According to Col. (ret.) Rabbi Dov Povarsky, who served as a military rabbi until 2005, among other assignments as rabbi of the IDF Officer School, of the Judea and Samaria Division and of the Military Intelligence unit, the downfall of Muslim Brothers’ president, Mohammed Morsi, was brought about by the IDF.
At least that’s how the retired chaplain opens his very clever op-ed in Kikar HaShabbat, suggesting that following the bolstering of Hamas, as its mother-movement, the Brotherhood, was gaining power in Egypt, the IDF became very concerned. The result, writes Povarsky, took place quickly, as millions came out to the streets and the public squares, and Takhrir became a hotbed of anti-regime protesters—all of it to the IDF’s credit.
Likewise, the Iranian nuclear threat, personified by madman President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was greatly diminished due to the rapid influence of the IDF, which brought about the election of a more moderate replacement.
In Syria and Lebanon as well, the IDF created a quagmire for both President Bashar Assad and for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, tying them up in an endless civil war which exacts an unimaginable toll from everyone involved and boosts markedly Israel’s security at the northern border.
OK, at that point even the most dense reader understands that the author, a founder of yeshiva Lev Ahron in Har Nof, Jerusalem, is using irony. He doesn’t really believe that the IDF had anything at all to do with the astonishing collapse, or at least serious weakening, of all of Israel’s immediate enemies.
In fact, Povarsky compares the IDF’s attempts in the past at responding to the Hamas threat, attempts that barely slowed it down. Now, after a new regime has taken over Egypt, Hamas is actually on the run, being attacked directly—with fire power—as well as indirectly, through economic warfare, by the new powers that be in Cairo, who hate and fear them. Their smuggling tunnels are mostly out of commission, their passage into Egypt is greatly curtailed – if things don’t improve soon, the Hamas, too, might be facing their own coup d’état.
In the end, concludes Povarsky, the real guardian of Israel, who truly has the ability to bring down kings and presidents, is not the IDF, with all due respect, but a much higher authority.
“The Guardian of Israel does not rest and does not sleep,” writes Povarsky. “Our nation has many merits: Torah scholars, numerous givers of charity, and simple Jews who lead a good and kosher life, and so, despite the many blemishes within and without, the Merciful has mercy on us, and with His Goodness removes from us the serious threats which used to appear beyond solution, even with a strong IDF.”
“I have no intention of putting down the IDF,” he quickly explains. “We have the duty of hishtadlut – making the effort, alongside which we have no one to count on except our Father in Heaven.”
In that context, Povarsky explains, the IDF is our hishtadlut – not anything beyond that.
And so, in a very clever way, he manages to remind all of us that the value of yeshiva students is easily as high as that of our military, especially when it comes to security issues.