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January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
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Ouch, It’s My Jewish Identity

Instead of explaining its own position, Israel explains the position of its enemies.

 

When is the last time you heard an official Israeli representative simply state that this is our land – without ifs, ands, and buts? Simply put, “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation, period.” Has the prime minister made such a statement? Any minister? Perhaps an ambassador?

 

All the claims against Israel can be distilled to this one simple question: Whose land is this, anyway? But here’s the caveat: It is impossible to say that this is our land without falling back on our Jewish foundations. To avoid that unthinkable eventuality, Israel trades its ultimate playing card for paltry claims that its soldiers are the most humane in the world – and endanger their lives to prove it – and that it is the most democratic regime in the region.

 

The world, though, doesn’t really care if Israel’s armed forces are humane. What determines if you are right or wrong is whether the ground under your feet belongs or does not belong to you.

 

The refusal to admit that this is our land (or, in broader terms, to reconnect as a state to our Jewish identity) has brought Israel to its diplomatic knees. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior ministers have arrest warrants waiting for them in Europe’s capital cities – while mass murderer Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is invited to lecture at Columbia University. The modern-day Amalek does not tell the world that he is humane. He explains that he is right. The world accepts this as fact because Israel’s leadership plays straight into his hands.

 

Just like the first Amalek, Ahmadinejad publicly declares his intention to destroy Israel and proceeds with his technical preparations – basically unhindered.

 

It may be difficult to understand why Ahmadinejad has managed to place a flashing and threatening question mark over Israel’s head. The reason is that the “state of all its citizens” (as per former chief justice Aharon Barak) or the “Singapore of the Middle East” (as per President Shimon Peres) or the “place under the sun” (as per Netanyahu) is incapable of standing proud and firm behind its identity and justifying its existence.

 

For those of you who do not understand the critical implications of our Jewish identity for our very survival, here’s the following story:

 

In the first Lebanon War in 1982, the IDF pretty much forced the PLO terror organization out of Lebanon and into exile in Tunisia. The PLO was in complete disarray. One of the prisoners in Israel’s Ansar detention camp was a senior terrorist, admired by his henchmen. His name was Salah Taamari.

 

In a book about Taamari, Mine Enemy, penned by Israeli journalists Amalia and Aharon Barnea, Taamari told Barnea of the transformation he underwent in Ansar. While in prison, he had completely despaired of any hope that the Palestinians would one day realize any of their territorial dreams. He was ready to renounce the struggle, and to convince his prison mates that they would never defeat Israel.

 

Then, one Passover, he witnessed a Jewish prison guard eating a pita. Taamari was shocked, and asked his jailer how he could so unashamedly eat bread on Passover. The Jew replied, “I feel no obligation to events that occurred to my nation over 2,000 years ago. I have no connection to that.”

 

That entire night Taamari could not sleep. He thought to himself: “A nation whose members have no connection to their past, and are capable of so openly transgressing their most important laws, has cut off all its roots to the land.”


             He concluded that the Palestinians could, in fact, achieve all of their goals. Taamari related how he shared this insight with “tens of thousands of his colleagues, and all were convinced.”

 

Taamari indeed convinced his co-terrorists, and breathed new life into the war against Israel. It is hard to exaggerate the damage done by the pita in the mouth of just one Israeli prison guard on the Passover holiday.

 

What does this have to do with the current Jerusalem imbroglio?

 

Here is another story – short and current: This story is not about an anonymous soldier who is disconnected from his Jewish roots, but about the prime minister of Israel, who is estranged from his. On his recent trip to Russia, Benjamin Netanyahu chose the non-kosher restaurant, Pushkin, as the venue for his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Papandreou. The whole world was able to watch, as the leader of the Jewish nation dined heartily on the finest that non-kosher cuisine has to offer.

 

One pita in the mouth of an anonymous soldier was enough to sow the seeds of defeat from Israel’s triumph in Lebanon. What damage will we suffer from non-kosher food in the mouth of the prime minister of Israel?

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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