Have Patience, Time is on Our Side

גרסה עברית

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 Ministers

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.

Build Jerusalem

The 10th of Tevet

Our teacher and leader, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Hakohen Kook of blessed memory said that on the fast day of the 10th of Tevet, the day on which the siege of the walls of Jerusalem began, we must act to strengthen the walls of Jerusalem, and the building of the Land of Israel, both spiritually and physically.

The Building of Jerusalem in Our Times

It is the obligation of each and every one of us to protest the government’s negligence in the building of Jerusalem. There are many Jews who long for the opportunity to ascend to Jerusalem and live there, however, there is not enough new houses being built – neither in the eastern nor western parts of the city. It is estimated that Jerusalem is in need of 4,000 new houses a year to fulfill the demand of Jewish families who desire to live there. In actuality, over the last few years, less than 2,000 houses a year have been built. Consequently, housing prices are soaring, and many families can’t afford to even think about buying an apartment or house in Jerusalem.

Over the last twenty years, 300,000 Jerusalemites have been forced to leave the city of their birth, almost all due to the lack of housing. And what about all the other Jews who would like to live in Jerusalem if only the housing prices were reasonable?

If all the building plans for Jerusalem were immediately set in motion, nearly 6,000 apartments a year could be built, prices would begin to decline, and Jerusalem would grow and develop into a great and important capital city. “The city of the great King, the joy of the whole earth.”

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem

In an act of sinful disregard, the government neglects its sacred obligation to build Jerusalem. At every wedding, we mention the eternal oath: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy” (Psalms 137:5-6). In truth, however, Jerusalem is forgotten.

Every morning upon awakening, the Prime Minister should be thinking about how to advance the building in Jerusalem. The Minister of Housing should be telephoning the Prime Minister twice a day to spur on construction in Jerusalem in compensation for the deficiencies of the past years. However, both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Housing, together with the rest of the Cabinet ministers, are inactive in building of Jerusalem. They have tongues to speak with, in tones of extreme importance, about every possible topic. They have hands with which they advance themselves and their close associates. But Jerusalem, they forget.

If their great-grandfather’s were told that, one day, their grandchildren would have the opportunity to build Jerusalem, they would have been overjoyed for the tremendous honor that befell them, their offspring being privileged to fulfill the dream of generations – to build Jerusalem. How embarrassed they would be to see their grandchildren dealing in petty, partisan politics while forgetting their true tasks.

For the Sake of Zion

Anyone who does not protest the government’s negligence of building Jerusalem cannot be considered as one who mourns her destruction. Anyone who sees the Prime Minister, the Minister of Housing, or any other members of the Cabinet and doesn’t speak up about the building of Jerusalem – nullifies the commandment of the prophet, as it says (Isaiah 62:1): “For the sake of Zion I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still, until her righteousness goes forth like radiance, and her salvation like a burning torch.”

If the members of the Cabinet, and he who stands at its helm, were imbued with faith and awareness of the national mission to build Jerusalem, the nations of the world would also honor them, and come to rejoice with us in its building, as it is written (Isaiah 62:2): “And the nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory.”

If we don’t demand the building of Jerusalem, what’s our fast all about? “I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace, day or night: you that make mention of the Lord, take no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes, and till he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Even when we were in the Diaspora, we were always required to mention Jerusalem — until it was built. And now, when we have our own government, can we remain silent and idle when they are negligent about building Jerusalem?!