Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No Illusions Please - 1972


(5732-33)  (1971-73)


August 25, 1972

The problem is that time is always on the side of the tenacious; conversely, it is the enemy of the weary.  The never-ending struggle erodes the determination to search for solutions and compromises that are often more the product of the desire to rest than that of common sense.

Those who are tired allow themselves to believe what freshness of vigor would label as nonsense.  Exhaustion and monotony push us into self-delusion We become partners to our own destruction as we fool ourselves into believing that madness is sanity, war is peace, evil is good–all so that we might return to a life of peace and normalcy. 

Time is also on the side of the aggressor and works against his intended victim.  For it gradually washes out of our minds the past moment of danger, the time when the aggressor sought to attack, plunder, and destroy.  That moment of awful truth from which the victim was barely saved fades from his memory.  And with the receding of the terrible reality comes arguments cloaked in the peculiar morality that flourishes in the rarefied air of the ivory tower.  With the passing of the danger, as the waves of time roll over the stark monuments to that moment of extinction, we turn away from the men to whom we rushed for safety, the generals and soldiers who exist in the harsh world of reality, and we begin to listen to the unreal academics, whose frustrations and envy of the men of reality are too often mistaken for spiritual and moral loftiness.

Our combination of weariness and forgetfulness turns us away from common sense and into the arms of the denizens of the ivory tower, the demagogues and the opportunists.  It is at moments like this that we throw away sanity and lose the strength that alone can save us, that alone can enable us to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Perhaps it is common to all people, perhaps it is more so with us Jews, the inability to withstand victory.  But regardless of the ultimate roots of the problem, the fact remains that five years after 2.6 million Jews, together with their nineteen-year-old state, were saved from extinction, large and larger numbers of those who were almost slaughtered seek to return again to the moment of truth

Forgotten are the 1967 pronouncements from Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Beirut, Baghdad, and Fatah.  Forgotten are the pledges to throw us into the sea, wash Tel Aviv clean with Jewish blood, and eliminate the “gangster state” of Israel. Forgotten are the insanity of borders that left the coastal strip with its million Jews under the guns of Arab armies just twelve, thirteen, or fifteen kilometers away.  Forgotten are the shells that swept into Masaryk Square in Tel Aviv and the Egyptian planes just minutes away from the heartland.  Forgotten are our own projections of tens of thousands of soldiers, and perhaps fifty thousand civilians, dead.  Forgotten are the borders that left settlements on the Huleh Plain lying naked beneath the Golan Syrian guns, the hills of Ephraim dominating Tel Aviv and its sister cities, the Sinai with its Egyptian land armada within spitting distance of our cities.  But forgotten most of all are the hate, the bitter enmity, the solemn pledges of extermination, the schoolbooks with their poisonous venom, the glee and ecstasy of the days of May and early June 1967 when the mobs and potential murderers and rapists were lashing about in an agony of anticipation of the great jihad, the “holy war” that was about to begin.  Forgotten is the reality of Arab refusal to recognize a State of Israel that is even one dunam square.  Forgotten is the never-changing reality of  “Hebronism”?

What is “Hebronism”?  It is the Arab policy of extermination of the Jew who seeks to live in his own land.  It is the reality of that August day of 1929 that saw men, women, and children slaughtered in the streets, homes, and shops of Jewish Hebron.  It is the reality of the rape and torture and gouging to death, not of “Zionists,” but of yeshiva students and their families, of Ashkenazim and also of Sephardim (the latter who have suddenly become “Jewish Arabs” in the propaganda of Fatah).  It is the pogroms of 1920.1921.1936-39, and 1947.  In short, “Hebronism” is that policy of Arab treatment of Jews that would be the rule for us every day of the week could our enemies only accomplish it.  Should we be so insane as to listen to the “doves” among us who would let them do just that?

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 from 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 stands 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 word, 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 live 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 or 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 Yisroel, 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 illusions 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.

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