Friday, August 12, 2016

Two Jews, David Ben-Gurion and two states

(I write this essay as an introduction to Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av is the day (which this year falls on August 14, 2016) when we mourn the destruction of not one, but two Holy Temples—because Jews in those days long ago made decisions to reject what HaShem had given us)

Two news items have appeared this week that should interest us. They remind us what we must never do to Jewish Israel.

The first news item was about Israel Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Shlomo Pyotrovsky, “Kahlon blocks funds for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria”, arutzsheva, August 11, 2016). Kahlon wants to cut from Israel’s budget 12.7 million shekel earmarked for security in Judea-Samaria.

Judea-Samaria is under intense pressure right now. Arab attacks there against Jews have skyrocketed. Cutting security funding for these Jews suggests an abandonment of both Jews and our precious treasure, our Jewish land.

The second story comes from the US (“Wednesday, the rabbi's congregants revolted”, israelmatzav, August 11, 2016). This story is about how some congregants in a North Carolina synagogue react to their Rabbi’s guided tour of Israel: he’s focusing on Yasser Arafat’s grave, a ‘Palestinian’ museum and presentations by the Jewish anti-Israel NGO, Breaking the Silence (BTS) (ibid). Some congregants don’t like seeing their Spiritual leader fraternizing with those who demonize and lie about Israel (Arafat and BTS have been shown to have done both).

Almost 4,000 years ago, HaShem, the G-d of Israel, Promised the land of Israel to the Jewish people. He didn’t Promise this land to non-Jews. He Promised it to us.  

HaShem Promised that Jews would prosper in this land. He said they would be exiled from it for their sins. He Promised Jews would then be persecuted in exile.

We did prosper. We were exiled. We were persecuted.

HaShem also Promised we would return to this land. We did.

He Promised this Land would blossom once we returned. It did.

He Promised that, upon that return, Israel would become strong as a lion in the face of its enemies. It did.

HaShem has kept His Promises. They come true.

No other god has made such Promises. No other god has transformed so many Promises into historical fact.

HaShem is the G-d who gave to us this Land. Do we have the right to reject a portion of that gift (to create ‘two states’)?

Some say, yes—we have every right to do that. David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, said, no, we don’t have that right. Listen to what he said:  

No Jew is entitled to give up the right of establishing [i.e. settling] the Jewish Nation in [all of] the Land of Israel. No Jewish body has such power. Not even all the Jews alive today [i.e. the entire Jewish People] have the power to cede any part of the country whatsoever [emphasis mine]. This is a right vouchsafed or reserved for the Jewish Nation throughout all generations (Howard Grief, “Ben Gurion’s declaration on the exclusive and inalienable Jewish right to the whole of the land of Israel”, a Ben-Gurion speech to the Basle Session of the 20th Zionist Congress at Zurich, 1937,, no date).

Ben Gurion is correct. This Jewish right to all the land of Israel has been explicitly reserved by HaShem for the Jewish Nation for all generations. No one generation has the right to act against all other generations by violating that right.

We must never weaken our hold on this Land. Instead, we must support this land. We must strengthen it. We must protect it. 

Cutting aid to portions of this land is wrong. Bringing Jews to listen to those who would rip this land from us is wrong.

We should reject all demands to surrender Judea-Samaria to create a new state for others. Judea-Samaria is part of the land G-d gave to us. He wrote the deed (in our Tanach). It is not divisible.

To protect Jews in Judea-Samaria, Kahlon should approve the 12.7 million shekel proposed. Indeed, he should increase it. To honor Israel as HaShem’s gift, the North Carolina Rabbi should avoid bringing congregants to those who lie about Israel.

As Ben-Gurion put it in this same speech:

Our right to the whole of this country [including Judea-Samaria] is valid, in force and endures forever.  And until the Final Redemption has come, we will not budge from this historic right" (ibid).

Throughout history, Jews didn’t dream of creating a state called Israel in order to bow before the nations. They didn’t dream of appeasing our enemies. They didn’t dream of surrendering land to another religion.

They dreamt only of re-creating their ancient Jewish sovereign state. They dreamt of re-building that state.

Kahlon doesn’t help to build by cutting funds and making life more dangerous. The North Carolina Rabbi doesn’t honor what is Jewish by seeking out those who lie about us.

Many Jews want us to reject HaShem. They want us to empower that rejection by giving away Judea-Samaria, which is indeed part of HaShem's gift to us.

We have already lost two Holy Temples because we rejected HaShem. Jews now want us to rush down that path again?

Ben-Gurion is right. This land—all of it--is linked to our Redemption. It is our Jewish land for all generations, not just ours until we carve it up for others.

Kahlon and this Rabbi should apologize for forgetting that.

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