At first, I didn’t think there was a need to relate to such a strange claim. However, after I received a number of similar responses, I realized that the plague of foolishness had begun to spread, and perhaps it was worthwhile to address the issue.

The Prime Minister

The political positions of the left-wing are serious, and they must be debated earnestly. However, to claim that there are threats that only the Prime Minister is aware of, and that we should admire him and agree to all his capitulations, is utter stupidity.

The Prime Minister knew everything before he was elected. He had previously served as Prime Minister and was already familiar with all the various types of pressures applied to the State of Israel. He was also familiar with Israel’s national security situation – he even wrote a number of books on the subject that were published throughout the world. On the basis of his knowledge and political positions, he asked for the trust of the public before the elections, promising to continue building in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and claiming he would not agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Why should we praise him now? On the contrary, let him apologize and explain why he lied while running for election the second time. In addition, it would be nice to know who he’s deceiving now – the American’s? The Left? His voters? Or perhaps, all the answers are correct. He lies to all – maybe even to himself?

Why He Changes His Mind

In my estimation, there have been no substantial changes in the security situation. Rather, before the elections, Mr. Netanyahu realized that in order to get elected Prime Minister, he needed to declare that he would continue to build in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and oppose a Palestinian state. Presently, according to Mr. Netanyahu’s evaluation of the situation, if he rejects America’s demands, pressure upon him will intensify both internally (the Israeli media and the Supreme Court) and externally, to the point where he won’t be able to be re-elected. He thinks to himself: “The existence of the State of Israel is dependent on my remaining Prime Minister, for who can care for Israel’s security and prosperity better than me? Consequently, it’s better to make a few concessions – provided I remain Prime Minister. In the future, if the need arises to make a few more concessions, and a few more, and a few more – we’ll do it, as long as I continue to serve as Prime Minister – and all this for the best of the n
ation, of course!”

If Netanyahu was convinced that if he didn’t immediately start building in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, he would never be elected Prime Minister again – he would instantly declare, in front of the entire world, that the building would continue forever.

Terms of Analysis

Although I believe my analysis is correct, the argument that perhaps there are some dangers which the Prime Minister is aware of, and we, the simple folk, are not, must be addressed. Indeed, the Prime Minister is not the only one who is acquainted with the State of Israel’s security situation. Serving in the government are a number of ministers who are well aware of Israel’s security and international state of affairs, and they claim that Netanyahu is mistaken and endangering the State of Israel. Amongst them are former Chief of Staff Moshe Yalon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and former Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom.

Beyond this, in order to find ways to deal with the lurking dangers facing the State of Israel, it is essential to understand the roots of the conflict between Israel and her neighbors, which requires a broad and profound world outlook. And in this area, ministers and generals have no advantage, whatsoever. True, they are more familiar with the details, but in general, they lack the spiritual foundation to understand the deeper motives which lead nations to war and peace. It is precisely the rabbi’s who can better understand this.

Why should we be humble and conceal our positions when, by and large, our evaluations were more accurate than those of the so-called experts, who erred and deceived?

The Nuclear Threat

Anyone who thinks that by conceding to the pressures of the Obama administration, he will receive aid in the destruction of the Iranian nuclear plant is deceiving himself. The American’s have their own interests upon which they act, just as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, the American’s acted mainly because of the threat to their investments in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, and in Afghanistan, because of the threat of terror. We can’t complain about this – it’s logical that each country acts according its own interests.

Surely, in America there are true lovers of Israel who are ready to help Israel not only because of shared interests, but also because of shared values. Many of these supporters are Evangelical’s, along with other good American’s, and their influence is immense. They have a significant representation in the Congress, Senate, and the media. Most politicians, however, act according to their own personal agenda’s, and as long as long as they feel the Iranian threat is not crucial to America’s best interest – they won’t attack Iran, and will hamper any Israeli attempt to do so.

The best way to deal with the Iranian threat and other similar dangers is to strengthen our deterrence capability by making our position crystal clear: the Land of Israel is ours, we will settle and fight for it, and anyone who attacks us will pay a heavy price. This is the way to minimize the danger of war. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s approach of concessions and capitulations only spurs on our enemies desire to obtain lethal weapons and go to war against us.

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