Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Imagine, just for a moment, that a leftist prime minister of Israel (say, Ehud Barak) had
presided over a government that oversaw the greatest decline in personal security in Israel’s
history, with the terrorist murders of more than 1,000 Israelis. We would be up in arms, taking to the streets to call for his resignation.
Imagine further that this leftist prime minister (say, Chaim Ramon) had presided over a
government that oversaw the worst recession in Israel’s history – one that stifled the economy,
produced records rates of unemployment, and drastically reduce support payments for the
indigent. We would be demanding the replacement of such an incompetent.
Imagine then that this leftist prime minister (say, Shimon Peres) concocted a scheme to
unilaterally and forcibly transfer Jews from their homes, without even a pretense that this would
somehow improve the security of Israelis – the very scheme, it should be added, that he
ridiculed and castigated when his election opponent had proposed it several months earlier. We would be insisting on the need to remove such a fraud from office.
Now imagine that this leftist prime minister (say, Yossi Beilin) had presided over a government that allowed (or encouraged) the closure of the voice of religious, nationalist Jews in Israel (Arutz-7, for example) permitting no broadcast outlet for the natural base of opposition to
his political and military machinations. We would be screaming that such a despot had no choice but to step down.
Imagine even more that this leftist prime minister severely slashed funding to yeshivot and religious institutions, closed down the Religious Affairs Ministry, stopped salary payments to
religious functionaries (kashrut supervisors, mikvah attendants, chevra kadisha members, etc.)
for months on end. We would be insisting that such a hater of Torah, trying to bankrupt Torah
life, is unfit to serve as prime minister of Israel.
And what would happen if such a leftist prime minister fired cabinet ministers at will in order to stifle discussion, intimidate dissidents, and create an artificial majority for his views; then held a referendum of his party members on his plans, lost the referendum, and announced he was ignoring their voices; and then sought support in his party’s Central Committee for his corrupt policies, lost that vote too, and announced that he could not be bound by the decisions of
We would say that such a leftist prime minister had such dictatorial, anti-democratic tendencies that it would be dangerous to have him serve even a moment longer.
Fortunately, such a scenario is impossible to imagine with regard to a leftist prime minister, for it would be intolerable and unacceptable.
Yet, such a state of affairs is precisely what has unfolded in the Israel over which the “rightist” prime minister, Ariel Sharon, presides: an Israel with a fatalistic sense of individual vulnerability, an Israel of recession, high unemployment, and chronic poverty, an Israel in which Torah is under siege and the religious infrastructure is collapsing, an Israel whose vision of its future consists of expelling Jews ? men, women and children ? from their homes that will be turned over to their murderers, and then cowering behind a big wall in hopes that the enemy – gives up? Goes away? Loses interest? Can’t figure out how to dig under the fence or shoot
mortars and rockets over it?
What am I missing? Is there one thing Sharon has done as prime minister that, had anyone else attempted to do the same, would not have caused the streets of Israel to erupt in protest? Why have we surrendered to this man, who has grievously – perhaps irrevocably –
harmed the right-wing political movement in Israel, and exposed the sheer emptiness of its values and the vacuities of its policies?
Surely others have recognized that Likud in power often implements the Labor platform.
So why is there a need for a Likud? For how long can Israel endure a process of “Labor suggests and Likud divests”?
Remember, it was Likud – and Sharon – that surrendered Sinai and expelled its Jews, and Likud that surrendered Hebron. Do Israelis unthinkingly support a political party as if it were
a football team – “my team, right or wrong”? Why is there is a fear of toppling this man, having
new elections with an honest airing of two views – strength vs. appeasement, Zionism vs.
surrender? Are we still honoring his military service of 30 and 40 years ago? What am I missing?
Perhaps the unspoken fear is – who will lead? Who today in Israel can articulate a vision of strength, hope, confidence, love of Torah and love of land? The party system is bankrupt, but
the prevailing sentiment is that a strong leader with true Jewish values could never get elected in Israel. But that same sentiment once prevailed with another strong leader of definite opinions
named Ariel Sharon, who was also deemed unelectable, until a few months before his election.
Sharon has been a masterful tactician and, as always, a poor strategist. He has made
everyone indebted to him, fearing for his or her political existence. He knows how to suppress
Arutz-7, control the religious parties, and even toss a few bones to the anti-religious Shinui party. He holds the Arutz-7 card, the “payoffs to the religious parties” card, and the “playing one party off another party” card. Each party is afraid it will be left out and be unable to drink from the public trough. But they can all get together and say “Enough is enough.”
The time has come to lawfully topple the Sharon government. No self-respecting Jew can
afford to remain in this cabinet or government even a moment longer, or vote in the Knesset to
prop it up. There is no justification of “fighting from within” against a leader who makes no
pretense of his contempt for democratic norms. We are already sliding down the slippery slope – first Gaza, then Shomron, then Yehuda, then Yerushalayim, because “if not, the world will apply so much pressure.”
It is time to end the tragic comedy of “Labor proposes and Likud disposes.” It is time to
end this pathetic retreat from sanity before the Army of Israel turns against the People of Israel, with devastating consequences for Israel’s future. It is time to elect a government of proud Jews whose voice is not suffocated by politics or money or fear.
It is time to democratically bring down the government of Ariel Sharon. Let history be the
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck,
About the Author: Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, New Jersey, and the author most recently of “Judges for Our Time: Contemporary Lessons from the Book of Shoftim” (Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2009). His writings and lectures can be found at www.Rabbipruzansky.com.
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Israel must develop it’s truthful message to be as clear & simple to comprehend as the Arab’s lies
2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”
“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”
Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.
The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.
The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”
It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.
The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.
What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?
Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.
We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.
The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.
There is a certain unwordliness to the pope’s call for a two-state solution, an obliviousness to the reality on the ground.
One can’t only take; one must give as well. Giving – not taking – is the essence of the righteous person.
Much of what we know about 19th century Orthodoxy is false, including the provenance of the term Orthodox.
A president who today used the language of FDR or JFK would be derided. If he were a candidate, the media elites would bury his chances of winning the election. He would be a laughing stock to the aimless young people whose uninformed opinions on public affairs seem to matter more than they should.
With the constant drumbeat of articles about “Orthodox” female rabbis appearing in the media almost weekly – essentially the same articles making the same points to the same eager audience, all to make the phenomenon of such “rabbis” seem commonplace – it is important to take a step back and examine how we arrived at this destination.
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