Latest update: November 28th, 2012
Albeit all the angry, bitter, and downright nasty articles and blogs which have been written on how Israel was defeated in its latest skirmish with the Hamas – that isn’t the case at all. We’re really the winner! Let me explain:
Firstly, on the simplest level, thanks to the grace of G-d, our casualties were far less than the Other Side’s. Regarding physical damage as well, the devastation on their side was far greater. So, just in terms of the way the military scorecard is usually figured, we were the victors by far.
In reply to the claim that the Hamas received a great boost in their morale in bringing mighty Israel to a cease fire, giving them added incentive for the next round – maybe. But their celebrations of victory are based on fantasy and lies, and their joy won’t last when we hit them ten times as hard the next time.
As far as the truce being a crushing blow to the morale of our own troops – my son and his friends in the army don’t seem any less gung ho about destroying the Hamas the next chance they get, so I think that claim has also been over-exaggerated. Our son was happy to be home for Shabbat, and we were happy too. Along with 30,000 other soldiers and their families.
Don’t accuse me of being a pacifist. Any reader who has been following my blog during the recent Israeli Air-Force exercise in Gaza knows that I would not have had any qualms at all if we had waited for a day when a stiff wind was blowing toward Cairo and dropped a small A-Bomb on Gaza City. But the time hasn’t yet come. Savlenut, my friends. Patience.
I am reminded of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook’s reaction when the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the Palestine of the British Mandate which sliced Eretz Yisrael into pieces and awarded a truncated area to the Jews. When the news came over the radio that a Jewish State would be formed, a spontaneous joy swept over the country. People rushed out from their homes to dance in the streets. But Rav Tzvi Yehuda was crushed. The Land of Israel has been divided! Large portions of the country had been placed in foreign hands! Half of Jerusalem, Hevron, Shilo, Yericho, Shechem, and the other side of the Jordan River! Multitudes of Israelis were dancing through the streets, but in his staggering sorrow, Rav Tzvi Yehuda remained in his home. The Land of Israel had been divided! It was impossible for him to feel glad. He felt as if he himself had been cut into pieces.
The following day, Rabbi Yaacov Moshe Harlop, a close student and friend of Rav Tzvi Yehuda’s father, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, came to visit him in the old house on Yafo Street in Jerusalem. They sat in the room which Rabbi Kook had used as his study and huddled together, distraught over what had occurred. Then, finding encouragement in each other, and raising themselves up to Rabbi Kook’s famous all-encompassing vision, they quoted the verse of Psalms, “This is the Lord’s doing. It is wondrous in our eyes.” Finally, Rav Tzvi Yehuda mustered the strength to go out to the Nation, realizing, with faith in Hashem, that is was God’s doing, and that with the passing of time, the newborn Nation would overcome the great difficulties and gradually return to all of its Land – to Hevron, to the Temple Mount, to Shechem, to Gaza, and to the other side of the Jordan.
During the recent operation in Gaza, we wrote that the Redemption of Israel was a process which develops gradually over time, little by little, like the emerging of dawn, stage after stage, in the wars which Israel must fight against its enemies who strive to block out its light, in what is known as “the Footsteps of Mashiach.” While we would like to see our salvation and victory occur all at once, Presto, with one wave of Mashiach’s wand, the Master of the World, who is also the Master of War, has decided otherwise. After the trauma of our national disintegration in our exile in foreign lands, Hashem rebuilds our Nation gradually, war after war, development after development, slowly bringing us back to our true selves, the proud lions of Judah, completely devoted to Hashem and His Torah, not only as individuals, but as a proud Torah Nation in Israel.
Certainly, after the recent “Pillar of Defense” Operation, we all saw the amazing miracles which prevented hundreds of Israeli casualties. We all saw the Divine Providence which protected our pilots and airplanes, who returned to their bases safely, without a technical hitch, for nearly 2000 flights. We all sensed much more deeply that our success isn’t due to our air-force alone, or to the defense dome of “Kipat Barzel,” but to Hashem who watches over us and guards us.
Hashem is the Master of War. In His kindness and wisdom, He decided that the time hadn’t yet come to send our troops into Gaza. The decision wasn’t Bibi’s or Barak’s. Hashem is the Master of Wars. Our Sages teach us that the hearts of kings are in the hand of God. Great national decisions affected Clal Yisrael come from Hashem. Our leaders are responsible for the good that they do, and the bad, but the enlightened perspective knows that Hashem calls the shots. As long as our leaders don’t believe that Gaza is ours, and lack the Torah faith to utterly destroy the evil that dwells there; and as long as they lack the Torah faith to give our soldiers the green light they need not to put themselves in danger over “innocent civilians,” then it is better that our soldiers don’t give up their lives in vain.
We are advancing. Now more than ever, in the outcome of this recent skirmish, the People of Israel realize that there can be no compromise with terror, and that if we don’t dwell in Gaza, then terrorists will. Now, in the aftermath of this skirmish, more and more people in Israel realize that something in the leadership of Israel is wrong, that the same old explanations don’t work, that the policies of the Left and the Likud are bankrupt and false, and that a new spirit of courage and Emunah/faith is needed to move our Nation forward and free ourselves from the chains of world opinion, and from the rainstorm of rockets which follows when we fail to be who we really are, because the God of Israel won’t let us rest; He won’t let us be wealthy capitalists, and American-style democrats, and secular Jews enjoying the good life on our sunny Mediterranean coasts. No siree, Charlie. Hashem will make us into real Jews, little by little, war after war, if need be, until we chase all of the Apaches out of Gaza and reclaim all of our Biblical cities and borders.
This greater understanding is our victory in this war.
And now, my dear friends, I’ll tell you a little secret. Part of the secret. As much as I can tell. Without revealing my sources. Remember, the famous Ali-Forman fight in Zaire? The “Rumble in the Jungle.” How Mohammed Ali lay back on the ropes and let George Foreman pound away in the steaming, hot jungle night, blow after blow, Foreman’s devastating punches falling like missiles against Ali’s superb “Rope a Dope” defense. Until Foreman’s arms were heavy with exhaustion, and Ali leaped away from the ropes and dealt him one swift crushing blow which send the big guy sprawling to the canvas for the count, as Ali reclaimed his world heavyweight championship in the steaming jungle night with a stunning unforgettable knockout that the world will never forget.
If you are too young to remember, you can see the fight on Youtube. The point is – remember before this little skirmish with Hamas began – how the south was getting pummeled with rockets and we didn’t do a thing, as if they had us on the ropes? And how everyone in Israel was yelling at Bibi and Barak for going up to the Golan instead of taking care of business in the south, and then POW! “Rope a dope.” One swift missile blew the head off of Goliath. Suddenly Bibi and Barak were heroes! Military geniuses!
Now, my dear friends, do you think that Bibi and Barak became chicken-livered morons over night? Do you think that after a week at the helm, they lost their proverbial batzim? I can’t stand Barak as much as you, but the guy isn’t a coward. He’s ruthless and he hates the Arabs as much as you do. Maybe more. And Bibi, well, he’s not David HaMelech, but he isn’t a total zero either. Yes, he’d also like to destroy Hamas, but, first and foremost, as Prime Minister of Israel, he’s got Teheran on his mind. Day and night, night and day, stopping Iran is his Number One concern. Sure, the Grad missiles from Gaza are troublesome, but they’re firecrackers compared to the Shahab 3 missiles aimed at Tel Aviv.
So let the Arabs world think that we’re losers. Let the Israeli media take pot shots at Bibi all day. Let the columnists of The Jewish Press and all the citizens of Israel think that Bibi’s a marsh mellow who caves in to international pressure. But let me let you in on a secret. “Rope a dope.” When Hillary was here, he made her make a bargain, Mediterranean style. America doesn’t want us to take out Hamas and upset their plans for a stable Mideast? Then let America bomb Teheran. Hillary called Washington and Obama said no. Then give Israel a green light to do the job on our own, Bibi countered, quietly, under the table, of course, along with the bunker bombs, UN veto, and military backup we need.
Israel won this recent skirmish. Just be patient and see.
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press
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