OUR CHALLENGE - 1974
Rabbi Meir Kahane
“The Chosen Land” (Excerpts)
We are inundated with all kinds of illusions and delusions. Let us return this land or that land and we will have blessed peace. Let us not dare to settle Jews in Eretz Yisroel lest it anger the Arabs and jeopardize blessed peace. Let us make partial and semi-partial and total and semi-total agreements that call for compromise and we shall have blessed peace. Let us not move Arabs form the borders and settle Jews there; let us not dare to bomb terrorists lest we hit innocent civilians; let us be “better than they are” – and thus gain blessed peace. Let us recognize the existence of a “Palestine people” despite the refusal of every other Arab country to do so, at a time when they might at last have set up a partial “Palestine” state after 1947. Let us negotiate with our friends the mayors of Gaza and Shehem and Hebron, for they are the solution to the problem of peace. Let us, perhaps, even consider a binational state for the sake of blessed peace. Let us realize that we can reach peace and brotherhood with the Arabs by political concessions and compromises.
It is time for the Jew in Israel to throw away those negative attitudes that he retains from the Galut, the Exile. Chief among these is an unwillingness to look at bitter reality. We may not enjoy hearing it, but the truth is that for many years at least there will not be a sincere de jure peace with the Arabs. It may affect the tender souls of the more spiritually intellectual among us, but one can never attain either peace or security by “compromise” with bitter enemies who have no intentions of compromising with you. Those in Judea, Samaria and Gaza who do sit down with you because they have no choice, do so only in the hope of getting rid of you as soon as possible. Our enemy, in the long run, is weariness. It is against this enemy that we must struggle. We must gird ourselves with tenacity and determination never to tire of what appears to be a never-ending struggle. For that is what it may very well become: “a struggle for Jewish existence and a Jewish state that will never cease to be a struggle; a realization that between us and the Arabs stand a massive barrier that may never be breached; a determination by two peoples to live in a land that at least one will never compromise on. There will grow the weariness of having to send our children to the army without stop. There will grow the weariness of having to leave each year for reserve duty. There will grow the weariness of terrorist attacks on the borders or at the Lod airport or at the Tel Aviv bus terminal. There will, perhaps, again grow the weariness – and the heartbreak – of victims of a new war of attrition. There will grow the weariness of all this, rising to a crescendo with the frustrating cry. “When will it finally end?”
Only the weak succumb to such frustrations; only the weak surrender to time. A strong and tenacious people know that there may never be an end to the struggle and the sacrifice. But they also look about them and see what their refusal to surrender has accomplished: a state, and today a big one, in much of our Eretz Yisroel; a Jewish state with nearly three million souls and many more to come; the creation of a new and proud Jew. None of these things would have come about had we listened to the intellectual precursors of our modern-day intellectuals and doves. In the name of “peace” there would be no Jewish state; in the name of “morality” there would be no free Jewish nation.
If we hope to survive in the literal sense of the world, let us not succumb to the siren call of easy answers and the tempting promise of “peace.” Above all, let us, please, have no illusions. The Arabs intend to wipe us out; we must be strong enough to stop them. The Arabs who live with us in Eretz Yisroel, both those who have done so for twenty-five years and those for just five, do not love us and never will – and one cannot blame them. Let us not play games with them or with ourselves. We give them civil rights and political freedom, but what Jew will ever agree that they should become a majority? What Jew will ever agree to allow Arabs to come in on the same terms as Jews do today under the Law of Return? Israel was formed as a Jewish state. Arabs may have social, economic, and much political equality but, in the end, it is not their state. For the individual Arab we offer much, but for the Arab nation, Israel offers nothing. It is not an Arab state, it is a Jewish state. It came into being because Jews knew that for them there was no hope in a world that thirsted for their bodies and souls. It came into being under the realization that neither king nor republican nor Marxist had the solution to the Jewish problem. That in the end it was the words of the rabbis that proved to be eternally true: “It is a law, it is known that Esau hates Jacob.”
And so, Eretz Yisrael, the land of the Jewish people, exists. It can never be anything but that and both we and the Arabs know it. Such a fact allows for few illusions over peace. Perhaps peace will come some day; I, for one, doubt it. Until it does, let us not listen to the delusions that float down to us daily from the ivory tower or from the self-hating Left. Strength and tenacity – they and they alone assure Jewish survival.
A second dangerous illusion that must be dispelled is the one that states: “the policy of the government of Israel not to officially declare Jewish sovereignty over the liberated lands, but nevertheless to hold on to them with a vague promise of readiness to return parts, has proved to be a great success.”
This liberal attitude of Israel manifests itself on the one hand by Jewish refusal to allow Jews to settle in any of the West Bank cities, to settle major areas of the region, or to pray without limitation in the second holiest of Jewish shrines, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. On the other hand, this policy allows Arabs to cross from Jordan and into Jordan, invest money in the lands to raise the economy and lets Arab laborers and tourists visit Israel almost without restriction, collaborates even with Arab leaders whose activities during massacres of Jews are known, and encourages a feeling that some day the Arabs of the West Bank will be independent. This policy, it is said, has proven to be a resounding success as evidenced by the fact that peace and tranquility have been the rule in the lands and a growing trust and closeness has been created.
Stuff and nonsense. The “peaceful” Arab has been so only because he feels beaten and helpless in face of the Jewish army and the excellent Israeli intelligence service with its network of paid informers. If the present situation continues and a new generation of Arabs – not wedded to the soil or the fellah (peasant) mentality it produces – grows up well educated, urbanized, and extreme in its thinking, we will see an end to the idyll.
But far more important are the terrible, negative results of the government’s policy. In the short run this policy appears to be a success, but in the long run it can prove to be disastrous. Why?
In the end, the Arabs alone can never hope to overcome Israel. They will need outside help. And the most important help they can get will come from the Israelis themselves. If the greatest of Israeli weapons, confidence in the rightness of our cause, is overcome, if large numbers of Israelis can be led to believe that there is something immoral about Israel’s stand on the “Palestine” question, then we will see in Israel a repetition of the United States’ Vietnam tragedy, wherein hundreds of thousands or Americans actively participated in attacking government policy and in helping the enemy to win the kind of diplomatic victory it could never have hoped to gain on the field of battle.
The present policy of the Israeli government toward “Palestine” will do exactly that in Israel. If, for example, the West Bank – Judea and Samaria- was really ours, really Jewish, then Israel should have declared so immediately after the June 1967 war. Had they done so then, the world would not have opened its mouth to protest. A man who has regained possession of something that he lost, leaps on it and shouts, “This is mine.” One who does not do so brings into question his own legitimacy; he raises grave doubts as to whether he is really the rightful owner, and when he then continues to hold on to it, making all kinds of vague offers to return part of it to the one who was holding it in the past, he is patently less than genuine.
Such a lesson is not lost on the minds of thousands of young Israelis. They are not fools and neither are they imbued with the attitude of their predecessors that allowed the latter to excuse every seeming inconsistency in the name of the Jewish people. This failure of the Israeli government to take a resolute stand, this “halting between two opinions,” has seriously eroded the confidence in the policies and morality of their own state of more youth than the government would like to admit. This is the most dangerous thing that can happen to a nation and its consequences, as we will know, can be disastrous.
If we wish to avoid a terrible rise in mistrust of the government by our young; if we want to prevent the rise of a conviction among various sectors of our population that we are indeed a conquering and robbing army; if we wish to make it very clear to any budding Arab nationalists that no amount of pressure will avail them anything since we do not intend to leave; if we hope to keep secure borders; if we want to shut off the protests of the hypocritical world; above all; if we intend to realize the enormous miracle and promise of Jewish renaissance and return to historic Eretz Yisroel – then the present policy of trickery, ruse, and dishonesty must be abandoned.
In its place a new, honest and direct policy must be implemented that consists of: (1) immediate permission for Jewish settlement in every part of the liberated lands, and city and countryside; (2) crash programs for immediate Jewish settlement directly in the heart of major cities – such as Hebron, Shehem, Jericho, Gaza and Ramallah – that will direct new immigration into these areas and the creation of western-style cities with western capital to attract western immigrants. In a word, the liberated lands must be speedily and immediately re-Judaized.
This, in brief, is what must be done to bury the illusions concerning the territory and population of the liberated lands as well as the general Arab-Israeli conflict. There remain, however, other illusions concerning one other aspect of the Jewish-Arab dispute the Arabs of the State of Israel within the pre-1967 borders.
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