Sunday, May 25, 2014

We are Here to Stay!

The following is my translation of the lead article in this past week’s “Sichat HaShavua (#1429),” a weekly Chabad newsletter that is distributed throughout Israel. Its message is simple and quite well-known, but we often forget some of the most basic things, and need to hear them over again…from Yitz of Jerusalem, via Shiloh Musings, to you:

We are Here to Stay
Weekly Op-Ed, by Rabbi Menachem Brod

The endless preoccupation with diplomatic negotiations creates an impression as if it was only yesterday that the 'territories' which are under discussion fell into our hands, and that there is a problem that needs solving. A quick glance at the calendar shows how false and unfounded this sense is. We're talking about a reality which has existed for forty-seven years!

(The Kotel Tunnels. The Miracles of the Six-Day War restored the Old City of Jerusalem to the Jewish People).

At this time of year, forty-seven years ago, the Six-Day War broke out, in which valuable parts of the Land of Israel, foremost of which ancient Jerusalem, were restored to Am Yisrael (the Jewish People). Forty-seven years comprises two generations! Those born in those days could be now be grandparents. And yet, we continue to talk about "the problem of the territories."

A most just war
Also nineteen years before that, we 'conquered' territory, but then we did not call it occupation but liberation, and the war was called the "War of Liberation" (Milchemet HaShichrur; otherwise known as the War of Independence). Thanks to that war, Jews can live safely in Ashdod and Ashkelon, Acre and Nahariya, Ramle and Lod, in Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Gat, Beer-Sheva and Nazareth Illit.

Regarding official world recognition, the territory designated for the Jewish State was within the bounds of the 'Partition.' The Arabs never agreed to the 'settlements' of Ramle and Acre. But for us, it was clear that these territories were not intended to be delivered to the enemy, but rather, they were another stage on the way to restoring the entire Land of Israel to the Jewish People. We did not seek the agreement of the Arabs, nor the approval of the world. We did what was good for the Jews.

The Six-Day War (from the Israeli perspective) was the most just war. Arab armies amassed against us and talked explicitly about their desire to destroy (G-d forbid) the Jewish State. The older amongst us remember well the anxiety and worry that filled the heart of every Jew in those stressful days. But G-d was with us, and He wrought the mighty miracle of victory over our enemies in six days. For what, exactly, do we need to apologize?

How is it that no one has thought to give up Ashkelon, a city of the Biblical Philistines, to the Arabs, while Jerusalem, Hebron , Shiloh and Anatot, are under negotiation! From where did we get this obsequiousness, to declare right after the war, that the liberated territories are merely a 'deposit,' to be returned when peace will come?!

The forty-seven years that have passed illustrate how our presence in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights is by the Hand of G-d. After all, we did not think to conquer these territories to begin with! After the war, we expressed our willingness to give them up in exchange for a peace agreement. Still - it turns out that again and again that the 'territories' are not the 'obstacle' to peace; but rather it is our very existence in Israel.

To build without hesitation
Unfortunately, there are Jews who have internalized Jewish stubbornness to make repeated attempts to give away parts of our country to our enemies. Reality has proven time and again that any such concessions only drives peace further away. The Oslo Agreement flooded our streets with terrorist attacks. The deportation of Jews from the Gaza Strip gave us the state of Hamas, and the threat of missiles on the entire South and Center of the country. And yet they maintain their position, as if their eyes are closed.

After forty-seven years, it is time to put an end to all these delusions. We need to internalize that we are here to stay. We need to build hundreds of thousands of homes in all the cities and towns in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, and to inform the world, once and for all, without hesitation, that the People of Israel have returned to their Land and ancestral home.

1 comment:

Batya said...

yitz, thanks for posting