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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
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Biblical Faith And Practical Zionism

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A recent headline in the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported that certain military advisers are putting pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to initiate talks with Syria for fear of a Syrian attack on Israel this summer. Those who advocate this policy are controlled by their fear and dread of another summer of the horrors of war.

Syria has made it known that any talks with Israel must include relinquishing the strategic Golan Heights and uprooting Jewish settlements as a pre-condition. Only when the Syrians return to the hills above the Kinneret and have full control over the entirety of northern Israel will they even consider deliberations with Israel, which they have sworn to annihilate.

Surrendering to our enemies and yielding land only strengthens them and tempts them to attack us even more vigorously. They are encouraged by our fleeing, which our foes interpret as both physical and moral weakness.

Unfortunately, our leaders haven’t learned a lesson from our recent history. Under foolhardy terms of internationally negotiated agreements such as Oslo, we transferred the cities of Ramallah, Jenin, Shechem and parts of Hebron into the hands of so-called Palestinian police along with weapons and funds, all in the name of peace. Almost immediately, the terrorists took control and attacked us from these areas, eventually forcing the IDF to return.

The embarrassing fiasco, orchestrated by Ehud Barak, of our running in the middle of the night from Lebanon, led the way to Hizbullah replenishing its arms and positioning thousands of rocket launchers in the direction of Israel. Hizbullah dedicated six years to the ultimate strike on our northern cities, including Haifa, which had never been attacked before.

The shameful uprooting of the Jewish communities in Gush Katif and relinquishing of the land to the terrorists of Gaza – which was supposed to bring quiet to the area – ruined the lives of thousands of loyal Jewish citizens and only stimulated greater terror activities. The abandoned Gaza area quickly became training camps for Hamas guerillas, and underground tunnels convey tons of arms under the border from Egypt. Rocket attacks on the Jewish cities of Sderot and Ashkelon have increased significantly in recent months and have resulted in a number of civilian casualties.

Talks with Syria will produce no solutions but only cause horrific damage to Israel by bringing Iran and its bloodthirsty government so much closer to our borders. The illusion of talks bringing peace is rooted in fear and lack of faith on the part of our leaders, who prefer to turn a blind eye to reality.

Realistically dealing with our situation means preparing ourselves for the harsh reality of war and its consequences and not yielding to moral fatigue. At the end of 2005, while Ariel Sharon was still prime minister, Ehud Olmert speaking in New York, exclaimed that Israel was tired of fighting, tired of being victorious, tired of being heroic, and now just wanted peace. Mr. Olmert, as prime minister, is continuing this policy of fatigue, which is weakening our position and provoking more terrorist attacks on Israel.

It has been proven again and again that the continued progress of Zionism demands faith and a willingness to work hard and fight for our survival. Fleeing cannot be an option – even if it means pain and suffering. We recognize that this is necessary for our lasting existence in our land, and only this approach will help to achieve complete victory over our enemies who desire our destruction.

This Shabbat, Jews worldwide will hear the divine words of Parshat Shelach and be reminded of our weak leaders in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, leaders who became known as “spies.” The God of Israel delivered the Jews from Egyptian slavery and led them through the desert on the way to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael.

On the verge of entering the land, twelve Jewish leaders were dispatched as spies to explore the best ways of liberating the land. Ten of these leaders returned and reported, “We will not succeed … because they are stronger than us” (Bamidbar 13:31). They too were blinded by fear when observing the enemy; they described what they saw in Eretz Yisrael and said, “There we saw giants … and we were like grasshoppers” (Bamidbar 13:33).

About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer Waldman is rosh yeshivaof Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba.

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