Prime Minister Netanyahu
In his defense, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that he cannot fulfill his promise to build in Judea and Samaria because international pressures have intensified and become unbearable.
How does he expect there not to be relentless pressure on Israel when he himself abstains from claiming repeatedly that we have the right to settle in Judea and Samaria? And even worse – he has surrendered to Obama’s demand, and agreed to the establishment of an enemy state in Judea and Samaria! Just what does he expect – that the representatives of foreign nations, who have their own interests in the Arab world, will argue for Israel in his place?
A Broken Commitment
Before the elections, Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud Party committed to build in Judea and Samaria. They obviously were aware of international pressures. As a former Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu was quite familiar with the international arena. His promise to build should have taken into consideration standing firm against pressures, and a wide publicity campaign, explaining our rights to settle in Judea and Samaria. Having not done so, he has broken his promise.
Our Right over the Land
The dispute is over the right of the Jewish nation to its land. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s first duty is to constantly mention our right to the Land of Israel.
There is no other nation in the world that has survived such a long exile and remained attached to its land. And there is no other land in the world in which a foreign nation built its kingdom except for the Land of Israel. As it is written in the Torah (Leviticus 26:32), that even when Israel sins and is exiled from its land — “I will make the land so desolate that [even] your enemies who live there will be astonished.” Upon which the Sages have said (and Rashi mentions this in his commentary): “This is a good attribute for Israel; that their enemies won’t find satisfaction in their land, and it will be desolate from its inhabitants.”
Perhaps Netanyahu thinks that, suddenly, after being elected Prime Minister, Israel’s international situation has soured, leaving him no other choice but to declare that, under certain circumstances and through various withdrawals, he believes it’s possible to establish ‘peace’ with the Arabs. However, even if this is the case, at the very least, he should mention in his speeches that Judea and Samaria are the heart of our land, and that these are the holy places which the Jewish nation yearned for in all its years of exile. That these are the places which the Prophets spoke of – that one day the Jewish nation would return and build, as it is written: “And I will bring back the captivity of my people of Israel; and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink their wine; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them” (Amos 9:14-15).
Netanyahu and His Ministers are Guilty
Who prevents the Prime Minister from praying once a month in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, from visiting Rachel’s Tomb in Beit Lechem, or Joseph’s Tomb in Schem? He could visit Shilo, the place where the Sanctuary dwelled for over three hundred years. He could visit Beit El, the place where our forefather Jacob dreamt about the ladder and received the tidings of inheriting the land and the increase of his offspring like dust of the earth. He could come to Mt. Gerizim (Har Bracha), the place where Israel returned and received the Torah through a covenant. Such visits are not a provocation or a breach of any agreement – is it forbidden for the Prime Minister to visit the graves of the forefathers of the nation? This, however, would be a clear declaration of belonging to these holy and historic sites. Some of the world’s misconceptions about Israel would be solved on their own accord after such visits. The Prime Minister’s Jewish roots would probably be strengthened were he to visit these sites. But Netanyahu prefers to meet various affluent people while avoiding visiting the holy places and sites of Jewish heritage.
This implies that the problem is his weak connection to the Land of Israel and Jewish heritage. He was chosen as the public’s national representative, but in practice, he misappropriates the trust given him.
He can easily tell his good friend, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, to sign on the building permits in the settlements. He doesn’t want to.
The government ministers are also responsible. Even if they claim that they lack the power to change building policy, certainly they can frequently visit the holy sites, together with Israeli and foreign media, thus expressing the nation’s connection to its homeland in Judea and Samaria.
And for those who have already visited the holy places, it’s not enough to do so in the middle of the night, accompanied by a reporter from ‘Arutz 7’ or ‘Basheva’. I am not, G-d forbid, belittling the importance of our journalists, for they are the ones who report on the most profound and meaningful developments in Israel. Nevertheless, when such visits are covered only by ‘Arutz 7’, it is perceived as an attempt by the politicians to fulfill their obligation towards Jews faithful to the nation and the Land, in order to get elected in the primaries. What needs to be done is to say, in front of the entire world, that the Land of Israel is ours. Therefore, the ministers should visit in broad daylight, accompanied by media from Israel and the entire world, and explicitly say that the settlements are the realization of the Prophetic vision.
We are Also Guilty
Indeed, Netanyahu and his ministers’ guilt are clear, however, the public is also guilty. There should be a long line of people requesting to join every settlement in Judea and Samaria, as is fitting for a nation which has returned to its homeland after 2,000 years, and as is fitting for someone who realizes that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel is equal to all the mitzvoth. Instead of arising to settle the land, people are involved with trivialities, and to top it off, some even complain that the settlers have forgotten the nation! Any intelligent person must realize the great contribution the settlers make to the security of all those living in the Lower Plains area. With their own bodies, they are physically blocking the establishment of a terror state in Judea and Samaria. Is there any better way for your average person to contribute to the security of our nation? If there were long lines of people waiting to move to all the settlements, our national situation would probably be much different, and even Netanyahu and his ministers would join the effort to build the land.
Yet, even concerning Jerusalem, the city of our strength, there aren’t enough people knocking on her doors. Wide-spread building in Jerusalem, our holy and glorious city, can also rescue us from the establishment of an enemy state in our gates.
Therefore, anyone who is rightfully disillusioned with Mr. Netanyahu must also examine whether he or she is doing everything possible for the sake of strengthening the settlement movement in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.