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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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We Climbed The Wrong Mountain

      Have you ever climbed the wrong mountain? I don’t think that anybody who has passed through IDF officers training has not had that experience. After the searing moment of realization sinks in, there is no choice but to go all the way back down and then climb up the right mountain. One thing for sure – there are no shortcuts.

 

      That is more or less what is happening now in Israel. After 2,000 years of exile, we had reached the absolute bottom of the mountain – the place where killing a Jew was just like killing a mosquito. And then, approximately 100 years ago, the Nation of Israel began searching for its fitting place in history.

 

      The historical alarm clock was ringing. It was time for the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and become a nation once again. Those who managed to get the most energy together and begin climbing up the mountain were Jews who had rejected their religion. The mountain they chose to climb on their ascent back into history was not the Jewish identity mountain. It was the normalcy mountain.

 

      The success of Zionism was dizzying. We miraculously reached the summit of the mountain. It was no longer possible to kill the Jews like mosquitoes. Just the opposite; the Jews had learned to be superior warriors.

 

      The ascent had been successful. But around the time of the Yom Kippur War, the first signs that we had climbed the wrong mountain began to appear. It turned out that even after the amazing victory in the Six-Day War, the neighbors still did not recognize our right to exist. The anti-Semitism that reminds us of the Judaism that we so wanted to forget and that Herzl promised would disappear as soon as we established a state simply changed its form.

 

      We tried to fool ourselves and flip a different switch. Instead of being a normal nation by conquering the land, we would be normal by surrendering it. We convinced ourselves that the hatred of Israel stems from the “Occupation” and the settlements, and that if we just retreat to the pre-Six-Day War lines, we will finally merit our longed-for normalcy. But the more we destroyed the settlers and disengaged from the land, the more the hatred grew. Worse yet, the price of our children’s blood began to decrease. The murder of a Jew in Sderot or Ashkelon has once again become a trivial matter.

 

      So now what do we do?

 

      For 10 years, Manhigut Yehudit has been trying to explain that we are climbing the wrong mountain. When Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasir Arafat’s hand, we warned that rockets would explode in Ashkelon. When nobody listened, we blocked the roads. Nothing helped. Reality has proven time and again that we were right. But the illusion that we had finally discovered the secret to turning into a normal nation is very strong. Now we are sliding down the mountain, nearing the point at which even here – in the Land of Israel, in our super high-tech normal state, armed to the teeth – killing a Jew is like killing a mosquito. And the world accepts and justifies it.

 

      I read an interview this week with Professor Ze’ev Tzachor, dean of the Sapir College in Sderot – where a student was killed by a Kassam last Thursday. (This is the same college where an Arab lecturer forced a student from class because he was dressed in his army uniform.) Professor Tzachor explained how his British colleagues rationalize the reason for hatred of Israel in England:

 

      “We had dreamed of a place in which the new Book of Books would be written as a prelude to worldwide redemption. After all, you are G-d’s treasured nation and the world has expectations. But look at what you have done.”

 

      Do you understand? The world does not expect us to be normal. The world expects us to be ourselves and to develop our unique culture, so that we can be a source of inspiration and hope for all mankind. In the eyes of the world, when we insist on being “normal,” we lose our very right to exist.

 

      So now we are sliding down the slippery slope. Gush Katif, Sderot, Ashkelon. And we have not yet reached the bottom. When we do get there, we must be sure to begin our climb up the right mountain. Not the mountain of “normalcy,” but rather the mountain of Jewish identity.

 

      To learn more about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and their plan for Israel’s future – and to order Feiglin’s newest book, The War of Dreams– visit http://www.jewishisrael.org/.

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. 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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