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?

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