Those of you who have been following my columns will recall that, time and again, I have pointed out that one can always find a correlation between the parsha and events that unfold before our very eyes. And this past week, Abu Mazen’s visit to the White House was no exception. Parshas Ma’asei reminds us that the land of Israel is our Goral - our G-d given destiny (Bamidbar 33:54, 34:13). The land was not simply acquired on the battlefield, but was given to us by the Almighty G-d Himself as an eternal inheritance. So President Bush may push his Road Map, the European Union may spout its anti-Semitic venom, Abu Mazen may make his belligerent demands, and Sharon may cave in, but Eretz Yisrael will forever remain ours – for in the end, it is G-d’s “Road Map” that will triumph, and this quartet-sponsored road map will go by the way of all previous “peace plans”. The only painful question is how much Jewish blood will have to be spilled in the process.
There is something odious about the Road Map – it is rotten from its source. Stop and consider for a moment – who are its authors’ Russia, who throughout Israel’s existence has supplied Israel’s enemies with the most lethal weapons? Russia, who has a long history of pogroms and persecution of Jews? The UN, which from its very inception has shown its bias against Israel and sought every opportunity to condemn her? The UN, which to this very moment in time denies Israel the right to a seat on the Security Council - a privilege granted to all other nations? The members of the European Union whose virulent anti-Semitism made the Holocaust possible? It is unconscionable that Israel, a sovereign, independent state, should be pressured to accept policies affecting her very survival from these nations.
To be sure, there is also the U.S., the fourth member of the quartet. Yes, the United States has traditionally been a friend of Israel, but politics make strange bedfellows, and it is obvious that our President is trying to curry favor with the Arabs who feel violated by the Iraqi war. Furthermore, he has to pay his dues to Tony Blair, who made support for the Road Map one of the conditions for British participation in the invasion of Iraq. Based on these facts alone, the Road Map should be rejected out of hand by Israel. Prime Minister Sharon should remind President Bush (whose belief in the Bible is no secret), that even the best of plans, when they emanate from a malevolent source, are unacceptable. Such was the case with Laban. G-d warned him: “Stay away, do not speak with Jacob good or bad” (Genesis 31:24). The teaching is clear – if a plan comes from an evil source, then even when it appears to be good, it is bad. Hence the saying of our sages, “Not your sting nor your honey.”
But all this does not absolve us from remaining alert and assuming our responsibilities as Jews. Since our Israeli government leaders lack faith, vision and Torah, it is we who must storm the heavens with our prayers and teshuva, and it is we who must cry out in protest at the blatant injustice and hypocrisy of which the United States and the nations of the world are guilty.
Consider the hypocrisy of the President of the United States in sending troops to combat terrorism in remote parts of the globe, but when Israel attempts to defend herself from the cold-blooded murderers who are within her borders, who have launched over 18,000 attacks against her since the year 2,000, the White House clamps down and expects her to turn the other cheek. Consider the hypocrisy of our American Administration which has adamantly refused to release the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, while at the same time demanding that Israel release terrorists who have cold-bloodedly murdered Israeli men, women and children. Are they to once again flood the streets of Israel, free to maim and kill? Does Washington really believe that these programmed-to-kill terrorists have become boy scouts during their incarceration?
Consider America’s INS policy which heavily screens new arrivals to insure that no one of questionable background be admitted, and consider the hypocrisy which demands that Israel allow terrorists to roam freely in her midst and refrain from even erecting a protective fence.
But what is most outrageous are not the demands and the hypocritical policies of the non-Jewish world (after all, there is nothing new about that), but that which emanates from Israel itself. One cannot help but wonder what there is in the psyches of Israeli government leaders that compels them to compromise the security of the land as soon as they take office. It was one thing when it was Peres or Barak who betrayed us, but Arik Sharon - the Lion himself? Who would ever have believed that he would cave in and refer to Yehuda and Shomron as “occupied land?”
Tom DeLay, the Republican House Majority Leader, expressed it best when he said, “You could have knocked me over when I heard Sharon declare that the time had come to divide the land of Israel with the Palestinians.”
Tom DeLay’s words bring to mind King Solomon’s parable of the two mothers who each claimed to be the parent of the same infant. Solomon applied a simple test to determine the truth. The woman who refused to allow the child to be cut in two was the real mother.
We can all echo Tom DeLay’s shock, How can Sharon allow Eretz Yisrael to be cut…to be divided?
It defies the imagination that we, who are a wise nation, should fall into the same folly time and again. Was it only yesterday that, through Israel’s influence, Washington rolled out the welcome mat for Arafat, the terrorist murderer? It was the Rabin-Peres government that enabled him to exchange his terrorist garb for that of a head of state. It was that same government that supplied him with weapons for his so-called police force - weapons that were quickly turned against us. Was it only yesterday that Arafat and Rabin embraced, sharing the Nobel Peace Prize? How long did that peace initiative last? Where did it lead us? How can we be so foolish as to once again fall into the same trap and open the door for Abu Mazen by endorsing a sovereign state for terrorists in our midst.
Has anyone stopped to consider who this Abu Mazen is? Does anyone care to remember that he was Arafat’s right hand man? That he financed many terrorist operations, including the Munich Massacre? This same Abu Mazen has been quoted as saying that the Holy Temple and the Holocaust are myths. And just recently, he proclaimed that he has no plans to disarm Hamas or Islamic Jihad, for if the cease-fire is working, he asked, “Why should I fight my brothers?”
As for the cease-fire? That’s another joke. Haven’t we yet learned that the Arabs are always willing to accept a cease-fire when it is to their advantage to do so? They make no bones about their agenda which is “salami tactics” - call for a cease-fire, collect some slices of land, and when you’ve extracted all you can, attack again and keep up the pattern until the entire salami becomes yours.
Even as I write these lines, Israel intelligence reports that Hamas is taking good advantage of the three-month cease-fire. Israeli patrols have come to a halt, so it’s a perfect time to produce rockets by the hundreds.
What then is the solution? What should Israel and Sharon do?
The answer is simple – and precisely because it is so simple, it continues to elude us. It is written in the Book of Psalms: “If only My people would heed Me, if Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant, I would subdue their foes and against their tormentors turn My hand”
That could be our “Road Map,” if only we had faith and feared G-d as much as we fear man.