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Editor’s note: No gadol from yesteryear spoke as often and as passionately about Israeli political affairs as the late Lubavitcher Rebbe. With Israelis heading to the voting booths next week, we thought it timely to publish excerpts from the recently-published “Security for the Land of Israel,” comprising quotes from the Rebbe’s public addresses and private audiences on Israeli security. Please note that the quotes from the private audiences are generally based on personal recollections.

 

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“It will be our greatest insanity if we were to retreat from the new borders. It will expose the lack of trust in the government of Israel, lack of faith in our own strength, and will only invite external pressure upon us.

“It is imperative to stop trying to find favor in the eyes of the gentile nations. This has never helped in the past nor will it help in the future. The indecisiveness of Israel must stop. It is obligatory to uproot the mentality of exile from the Land of Israel.”

(meeting with Ariel Sharon)

* * * * *

“The choice is not ‘of achieving peace by giving away land,’ but ‘of getting a bit of paper for giving away land.’”

(1980)

* * * * *

“The Talmud states that when there was a need to annul a decree, the Rashbi himself journeyed to Rome to make the effort to bring about its annulment. The Rashbi knew that Jewish people rely on G-d. Nevertheless, he knew that it is the intention of G-d that we precede with natural means. However, should this not help, the Rashbi was prepared to unleash powers above the natural.

“The Talmud relates that when the Emperor of Rome refused to annul the decree, the Rashbi brought down an angel. When this also did not help, he went so far as to bring down a demon.

“In the first instance, it is the desire of G-d that we operate in a natural way. If this does not help, other avenues are available.”

(1974)

* * * * *

“The Bible recounts the Seven-Day War that took place in the time of Ahab, king of Israel. Hadad, king of Aram, went out to war against Israel and was so soundly defeated that he thought he would never recover. In spite of this, Ahab ran after him begging him to sign a peace treaty.

“The king of Aram, who hated Ahab with a deadly passion, thought that Ahab hated him to the same degree and could not understand why Ahab wanted to strike a peace treaty with him. His advisers explained to him that the Jewish people are a merciful and compassionate nation….

“Indeed, after considerable persuasion, Hadad agreed and sent emissaries to Ahab and the peace treaty was signed. From this agreement, immeasurable pain was suffered by the Jewish nation….

“Torah narratives are not just stories; they stand as halachic directives with real practical guidance. Two years ago, there took place a similar occurrence at the time of the Six-Day War. The IDF smote the Arabs a resounding defeat, sending them fleeing in fear. Yet, regardless, Israel ran after the Arabs literally begging them: come, sit with us around the table, let’s make peace.

“It is now two whole years that they are running after the Arabs begging them to agree to sit together and make peace! In return, Israel promises all the land that they could possibly wish for.

“Yet, the Arabs are reluctant to meet with the Jews…the Arabs have nothing to lose and only to gain. Regardless, they will not agree….

“This strange situation has only one possible explanation: …it is the hand of G-d as at the time of the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt when ‘G-d hardened the heart of Pharaoh.’ There is absolutely no reason for their reluctance to sit together with the Jews having nothing to lose. It is G-d alone who is hardening their hearts.”

(1969)

* * * * *

“In order to sweeten the pot, they have presented the recommendation to the president of Egypt that Jerusalem will belong to the Christians, Muslims and Jews.

“Even according to those who consider that this is the way to make peace, this textual order is unfathomable: ‘Christians, Muslims and Jews.’ Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish People not only from a halachic perspective. Historic documents prove without contradiction that King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One thousand years later saw the arrival of Christians and Arabs.

“Why in the text of the compromise did they end with the word ‘Jews’?  Where is the limit to the debasement of Jewish pride?”

(1970)

* * * * *

“When Jewish lives are endangered, one does not ask the opinion of others.”

(1978)

* * * * *

“There are Jews who have an inferiority complex before the nations; they tremble before them and are even dependent on them. This dependence leads to their desire to surrender secure borders and oil wells! They refer to this as a ‘religious achievement’ and even the beginning of the Redemption.

“Jewish people have been in exile for 1,900 years. Was this entire exile in order that we arrive at this situation that we are in now?

“Never has there been such a debased situation whereby the Jewish people are so dependent on the nations as today. This situation was not brought upon us by the nations but by Jewish people themselves. Jewish people have decided that they must tremble before the nations.

“Never before have Jews turned themselves into Canaanite slaves! Since the religious Knesset representative is ashamed to say outright that he is a Canaanite slave, he calls this a religious accomplishment!

“The situation has reached such a low that they have agreed to surrender to the Arabs any piece of land that they will demand with the sole stipulation that they will draw this out for an extended time in order to show outwardly that they are taking a strong stand of resistance. If they were doing this in the name of Karl Marx, it would be well understood, but why are they doing this in the name of Torah?”

(1976)

* * * * *

“The second form of negotiation with a gentile…is that the Jew says that our entitlement stems from a certain gentile from London [Balfour] who said that the Jewish People need a homeland.

“When the gentile hears this, he comes to the conclusion that this Jew has no basis of entitlement from Jewish sources and that is why he reverts to claiming his rights from a gentile. The gentile’s response is: True, a gentile did state the need of a Jewish homeland; however, now, 140 gentiles disagree. Who is to say that one solitary gentile [Balfour] holds the determining view?…

“All the tribulations that we are living through now are because Jewish people built their case based on that declaration written by a gentile in London! Do Jewish people regard that gentile as master over who should receive ‘the Land upon which the eyes of G-d gaze from the beginning of the year to the end of the year?’”

(1976)

* * * * *

“Have you ever seen something like this before? Two countries are making peace between themselves. One side gives everything whilst the other side gives nothing in return. The only gain is that one will be able to travel to see the pyramids!? Have you ever seen such a great achievement in your life?”

(meeting with Rav Ephraim Eliezer Yolles, early 1980s)

* * * * *

“You are going to the house of lies, and when you are there, remember that even when you are in the darkest place, it is your job to ignite the flame of truth.”

(meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, 1984)

* * * * *

“In order, not to cause, G-d forbid, international pressure, it is imperative not to conduct ourselves in a strange manner by inhabiting no more than some locations because we will thereby be taking into account the arguments of those protesters!

“There is absolutely no sense or logic to make a distinction between settling some locations as opposed to the entire border and all of the territories because the same international fury and preoccupation with Israel would exist either way to the same degree!”

(1977)

* * * * *

“The government of Israel has created with its very own hands the demographic problem by not expelling the Arabs who were at war with us during the Six-Day War and by leaving the Arabs in their locations. So, let the government not come now and wave a demographic problem to explain away why they say we need to withdraw from the territories and not annex them to the State of Israel.

“Indeed, I do admit that a large Arab population dwelling in the state can create a great problem, but what is the better alternative? Is it better that this area be an independent Palestinian state or a Jordanian state in which there are one and a half million Arabs within firing distance and creating war against every Jewish town and village in the Land?”

(meeting with Shmuel Katz, 1978)

* * * * *

“How did Mordechai reach his high station…? By his conduct of not lowering himself or bowing down…. King Achashverosh saw Mordechai as a man who could be trusted, in whose hands he could place the affairs of the Kingdom, a man of truth standing by his values regardless of adverse circumstance, fearful of no one but G-d.

“When, however, a gentile perceives that a Jew is running after him, the gentile loses all respect for him saying: ‘since this Jew has cheated on his own personal Jewishness, he will also cheat on me….’”

(1969)

* * * * *

“The hope is that the same miracle will take place as it did previously after the Six-Day War when the Arabs refused to take the lands offered to them…. May it be the will of G-d that in our days also the very same miracle will repeat itself.”

(1971)

* * * * *

“The Land of Israel has been gifted to us by Hashem in our generation with open miracles. There is no doubt whatsoever that we are forbidden to touch it. No one has the right to touch it because it is ours as an everlasting inheritance! The Land of Israel belongs to every single Jew throughout the world, to every Jew of all previous generations, as well as to our children and grandchildren, given to us by G-d….

“There are those, Heaven forbid, who want to give away parts of the Land of Israel. These lands, still today, belong to Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov, to the 12 tribes, to the 70 souls that went down into the Egyptian exile, to the 600,000 Jewish people, and to the generation which entered the land conquered by Yehoshua bin Nun. Not one single person is the owner to give away even one small piece of land, even half a piece, even one iota, because it is not his to relinquish!

“This is war against the G-d of the world, the G-d of hosts. Relinquishing the ‘Land to which the eyes of G-d gaze’ – which they want to give away to gentiles, Heaven forbid! He is waging war not only with G-d’s Torah; he is waging war against the true owner of the Land of Israel, against G-d Himself, the G-d of Hosts!!”

(1982)

* * * * *

“The legal ruling in Shulchan Aruch 329:6 states: ‘even gentiles who argue that they are approaching merely for stubble and straw, it is forbidden to open the borders to them because the entire land will thereby be at risk.’”

(1979)

* * * * *

“It has to be clearly understood that when the issue at hand is a life endangering situation of hundreds of Jewish people, each one being an entire world, Torah stipulates that one must follow the instructions of experts in the field; in the instance of which we are referring to officers of the military who carry the responsibility of lives which are threatened.”

(1977)

* * * * *

“The first line of action taken was that ‘Abraham bowed down before the citizens, the descendants of Heth.’ The Midrash recounts that this was not the correct approach. The purpose of the Midrash is certainly not to recount the failings off our forefather Abraham; rather the purpose of the story is that we gain instruction, namely – that it is forbidden to conduct ourselves in this manner!”

(1969)

* * * * *

“Of late I have heard a strange and shocking rumor regarding the negotiations and decisions of the government in Eretz Yisrael about conceding portions of land in Eretz Ysrael….

“Merely talking about this issue constitutes a denial of G-d, His Torah, and of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael.”

(meeting with Moshe Katzav, 1992)

* * * * *

“Recently I received a letter from a Jew in New York…he came to the conclusion it is forbidden to retract [from agreements to relinquish portions of our Land]. What do you mean they signed a contract? The property they signed for did not belong to them! This property is the inheritance of the entire Nation of the Jewish People….

“Are you master to dispose of property and estates belonging to tens of previous generations and generations after you till the end of all generations?!”

(1980)

* * * * *

“If today the heads of government are unsure of their ability to withstand the nations – if they are fearful and weak – it is better that they leave the task of leadership to others.

“The Torah metes out neither punishment nor lashes to one who is weak-hearted. Rather the Torah states, ‘Who is the man who is fearful and of weak heart, let him go and return to his house, and not melt the hearts of his brothers.’”

(from a meeting with newspaper reporter Yona Cohen, 1970)

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