It never ceases to astound me when die-hard Likudniks continue to give Benjamin Netanyahu a pass whenever he deserves criticism. Cynic that I am. when it comes to politicians, I am not naive to think that Lieberman’s recent resignation was anything more than a political stunt. Yet in the aftermath of Bibi’s recent appeasement to Hamas, many of his staunchest supporters blamed Lieberman and called him a failure. How someone sees cause to blame Lieberman in this drama (who reportedly was upset over the weak response to Hamas), while overlooking the Prime Minister’s appeasement is remarkable.
And this is merely the latest blunder in a career replete with failures and disappointment. Netanyahu has a penchant for weakness. Since his first term as PM he was given a mandate to end Oslo. He never has. From his outrageous sin of handing Hebron over to Arafat many years ago, to the accursed Wye Accords, to his history of releasing hundreds of Arab murderers from prison, many who went on to kill again. He still pays homage to the notion of potential concessions for peace. And time and again he has failed to destroy Hamas.
Despite his pompous defense that the people don’t have all the facts, intelligent citizens certainly can recognize appeasement. We saw what happened in Gaza. Israel’s weakling leadership handed Hamas another victory instead of annihilation. A shameful chillul Hashem.
Everyone has a breaking point. How much terror can a populace sustain before they lose their minds? How much frustration over governmental inaction will people tolerate before they take action? What does it take for people to lose their misplaced trust on a faulty leader?
For the true diehard Likudniks who worship the party as a golden calf, it may never be enough. For those who see Likud affiliation as religion, many have little chance of accepting that Netanyahu is a weak leader. Many of those who were nursed on stories of genuine Irgun and lechi heroics, who vote Likud as a matter of faith, project their past hero’s onto contemporary leaders. They see Bibi as something that he is not. They revere him as great statesman, when his authentic legacy is of a man who talks tough when he’s on Fox News or trying to win an election but acts timid when dealing with Arab terror.
In a recent article I noted that the left would eventually seize upon Netanyahu’s histoical weakness on matters of security, and exploit it in the proper political climate. That he would give his political opponents an opportunity to reject the oft mentioned claim (false as it is) that Bibi and the Likud represent Israel’s best options for national defense: “When Netanyahu finally loses power, it will be because the Left will have convinced enough people that the supposed party of security failed to protect the country. It matters little that they will continue with the same impotent response to Arab violence.” .
In the aftermath of his recent capitulation to Hamas, Lapid, Livni, and others boasted that they would do better. All of them are frauds, but when you act tough for years and then behave as they would, you prove to the people of the south that their blood is less red than those in the center of the country. The elitist Likudniks who opine out of the current range of the rockets (though that can change) are loyal to Bibi until their dying day. The blue collar Likudniks, many who inhabit rocket country, can not afford the cost of such ill deserved loyalty.
You can feel the frustration puncturing the air, with rare examples of civilian protest against political appeasement to terror. And when the arrogant misfit Tzachi Henegbi opened his mouth with a glib admission, he merely exposed his chutzpa with candor. It became clear to many that the elites of Israel both left and right do indeed view the south as less important than Tel Aviv. Of course it is so.
Naturally, the government went for damage control, with typical government hasbara tactics. They put out a PSA with IDF soldiers to manipulate the emotions of the sitting ducks of the Negev. Few Jews can get angry with young soldiers informing them how much they care about the southern residents. Despite the propaganda, the soldiers in the videos obviously didn’t film it. They were told what to say and the propagandists filmed it. The govt elite view the south with disdain. So they shifted the focus.
Bibi’s weakness provided a blueprint on how to defeat him. When Likud acts like Labor, and they usually do, even a seasoned politician such as Bibi has no response to a Lapid.
Years ago we saw this when the veneer of the original version of Bibi wore off, and a younger Ehud Barak stepped in with more false promises. When people discover that their beloved PM will not destroy a terror entity intent on murdering and maiming them from sky, a capable demagogue has an opportunity to step into the void and fill the void with another version of it.
The fact remains that they are all clueless career politicians, committed to attaining and retaining power. They are afraid of making difficult decisions, so they mortgage today’s nightmares to future generations. More importantly, they are crippled by the age old policies of “havlaga”-self-restraint and the theoretical commitment to the fantasy of peace. Historically, Bibi is the master of using delaying and stalling tactics. Yet stalling won’t stop the rockets nor will it impede Hamas’s genocidal intent. Hamas was emboldened. They heard what Bibi said and understood what he didn’t say. The same tired standard excuses:
Things are complicated. People don’t have all the facts.
We are not in a position to fight. The casualties of a ground invasion will be catastrophic.
We are unwilling to bomb Gaza and lull civilians.
We don’t want to agitate our supposed allies in Egypt and Jordan.
We need to focus on Iran.
In truth, every one of these flawed excuses is premised on lies, or erroneous points. Certainly most non-politicians don’t have all the facts. But we have eyes and ears and we have enough of the facts to recognize certain things.
No self respecting nation with a powerful army, allows her enemies to fire rockets across their borders.
The inability to fight is self imposed by weak leaders who are destroying the morale of the nation and the army’s ability to fight.
By not liberating the south, we give Iran another front to attack us, since a mutual hatred of Jews can even unite Sunnis and Shiites.As the head of the snake Iran needs to be crushed sooner rather than later. Leaving Hamas intact just leaves us vulnerable on one more front.
So now we have the likelihood of early elections. Political blood in the air, the scent of overreaching ambitions. And in the camp of the would be right, they bite at each other seeking to out-right-wing each other, when they all lack a cogent strategy.
Some see Moshe Feiglin as their hope. Not I. Should we trust Feiglin who sought for so many years to rehabilitate a Likud that never was before choosing to create the same type of tiny irrelevant fringe party he castigated others about? For years they chided others for their impracticality and for sitting on the sidelines. Suddenly, we see a new small party called Zehut headed by Feiglin. How will he respond to others when they point out the irony?
Nor will weak coalitions pieced together by a rag-tag coalition of religious Zionists represent anything ideologically logical, substantial, viable, or consistent, even if they include a token “kahanist” to excite the base. Rabbi Kahane never compromised. He adhered to principles and he would never have joined Likud to change it, nor piece together an ill-stitched coalition which didn’t represent a structured system of Torah identity.
[Text Wrapping Break]There are no easy solutions, only the difficult requirements mandated by Torah. When we study the laws of war, we see an insistence on destroying the enemy and transferring them out of the country. Unfortunately, the absence of Torah leadership today precludes the possibility of strong leadership. Even the best men will fail when they are devoid of a proper Torah framework.
If Menachem Begin (who was a good man) failed to remain consistent with his lifelong principles, what chance does Bibi have. Prime Minister Menachem Begin wasn’t the same man who fought the British with a price tag in his head. And Bibi the politician couldn’t shine Begins shoes on his finest day. In truth he doesn’t even compare with the man who once authored a sensible book on fighting terror. As prime minister he abrogates all the “don’ts” of his book.Perhaps Bibi should read his own book once again. He might learn something from the mind of a shrewd student of history and war.
Better yet let him study Torah and the laws of Jewish warfare and authentic Jewish leadership. Those living in Gaza need to be terrorized. The mighty Judge Samson understood this once upon a time. The Arabs of Gaza and elsewhere need to discover a Jewish warfare that is violent, unpredictable, and terrifying. No restraint. No warnings. No purity of rifles.
The legacy of Irgun and Lechi is dead within Likud. The Likud is left of center on most issues, save a few economic ones. The concept of Barzel (iron) and hadar (Jewish pride) and the legacy of Beitar are purged from a party. Havlaga is as much a part of likud’s worldview as it is for any leftist party.
Our Arab/Muslim enemies must experience the pure unadulterated rage of Shimshon. Let them experience the ultimate revenge for our two Jewish eyes, plucked from our skull time and again by the worst barbarians in history. Motivated by anger and righteous zeal to rectify an endless chillul Hashem, we will earn the promises of the Torah when we topple the pagan temple of Hamas. Above all, Israel needs to abandon the spineless tenet of self restraint which is the real bastard child of the left’s legacy. The success of Peace Now cannot be measured in terms of the numbers of card carrying members but rather in how the policies of appeasement and weakness became mainstream. I must repeat myself yet again. The solution won’t change over time. It will only become more glaring. And ironically when the knife is on our throats, it will seem less extreme. The Torah demands that we transfer the Arabs (and indeed all hostile gentiles who do not meet Torah’s criteria) out of the country. And the same timid types who castigate it as impractical, will say this in twenty years. “We should have done it twenty years ago.” They would tar and feather Kahane were he alive today, yet today they proclaim “Kahane Tzadak! ” Religious minded Jews and rabbis have to ask themselves the following halachic/hashkagic question: Do we truly live in an era where the halachic requirements of “yad yisroel takifa aleyhem״ apply? And if it is so, how can we ignore the Torah commandments of warfare?
The morality of Torah is eternal and the laws of war as set down in halachic writings applies today, despite those new heretical “intellectual” voices who differentiate between laws of Shabbat (those still apply) and laws of warfare (representing as they see it, an outdated code which is immoral by today’s standards). God forbid to subscribe to such heresies.
The laws of warfare and of gentiles residing in the land have not changed. There are certainly debates and disagreements within Torah on the precise nature and precise details of the halacha but the framework is generally agreed upon by the majority of Rishonim and Acharonim. In short, we fall very short of applying the Raavads more lenient shita on the question of gentiles living in Israel. Raavad would be deemed an extremist today. The Sforno’s terminology related to “transfer” would be considered beyond the pale. Again the requirements of these ageless obligations depend on one’s interpretation of the status of Israel. If I am not mistaken, even the Chazon Ish ( not a member of Mizrachi) believed that Jewish sovereignty today met the qualification of Jews having the upper hand.
In any event, Jews need to be bold and brave, and recognize that the merciful Almighty is surely patient with us, but for how long? How long can we publicly flout basic Torah principles on a national level which are designed to ensure that we remain in the land free of spiritual and physical predators. In fact, the promises of the Torah explain the malaise and eroded morale in our times. If we don’t follow Torah, the land has a way of spitting us out. Or afflicting us in countless ways.
On a far more general level, we have other questions to ask: Are we truly living a miracle which binds us to halachic principles (at the very least to actively progress towards such an ideal on a national level), or should we continue to flout Torah by sanctioning the industry of aborting babies and other abominations big and small. Should we allow the endless appeasement of Arab terrorists and reward our spiritual enemies by giving them a foothold in the land in exchange for cash?
In short shall we continue serving our children to Moloch, or shall we burn down the idols? It is a fair and necessary question. I am speaking of a policy of peeking into windows. Yet on a national level, we cannot play the role of “captured babies”, appropriate as it may be to many individual Jews. Too many powerful and prominent Jews know better. And the potential religious influence is very real, provided that religious Jews don’t play politics with Torah.
Torah or terror. That is the choice. Am Yisrael will have to decide. It is always the choice when it comes to Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. Such is the nature of a land whose success is guaranteed by adherence to a Torah society and whose challenges and failures are assured by the absence of it. In Israel it will either rain or it will not. Or it will rain without cessation and drown us.
The status quo is unacceptable and it promises a further eroding of society. People and nations are not like wine. We don’t necessarily age well. The answer is Torah, and Torah alone.
The Maccabees understood this well and they fought against spiritual destruction. Where are the Maccabees today? We need to ask these painful questions. And in the absence of such people, perhaps we must turn the mirror upon ourselves and make critical decisions. Each and every one of us within the reach of our arms.