Friday, December 31, 2010

Has Our Chance For Geulah Passed? Part II

Two days ago I wrote that Israel may have recently entered a limbo stage leading neither to destruction nor to redemption -- the two possible outcomes Kahane saw Israel rapidly approaching. As part of my argument, I wrote, "[J]udging by Abbas's behavior, a Palestinian state is not arising any time soon." On second thought, I think I may have been mistaken on this point. In fact, I think the rise of a Palestinian state is a distinct possibility in the coming decades. If a Palestinian state rises, however, Israel will find itself even deeper entrenched in this limbo stage.

People think that a Palestinian state would mean the destruction of the Jewish state. I highly doubt that. As dangerous as ceding the West Bank to the Arabs is, the chances of "Palestine" -- even if allied with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria -- defeating Israel in battle is minimal. Terror attacks would no doubt continue, but Israel will not fall from the occasional terrorist attack. Surviving, however, would actually be a problem. Some Kahane followers believe they will ascend to power when matters become so grim that everyone realizes "Kahane tzadak." But matters might never become so grim. Israel may never reach a particular moment that is so bad that its citizens will clamor for someone with "an answer" to take over. Instead of dying "with a bang," Israel may just "fade away" over the course of hundreds of years.

The bottom line is this: If we wish to bring redemption to Israel, we must work now. We cannot afford to wait until matters get much worse because they might just remain "tolerable" for the masses of Israelis (whose tolerance for death and humiliation is staggering) for decades upon decades to come. And if we wait until a "Palestine" arises, we might be too late. It's hard enough, politically speaking, to deny the "Palestinian people" their "right" to an independent state. It will be 100 times harder to wipe a state off the map, which is what a Kahane follower would have to do if he became prime minister after a Palestinian state arose.

I asked two days ago if it's possible that our chance for geulah in this generation has already passed. I don't know the answer to that question. But if we surrender the West Bank to the Arabs and allow them to establish a state there, the answer to that question will almost certainly be "yes." I, for one, would rather die than see such a dark stage of renewed and intensified galus.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Has Our Chance For Geulah Passed?

I write this post with trepidation. Can I even suggest such a thing -- that our chance for geulah has passed for the time being? And why do I even entertain the possibility?

Among today's news articles on Arutz7 was one concerning the new cloth cover for Yoseph's Tomb, which apparently the state of Israel is slowly taking possession of after it voluntarily surrendered it to scum-of-the-earth Arabs in 2000 who then proceeded to burn and defile it.

Kahane followers generally assume that matters will get worse and worse in Israel until we get rid of the Arabs. If we don't get rid of them, they will destroy the country in a matter of decades, at most. Either destruction or redemption -- those are the only two outcomes Kahane foresaw.

As per Kahane's prediction, matters have gotten drastically worse in the 20 years since his assassination. And it seemed that this pattern would continue indefinitely until either destruction or redemption unfolded (which naturally would depend on the actions of those of us who possess common sense and know the Torah truth about living a national life in Israel).

But what to make of the last few years? The situation has calmed down. Very few Jews have been killed recently and judging by Abbas's behavior, a Palestinian state is not arising any time soon. Israel's economy is doing very well and Israelis seem fairly confident that matters are okay. Few people are horribly frustrated. Most think Netanyahu is doing a decent job. Is destruction really imminent? It's harder to think so than it used to be.

And now Yoseph's Tomb has a new cover. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have told you that Israel will never again be in control of Yoseph's Tomb until a follower of Kahane (or someone very close to one) becomes prime minister. But I would've been wrong. Yoseh's Tomb is coming back to life. Not because Israel reconquered it, but simply because the Arabs, in the meantime, are not fanatically opposed to the Jewish presence there. For now anyways, it's not worth dying for in their mind.

Again, Kahane followers generally assume matters will get worse and worse until the destruction of the state of Israel or victory for Kahane's ideas. But perhaps neither destruction or redemption will unfold in the foreseeable future. Perhaps Israel will muddle along for decades upon decades to come as it has done the last few years. Perhaps Israelis will slowly recover places like Yoseph's Tomb not by war but by appealing to the right authorities and behaving nicely. In other words, perhaps we're seeing the beginning of a prolonged and nominally satisfactory galus life in Israel, whereby one lives in safety by the goodwill of one's enemies.

Yes, Israel will have an embarrassing wall cutting it in half. Yes, Israel will continue to be embarrassingly obsequious to the United States. But it will live in relative safety. It might not live with pride, but Jews have lived without national pride for 2,000 years. Who's to say they can't live without it in Israel?

Kahane saw the 1980s as years ripe for redemption, and indeed they were. But maybe our chance for redemption has come and passed. Perhaps we are now entering an era of galus existence in the land of Israel -- similar to life in Europe or during certain periods of the bayis sheni period.

All the tensions that the first and second Intifadas and the Oslo Accords brought to the surface made geulah a very real and imminent possibility. One could envision a Kahane follower sweeping to power on the heels of mass frustration with the status quo. One could even envision a popular revolution of people fed up at watching their kids and neighbors die at the hands of murderous Arabs. But maybe that time and opportunity is over. Perhaps our chance for geulah has passed.

Is it possible?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

By Any Means Necessary

(This blog will be updated roughly once a month. Please remember to return in four weeks' time.)

I didn't write last month. What should I write that I haven't already written? Israel is heading towards disaster. The writing on the wall is so painfully clear to anyone willing to see.

Why don't Israelis take their future into their own hands? Why don't they rise up and overthrow their leaders?

I feel like repeating what the great Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky said at a public rally in Warsaw in 1939: "I state with shame that the people behave now as if they were already doomed. I have not found anything like it, neither in history nor in novels. Never did I read of such acquiescence with fate.

"It is as if twelve million educated people were put in a carriage and the carriage was being pushed towards an abyss. How do such people behave? One is crying, one is smoking a cigarette, some are reading newspapers, someone is singing – but in vain will you look for one who will stand up, take the reins into his hands and move the carriage somewhere else. This is the mood. [Mah la'asot?] As if some big enemy came and chloroformed their minds."

How true. How tragic.

This settlement freeze is another step toward the abyss. And no one does anything. Sure they protest. But peaceful protests won't accomplish anything. Israel is not America. You can hold a million rallies in Israel, each one attended by a million people, and nothing will change. Netanyahu and every other prime minister does what he wants, when he wants, regardless of what the public desires.

Our "right-wing" prime minister now wants to negotiate with Syria on top of everything else. Great, he's graduated. Last time he was prime minister he held secret negotiations with Syria, news of which only emerged several months after he left office. Now, he is holding public negotiations. Why should he hide? There's no reason for him to. Nobody will stop him.

Israel has become a tyranny. And tyranny only understands one language: force. Democracy and "playing nice" is all well and good in normal times and when dealing with a fair system. Israel, however, is corrupt and dictatorial. In normal times and in a normal system, violence against a government is a sin. In normal times and in a normal system, protests and lobbying is how the citizenry affects policy. However, these are not normal times and Israel's political system is not normal. In such times and when dealing with such a system, violence is in order.

Mentioning "violence" sends tremors down people's backs and anyone who uses this word is considered an extremist. However, no less a respected personage than Thomas Jefferson thought people not only have a "right to revolt" but a "duty to revolt" in certain circumstances. If one opens his Bible, one will discover that our ancestors were not at all hesitant to use violence against their own brothers when necessary. I challenge anyone who has actually learned Tanach to prove me wrong. (Need I also remind readers of the Chanukah story?)

If this suicidal "peace" process is not stopped by force, a very real possibility exists that the miracle state founded in 1948 may not be around in 50 years. When will Israelis and Jews around the world realize that Israel's destruction is truly possible if the country continues along its present course?

Far left-wing Jews wouldn't much care if Israel disappeared. They think it an immoral state, a vestige of evil 19th-century imperialism. Haredim also wouldn't much care. They never wanted a state and would be satisfied if Arabs controlled historic Eretz Yisrael as long as their yeshivas remained intact.

But where are the "right-wingers"? Where are the religious Zionists? Where are the settlers? Don't they realize what's at stake here? Why won't they do anything? Why are they crying, smoking, singing, and reading newspapers as "the matzav" gets worse and worse?

Unless they fight, using absolutely any means necessary -- whether these means are "nice" or ugly, peaceful or bloody -- the third commonwealth will fall. It pains me to write those words, but it will fall if Israelis don't act.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wake Up!

(This blog will be updated roughly once a month. Please remember to return in four weeks' time.)

Don't the settlers see the writing on the wall? When will they wake up?

Every time a settlement is destroyed, every time an Israeli prime minister promises to surrender biblical land to the Arab enemy, "radical" Israeli settlers promise to... build another settlement.

But this campaign is absurd and is more obviously absurd with each passing year. If the Israeli government wishes to destroy settlements and surrender land to the Arabs, no amount of settlement building is gong to stop it. The ruins of Gish Katif is incontrovertible proof of that.

Netanyahu, it appears, will soon impose a settlement freeze. (For all intents and purposes he already has.) It seems clear that once Netanyahu sets this precedent, all future prime ministers will follow suit.

And what are the settlers doing to save their land, their country, their destiny? They let bulldozers destroy their outposts and then proceed to build them all over again -- until a few weeks or months later when those same bulldozers return and destroy them once again.

In a 1989 article, Meir Kahane said all that needs to be said on this topic. The (condensed) article below concerns the JNF, burned trees and Arabs, but just replace every mention of the word "tree" with the word "settlement," every mention of the word "Arab" with the words "Israeli government," and every mention of "JNF" with the words "settlement leaders" and the article all of a sudden becomes relevant on a whole different level:

I was depressed yesterday. Very, very sad. For I knew that they had burned my trees. As a child I had saved my money so carefully so that I could buy those trees and know that they were planted. And now they are burned....

Every week I would come to school and bring a nickel. And with that nickel I would buy a special stamp. A Jewish National Fund stamp. And every week I would paste that stamp on the figure of a tree which was part of a JNF poster, and which had twenty "leaves" on it. Each week I would paste my stamp on a leaf and at the end of twenty weeks, I had a tree! My tree! And I did this for years because I was a good boy -- a good Jewish boy. And I bought many trees. My trees. My Jewish trees.

And now they burned them. The Arabs and their intifada. Last year, within the sovereign State of Israel, that independent State which makes me so proud because it does not let anyone push it around -- the Arabs burned 1.15 million trees.... And I was sad.

But then I saw an advertisement by the Jewish National Fund which made me happy again and made me proud to be a Jew, knowing that the Jewish National Fund does not let anyone push it around. The JNF placed an ad that let the Arabs know that we are not the Jews of old. No one burns our trees. Well, not exactly. What the JNF said was that if the Arabs burn our trees, we will show them: We will plant even more trees than they burned. Anything they can burn, we can plant better. If they burned 1.15 million, we will plant that much and ten million more -- fully 11.5 million!

I was so happy. I ran to the bank to convert my money into nickels to buy leaves each week and plant new trees. I was so happy that the JNF had this wonderful idea until I met my neighbour. I never liked him. He is always so cynical and a killjoy. When I told him of the brilliant JNF idea to plant ten times the amount of trees that the Arabs burned, this dour wet-towel said:

"And what if they burn those? Will we plant 110 million trees the next time? And why should Jews have to pay again and again for trees that Arabs burn? Why not throw them out of the country? Why do we allow them to stay in the country if we know that they will burn our forests?... If the JNF wants money from me, let them demand that the Arabs be thrown out so that I will know that I pay for a Jewish tree once."

I never liked my neighbour. He is so cynical. He is so logical.

Please understand the message of this article as it pertains to settlements. The response to the destruction of settlements is not to build another settlement or to burn Palestinian olive groves (which is an altogether insane and cowardly policy) but to get rid of the government responsible for destroying them.

If the settlers don't change their approach, they will eventually witness Disengagement II. Impossible to uproot 200,000 settlers? That's what all right-wing "extremists" said about the 10,000 settlers of Gush Katif. If the only fight settlers put up consists of new settlements, bullhorns, tears, and passive resistance, they are doomed. Mark my words, they are doomed.

My dear friends: Please realize what's happening. Look around you, review the events of recent years. Matters are getting worse, not better. The Israeli government is increasingly becoming your enemy, not your friend. You will wind up in a compensation government trailer in Tel Aviv one day (whether it be 10, 20, or 50 years) unless you fight the entity destroying you. Please, wake up!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Revolution vs. Waiting

(This blog will be updated roughly once a month. Please remember to return in four weeks' time.)

Those who advocate revolution in Israel see the country heading towards its doom. Jews are dying, Hashem's name is daily being desecrated, and matters are only getting worse. True nationalists, who constantly feel their country's humiliation at the hand of the Arabs, propose revolting against the country's government which refuses to solve the Arab problem and, moreover, outlaws and bans those Jews willing to do so.

With the ballot box closed to them -- and there is no doubt that anyone who ever advocates anything close to what Kahane advocated will be banned as well -- these few true nationalists yearn for revolution.

Yet, is a revolution really necessary? Some people argue that demographics is on the settlers' side; that eventually, somehow, someway, when the settlers and haredim comprise the country's majority, things will change (although the idea that leftists will quietly relinquish their power to settlers and haredim is debatable, at the very least).

Others argue that an organization like Manhigut Yehudit will eventually attain power. It may take 20 or 30 years, but Moshe Feiglin and his followers are convinced that they will eventually be Israel's leaders. This belief may be naive, and even dangerous, but let us suppose it, or the previous prediction, to be true. Suppose that in 20-30 years, or even longer (say, 40 to 50 years), Israel will finally be led by sane people with sane policies, who no longer appease and cuddle Arabs who wish to destroy Israel. Suppose for a second that Israel will ultimately be led by Kahane-like figures. Supposing that to be true, should we wait? Should we wait quietly and with great frustration for that day or should we revolt now?

"Absurd!" people may say. "Why revolt today, with all the attendant bloodshed, if we can attain the same means peacefully?" Those who argue thus, however, must also think about other revolutions in history. Undoubtedly, Israel would have eventually come into being without waging a revolt against Britain in the 1940's. It may have taken an additional 10, 20 or 30 years, but most probably Israel would have become a state without the Irgun and Lechi killing British soldiers and losing their own lives in the process.

Think about the American Revolution as well. It's hard to imagine that the United States would not have come into being without revolting against Great Britain. Canada ultimately gained its Independence without revolting. So did other British colonies like Australia and New Zealand. The American colonies could have waited their turn as well and their patience undoubtedly would have ultimately been rewarded.

But do readers of this article really think the Irgun, Lechi, and the American revolutionaries should have waited and kept quiet despite the outrages committed against them? Were Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Menachem Begin and Israel Eldad really wrong? Or are some conditions so intolerable that any human being with honor in his breast ought to rise up in anger and fight?

Simply staying alive is not man's purpose on earth. If one's country, rights, and honor are constantly being trampled upon, G-d wants us to rise up and take control of our own future. If lives will be lost in the process, so be it.

Is it conceivable that G-d wants us to wait decades until Moshe Feiglin succeeds in becoming prime minister (which may or may not happen in any event)? Is it conceivable that G-d wants us to daily suffer the outrages of the world community and the lowly Arabs trampling on our Holy Land in silence? As Jews who are supposed to protect G-d's honor, how can we sit back and let morally confused Israelis hand over G-d's land to Arab terrorists? Even if one assumes that matters will work themselves out 30 years from now, how can we wait so long? How can any Jew with true national pride in his heart take it?

I say "No!" Even if one could guarantee that matters will ultimately resolve themselves sometime in the future, I say "Revolt!" As human beings, we are supposed to do what's right today, not make calculations regarding what may or may not happen in the future if we sit like sheep and watch "only" several hundred or thousand Israelis die or "only" several hundred or thousand more acres of G-d's land returned to the Arabs or "only" several hundred more tons of Har Habayis dirt raped over the next few decades.

The Irgun and Lechi never considered waiting for history to take its course. Neither did the American revolutionaries. G-d wants to take action. G-d wants us to deserve Moshiach. Let us be worthy. Let us not wait. How can we wait?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Revolution: A Preview of What Could Be

(This blog will be updated roughly once a month. Please remember to return in four weeks' time.)

Anyone writing about Kahane's views on Israeli politics must eventually come to terms -- not with his well-known thoughts on transfer -- but with his far more incediary ideas on revolution.

Because Kahane knew quite well that nobody besides himself would kick the Arabs out of Israel, becoming prime minister was absolutely essential for him. While in the Knesset (and beforehand), he tried to attain this position democratically. When the Supreme Court denied him that option Kahane realized that his path to power would be far more difficult than anticipated. And that's when he started focusing less on kicking out the Arabs and more on different devises (e.g. a referendum) that would help propel him to the prime minister's seat.

A man with less vision and less love for Israel than Kahane would have retired the day the Supreme Court barred him from the Knesset. After all, the game seemed lost. But Kahane was determined to become prime minister -- Knesset or no Knesset, Supreme Court or no Supreme Court. How? Simple. By pressure or force, one way or another.

I know some Kahane followers dispute this point, but Kahane really made himself quite clear if you read between the lines. Take his last book, "Revolution or Referendum," for instance. Kahane spends several chapters talking about the legitimacy of government and revolution. His conclusion? Israel's government is illegitimate and the people have the right to revolt. I know Kahane claimed he didn't want a revolution (and I'm sure he didn't) but in this book, he clearly is subtly injecting that idea into his readers' minds.

For another example, read the following from a speech Kahane delivered in 1989 or 1990 titled "Why Be Jewish": "Obviously the answer is for the people to get up and overthrow the government but you don’t say that for two reasons: One, they won’t do it. Secondly, if you think I sat [in jail] for a long time in 1980, wait til you see this, so you don’t say that...."

To repeat, I have no doubt that Kahane did not want a revolution. However, if the choice was between Israel slowly collapsing on the one hand -- and Israel is collapsing, as Kahane predicted it would -- and a revolution whose leaders would reconstruct Israel as a light unto the nations on the other hand, Kahane clearly preferred revolution, hands down.

Why do I write all this? Because some people see revolution as a quixotic and utterly impossible solution. Two events this past month should demonstrate otherwise. I am referring to the post-election Iranian riots and the charedi riots in Yerushalayim.

The Iranians did not overthrow their government, but they came close. More anger, more people, more violence and the country would have been theirs.

Unlike the Iranians, the charedim were not trying to overthrow their government. But look at the havoc that a small minority of charedim were able to create. Imagine if not just some charedim but a majority of charedim and a majority of religious Zionists and tens or even hundreds of thousands of frustrated Ashkenazi and Sephardi secular Jews took to the streets and marched on the Knesset. Who would stop them? Their sheer numbers would be overwhelming.

Add to the equation a few thousand (or more) of the most radical rioters holding guns, willing to shoot, and the possibility of a successful revolution becomes even more plausible, especially since vast portions of the IDF would not be willing to shoot their fellow Jews in defense of the various government buildings. On the contrary, many soldiers would, if circumstances forced them to make a choice, use their weapons to help the uprising.

Revolution cannot occur tomorrow in Israel. The idea needs to first fester in the people's mind. Anger, extreme anger, at the government is a necessary ingredient, which must be constantly stoked (which Kahane was a master at). But people should realize that revolution is feasible. The Americans did it in 1776, the French did it in 1789 and, 230 years later despite all the changes in the make-up of armies, the Israelis can do it too.

If one wants an idea of what this revolution will look like or how it should be planned, take a closer examination of the Iranian and charedi riots last month.

(Note: I wrote this article for people who understand that Israel is collapsing; who prefer to see Jewish blood spilled rather than seeing the destruction of the third commonwealth; and who believe that revolution is not only not inherently evil, but sometimes even holy.)