Monday, August 28, 2006

Arabs II

Here's the problem. The Arabs did occupy the land prior to '48 and it was taken away from them against their will. That’s a problem, and the Torah leaders were against it. However, the fact is that currently there are about 5 millions Jews living in Eretz Yisroel surrounded by bloodthirsty Arabs, and, even though the Arabs were made bloodthirsty because their land was taken from them, it would be disastrous to give the Arabs any land if doing so would result in the deaths of the Jews currently residing in Eretz Yisroel.

Will giving the Arabs land appease them or undermine the safety of the Jewish residents of Eretz Yisroel? And if so, how much land? Who knows? There are opinions either way. Rav Shach ZTL writes that he himself is not certain, but he is certain that if giving up land will result in peace, that is definitely the way to go.

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How is going to war going to stop the bombings, as opposed to just generating more? You'll also have to explain how you can "win" such a war, in which your opponents are dispersed within the civilian population, including women and children.

Trying to use leverage - or war - to squash your opponent into submission only works if you have a way to stop him from doing what he is doing. If not, then the question "should I let..." is an error, since it is based on a false assumption, the same as the question "Do you still beat your wife?"

People are terrified of not being in control, of being helpless. So even when they are helpless and not in control, their instincts tempt them to lash out at the problem even if by doing so they will just make the problem worse. Because even though the problem itself will not get better, their feeling of helplessness is relieved by them doing something, thereby making them feel as if they are in control.

For example, if someone's traveling 60 MPH on the highway and suddenly hits a patch of ice and starts skidding, his instincts tell him to slam on the brakes, but doing so will just make it worse. The reason for the desire to do so, however, if the sudden grip of fear and helplessness that engulfs the driver as the car skids, and his first, gut reaction is to alleviate that feeling of fear and out-of-controllness by slamming on the brakes.

But the feeling of helplessness is not what his attention should be focused on - that will not kill him, though it is terribly uncomfortable. The problem itself needs to be addressed.

So when a parent finds himself helpless and not in control, they reflexively "slam on the brakes" - tighten the screws on the kid - because they are using their feeling of helplessness as the gauge to determine how helpless they really are, which is a mistake. Their psyches are attacking the feeling rather than the issue.

They feel better by talking as if they have the ability to "not let" their kid do what they are doing. It takes away the terror of their being helpless and not in control. but it just backfires, since it addresses the feeling not the cause of the helplessness.

The same thing is happening here. People feel helpless because of the suicide bombers ys"v. It’s a terrible, terrifying feeling to not be safe in your own back yard, for your life to be subject to the whims of a vicious and merciless enemy.

And of course that’s understandable. But there comes with that feeling a temptation to act to alleviate the feeling, even if such action will just make the problem itself worse. Its natural.

So people want to strike back and "kill kill kill" because they refuse to feel helpless and imprisoned in their own land.

But even though war will make people feel like they are not helpless and they are in control, it will not stop the cycle of violence. Israel has had one war every 10 years, on the average, since its existence - and they have one every one of them - but it has not helped stop the violence.
There is no way to stop what's going on through war. You can’t kill all the Arabs in the Middle East. The solution, if there is one, has to lie somewhere else.

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You obviously can't just give back the Medinah to the Arabs because they have been, and continue to be whipped into a blood thirsty, anti-semitic frenzy by the Zionists, and thus doing so would cause a bloodbath r"l - but, as the Satmar Rav wrote, if the Zionists would not be interested in Zionism but rather simply in saving Jews we could start now to implement a plan of peace-making that would eventually culminate in the slow dismantling of the State of Israel under international peace keeping efforts. Of course, best case scenario this theoretical solution will take a generation to implement, which would include a major educational enlightenment both in Israel and the Arab world, since both sides are blind with hate and demonetization of the other side. But of course, this is also not going to happen because the Zionists are in fact Zionists who value the State of Israel and not the blood of Jews. This was the exact situation that Rav Yochanan ben Zakai was in when he said to Aspasyanus that he would gladly make peace and give him whatever he wants, but the Baryonim will not allow it. The Baryonim will kill anyone who tries to make peace with the Romans, he said. So, too, the Zionists will not allow Jews to make peace with the Arabs, and have in fact murdered those such as Dr. Dahan, who was sent by Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenefeld ZTL to try to make peace with the Arabs.

So if you want to talk about the reality, here it is: The Baryonim are in power, they continue to fan the flames of anti-semitism both in the Arab world and everywhere else; and now, one of the Bayonim ask me: Now that we the Baryonim are in power and will not allow any peace between us and the Arabs, and we will continue to create more and more enemies for Jews and continue to irresponsibly instigate the nations of the world against us, why don't you deal with that reality and help support the arsonists who burn down Klall Yisroel? Don't we share the same fate?"

The reality is that unless something unexpectedly changes in the reality landscape - and miracles do happen, Hashem yaazor - we are past the point that peace can be made. As Rav Yochanan ben Zakai said - we can no longer make peace so long as the Baryonim are in power, but perhaps we can do hatzalah purtah - save something, even if the churban is going to happen.

So, too, hatzalah purtah in our situation is doable. First, we should not under and circumstances, defy the world powers. We need their support in order to survive - that means Israel and Jews in general - and so the Torah tells us hisgarus b'umos will only backfire. That means everything from not defying American orders to Israel to not publicly booing off the stage Israel's best friend in the American government - Paul Wolfowitz - because he said that there are tragic deaths taking place both in Israel and by the Arabs as well. Such Jewish defiance - the defiance of the sheep spitting the face of 70 wolves - is suicidal. Israel, like a scrawny little weakling confronted by a gang of muggers on a street corner, should do whatever he needs to do to elicit the assistance of a big brother. In any case, he should not run around screaming racial slurs in Harlem where he lives. Jews have to keep a low profile in Golus. The lower the better. Both history and the Torah teach us that. The more we are in the headlines the more we are in danger.

Second: We should do whatever we can to eliminate and disable the militant movements among the Jews who put us in danger. Rav Elchonon Wasserman paskened that they are rodfim - people who put Jewish lives in danger, and so must be emasculated at all costs. People who flex their muscles in the name of Jews and Judaism to the Arabs, all but challenging them to come kill more Jews, are murderers, and Jewish blood is on their hands.

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Nobody is telling Arafat kol hakavod for killing. That is simply slander. When they protest along with the Arabs it is wrong, but they are not promoting the killing of anyone - on the contrary - they are telling the Arabs that they want all the killing to stop, and that they would gladly give back the entire country for peace, which is the same thing that Rav Yochanan ben Zakai told Aspasyanus. (The problem is, giving back the land will not make peace!). And the Arabs are fully aware that this is their position. Many Arabs have stopped hating Jews because of this, and one suicide-bomber wannabe even decided, because of them, not to go through with her mission. The hostages in Iran were given miraculously lenient sentences largely because of the efforts of these people explaining to the Iranian authorities that the hostages are not Zionists and therefore not the enemy.

The Zionists did indeed generate the lethal animosity of the Arabs, the way the Baryonim did with the Romans - and they are trying to undo that. Unfortunately, the situation is not the same as it was then - the Zionists have created a much bigger danger than the Baryonim ever did, since they succeeded in convincing the world that "the Jews" want to own Eretz Yisroel, which even the Baryonim could not do with the Romans. It is ironic that the Neurei Karta's error is that they underestimate the evil that the Zionists have accomplished.

The reality is, the existence of those Jews meeting with Arafat are covered in just about every Arab newspaper, magazine, and website - and across the board, they interpret those Jews to be interested in peace, against all killings, including and especially that of Jews, but against the Jewish control of the land. Popular opinion is what the Baryonim surely said about Rav Yochanan ben Zakai sneaking out of the city against the "army's" orders and greeting the enemy, even calling their general "King". The Baryonim even tried to kill RYB"Z rather than let him do this because it went against their policy of not giving back Jerusalem.

So too, by the way, did the Zionists murder Dr. Dehan when Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld sent him on a peace mission to the Arabs to explain to them that the Jews are NOT interested in taking the land from the Arabs, and that we do not support the acts of the Zionists.

The reality is that the Arabs want to kill the Jews for the same reason that the Indians wanted to kill the settlers - they took their land, plain and simple. And just as it didn’t matter that England wanted a "Jewish home" in Palestine, it also didn’t matter that England wanted colonies in America. We were warned by our Gedolim in pre-Israel times that if the Zionists do indeed take the land, it will be more of a deathtrap r"l than a safe haven.

G-d told us not to do it; our Tzadikim warned us to listen to G-d. Let us be grateful to Hashem that He has not punished us the way He has punished the Bnei Efraim for violating the same sin. Let's be grateful to Him for the "miracles" that He sends to save Jewish lives, despite His warning that if we make a Jewish State, He will "allow us to be hunted down like game in the field". We should thank Hashem for being ma'arich ahf - and at the very least, show Him, in gratitude for the "miracles" that He has shown us, that we do not support that which G-d opposes or those who oppose Him.

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The Arabs are not all bad people. (Of course, I am referring to bad beyond the existentially required imperfections of living without Torah, and the Halachah of Esav soneh etc. which applies not only to Arabs) But they have been -and are being poisoned - by both the teachings of their Palestinian leaders which say that Jews are intrinsically evil, as well as the inflammatory rhetoric of the many misguided Jews, which says that Jews believe that Arabs are intrinsically evil, and the misguided Zionists who say that they have some kind of G-d given right to make the land into a Jewish State whether the Arabs living there like it or not.

It is difficult to outsmart your upbringing. In America we believe that the English were evil in 1776; in England they believe that the colonists were low and grubby ingrate insurgents. In Israel they believe all Arabs are evil; in Palestine they believe all Jews are evil.

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Not all Arabs hate Jews. So many do, and it is not because of their religion. If it were, the religious ones (Muslims) would hate Jews more than the non-religious Arabs, but it's not so. Arafat isn’t even religious! That's right, he is not a practicing Muslim. Not in the slightest. He is even married to a Christian! The whole thing is political. The Arabs are hateful because their land was taken from them, the way the Indians were hateful to white people. The only problem is, those who are responsible for taking the land and making a State falsely told the world - and the Arabs - that they represent Jews and Judaism. Even though Judaism is a religion, not a political party, and the religious Jews did NOT want to take the land and make a Jewish State (except for the Mizrachi) and those that did want the State were not practicing Jews at all, and even anti-Judaism, for political and financial reasons, they went around presenting themselves as the representatives of Jewry.

They still do this. When Sharon gets indicted for war crimes in Lebanon, he says "This is an attack on all Jews!". Ah, no, Ariel, it's not. It's an attack on YOU. I have nothing to do with what you did in Lebanon, and neither does anyone else.

It's a Zionist trick to say all attacks on their policies and actions constitute anti-semitism.

The world gets sick of this, and hates Jews more when this happens. Nobody can say boo about Israel doing something wrong because then you’re an anti-semite. The world hates this, and hates Jews more because of it.

So the Arabs - like many nations in the world - falsely believe that all Jews and Judaism are responsible for the fact that their land was taken. So they hate Jews.

Of course, this does not justify terrorism and killing innocent people. But this is the reason behind the hate.

Before the Zionists came to Israel, the Arabs and Jews got along together relatively well. In fact, we were better off living with the Arabs than we were living in Europe. The Arabs treated us much better than the Christians, until the Zionists came along.

What we can do is two things: One physical, and one spiritual. The practical advice comes from the Satmar Rav ZTL (Divrei Yoel, Naso) and the spiritual from Rav Shach ZTL (Michtavim Umaamarim, vol. I sec. 1).

Physical: We should let the world know that we do not support any actions that are against the Torah, including the actions of the Zionists. We should try as hard as we can to dismantle the propaganda that Jews are responsible for what happened in the middle east. World Jewry and Judaism are not responsible for what the Zionists do and have done, they are not responsible for the acts behaviors and polices of the State of Israel, and the State of Israel does NOT represent Jewry or Judaism.

It's like when a Jew is lets say convicted of embezzling millions of dollars. And he says "I represent all Jews in the world. An attack on me is an attack on Jewry and Judaism. Never again!" And as a result, the world hates Jews.

What would we do? We would say Hello, we have nothing to do with this guy. Judaism does NOT condone stealing and we are not responsible for what this guy did, we preach not to steal and we can’t help it if we have people who disobey the Torah.

And if a murderer would say he represents Judaism, we would say we have nothing to do with this.

And so since the taking of the land and creating a Jewish State was, too, against the Torah, and it is that which caused all this danger for Jews (Even the Zionists admit that it was the creation of Israel that made the Arabs into enemies - see Five Addresses, Rav Soloveichik, p.79), therefore we should say that Jews are not responsible for the Arab problems, and we are not responsible for the occupation of the territories, we are not responsible for anything but our own actions, leave us alone, we didn’t start this fire. Your fight is political - Zionist Nationalists vs. Arab Nationalists, not religious. Jews are not part of this. We are concerned about the lives of our brethren, the Jews, NOT the political or nationalistic success or failure of any State or government that we were against to begin with.

There are Arabs, even, who know this. Many of them have been preaching lately that their fight is not with Jews or Judaism, it is a political/nationalistic fight with Zionist aspirations, not Jewish ones. And that Jews are not the enemy.

We would think that when Arabs talk like this we would be happy - there were Germans that spoke like this and saved Jews - we all know of some family or another who was hidden in the attic of some German who believed that Jews aren't evil - but the Zionists won't let the Arabs let Jews off the hook.

In the Jewish Press a while ago, a professor Howard Edelson wrote about some Palestinian woman who wrote an article in a college magazine saying that Judaism is not Zionism, that Zionism is the enemy not Judaism, etc.

Well Professor Edelson wouldn't have a Palestinian saying that Jews are not the enemy, so he made sure to explain (to who? the Palestinian readers of the JP?) that Judaism indeed is the culprit here and that Jews have a G-d-given "right" to Eretz Yisroel (even in Golus), and that they have a moral and legal right to determine everything pertaining to Eretz Yisroel, and that, basically, Jews are the bosses, and nobody else has a say in the matter.

This kind of Hisgaros B'Umos, and flaming the fires of anti-semitism puts Jews all over in danger. We need to counter this. We don’t have to take responsibility for a war that we didn’t start, and policies that we don’t have, and people who do not follow our behaviors.

And any Arabs that say Jews are not bad should not be discouraged. Every German family that saved a Jew in the holocaust allowed a whole new generation to survive. Whoever saves even one Jew is as if he saved an entire world. Pushing Jews into the line of fire like that professor did is something that we cannot tolerate. The lives of our brothers is our most important concern.

The spiritual advice:

We must eradicate from ourselves many idolatrous attitudes. The main one is Kochi V'Otzem Yadi - the idea that we are physically strong. The truth is, Jews in Golus are weak. Hashem caused the Yom Kippur War "without a doubt" in order to rid us of the idea that Israel is strong. The Arabs did stupid things and lost the war, but Israel was on the verge of being defeated, Israel was weaker than the Arabs - but Hashem made the Arabs slip up, due to no credit on Israel's part. Israel just got lucky. Hashem did this to show that Israel isn’t strong - the "idea that Tzahal is an undefeated army has been shattered to bits".

We need to disabuse ourselves of the idea that Israel can defend itself. Only Hashem protects us - not soldiers, not anyone. And to "flex our muscles" at the nations just creates anti-semitism and endangers Jews. We must be subservient to the nations in Golus, not annoy them, and accept whatever troubles the Golus and the nations unfortunately meet upon us; physical resistance only backfires. We must oppose any idea that defies the Nations of the world, even if we Jews are right. We must not do anything to cause anti-semitism in the world, even in the form of raised oil prices because of the Jews, for such things fan the flames of hate. "The State of Israel is not the people of Yisroel - and even if something may be in the best interests of the State of Israel, it may not be in the best interests of the people of Yisroel." For instance, if Israel defies America’s commands, they are putting the Jews of America in danger. We are not a self-ruling nation in Golus that we can say "America says this, we will say differently". We are in Golus, America is not. We must not defy or fight the nations of the world, for that creates anti-semitism and puts all of Klall Yisroel in danger.

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