[Boston, Massachusetts, reprinted from Root & Branch of July 22, 1998]
In the second year after the Exodus from Egypt, the L-RD instructed Moses to send forth men, one from each tribe, to scout out the Land and see if it was fertile or lean, barren or forested, and to ascertain the strength of its inhabitants. The Children of Israel were encamped around the Tabernacle not far from the Jordan. They were almost home, and G-d's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was about to be fulfilled.
Then something happened. They saw that the Land was good, "indeed, it flows with milk and honey." But ten of the scouts insisted that the people there were "too strong for us. All the people we saw there were huge, sons of the giant. We were like grasshoppers in our eyes," the ten terrified ones concluded, "and so we were in their eyes" (Numbers 13).
Two of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb intensely rebutted the fainthearted. "We shall surely ascend and conquer the Land, for we surely can do it!" cried Caleb. The defeatists stoned him.
'Grasshoppers' rule Israel today, and it is rough going for the spiritual descendants of Joshua and Caleb (whose name means, "all heart"). On Wednesday June 17, under the orders of Israel's Attorney General, Elyakim Rubinstein, police raided the offices of Arutz-7 radio. They spent about three hours interrogating employees, rifling files and carting away documents.
Arutz7 is estimated to be the third most listened to station in Israel, earning about 30% of the audience. It is the only one that points out the imbalances and delusions of the Oslo "Accords" and consistently opposes the surrender of the Promised Land. It was clear to many in the Knesset and elsewhere that the raid "was a form of government revenge against the NRP and Yesha community's objections to Netanyahu's withdrawal plans."
The government reportedly plans to interrogate up to 30 staffers in an act of blatant intimidation. There are about two dozen unlicenced radio stations broadcasting in Israel. Arutz7 is the only one of these that is not breaking the law because it broadcasts from a ship offshore (it has been waiting several years for a licence). Ya'akov Katz, Chairman of Arutz7, noted that the station has been raided before.
During the Rabin-Peres years the ship's transmitters were taken, a loss of several hundred thousand dollars. "They did not find anything illegal," Katz pointed out. "That's why they have not brought any charges against the station or anyone that works there. But it's been almost five years and we haven't received the transmitters back."
Now things have gotten worse, and under a government that was elected by, and is supposed to represent the interests of the National Camp. As chilling as the raids are, even worse were the subsequent interrogations by police of Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed (of the Arutz7 Board) and his wife, Rabbanit Shulamit Melamed, June 17 and 21. The government is disturbed that the Rabbi discusses Torah in ways that show it is forbidden to surrender Jewish connection to the Land.
None of those opinion leaders forever ferreting out signs of (supposed) Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians and loudly championing "civil rights" for minorities found anything noteworthy in this government intimidation of the media. Free speech to the Left in Israel and America means you are free to agree with them, or else.
That is understood, but what is shocking as well as dangerous is that with Netanyahu preparing to surrender 12-15% more of Israel's heartland to those sworn to destroy it, his government prefers to silence the critics whose arguments it cannot rebut. He has turned on those who elected him and is using police-state type tactics to do so.
Another event that week indicated how the state's legal and security establishment skews justice to serve its political purposes. Margalit Har-Shefi, former friend of Yigal Amir, was convicted of "not preventing a crime." Most people in every country (not least in the governments) are guilty of this non-act. Note: Har-Shefi was not convicted of being an accomplice. Indeed, the sentencing Judge conceded that Har-Shefi sought to dissuade Amir from violence and misled him about the location of weapons to hinder any such acts he might take. Still, she stands guilty of "not preventing a crime."
At the same time the government continued to resist prosecuting (much less convicting and sentencing) Avishai Raviv, the government agent and provocateur who recruited and incited Amir to kill Rabin. It has been revealed that GSS officers had received from field operatives a dozen formal complaints about the illegality of Raviv's methods but declined to rein him in. The work he was doing in helping to vilify the national camp in Israel was, they felt, valuable enough to overlook his deeds.
So who is guilty of "not preventing a crime?" Who is guilty of complicity in one?
The Prophet Zechariah denounced "worthless shepherds who abandon their flocks," who break the healthy and strong, who sell out their people and they say, 'Baruch Hashem, I'm rich!' Cases like the above and the betrayal of the Jewish citizens of Hebron and Yesha are leading to death in the wilderness.
The UN, the American State Department and the Arabs seem like giants to the government in Israel. Grasshoppers for whom the path of remembrance and loyalty seems too daunting find it more soothing to praise evildoers and build up the wicked, as Malachi put it. Many "blemished sacrifices" have been offered to the demons of the "peace process."
The betrayals are getting worse and it is the National Camp that is being discredited. Instead of lifting up the head of the faithful, the government seems to prefer crushing their souls into the dirt, and allowing the Arabs to do the same to their bodies.
Dr. Aaron Lerner points out that Netanyahu has made it seem that everything is negotiable, thus strengthening the hand of those who denounce Israel as the obstacle to peace. Even Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini's ["Yasser Arafat's"] inviting of Hamas into his brutal Authority has not led Netanyahu to say, "enough! It's over!" The miracles of 1948 and 1967 have been all but cast away. Night is approaching.
Three thousand three hundred and eight years ago, the faithless spies whipped the people into a frenzy of surrender and fear. They preferred returning to Egypt as today many Israelis prefer the shopping malls of the coastal plain and perhaps after that, fleeing to East Hampton and Beverly Hills when el-Husseini ["Arafat"], Assad and Yassin arrive to claim what they insist they want. When Joshua and Caleb stood in the breach steadfastly declaring, "the Land is very, very good! You should not fear the people of the Land for the LORD is with us," they were stoned.
So it is today. Raviv is free, while Har-Shefi goes to jail. Journalists who doctored film footage of Netanyahu are excused after a lame apology, while Arutz7 is raided. Abu Abas strolls in Gaza while Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sacket sit in prison. Shimon Peres flounces around the world glorifying "internationalism," while Jewish police interrogate Rabbi and Rabbanit Melamed.
Continuing surrender of Land makes Israel defenseless and threatens to turn history's most miraculous and important renewal into a nightmare of death. Ya'akov Katz, Rabbi Melamed, David Wilder and Gary Cooperberg of Hebron, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Joel Tzur of Beit El who lost his wife and son to Arab murderers in December 1996, all who protest this surrender are the cornerstone and bow of an Israel that can live.
They are the leaders of whatever future Israel has. If enough people stand with them, perhaps it will happen that toward evening time, there will be light.
Professor Eugene Narrett teaches English at Boston University and at UMASS/Lowell (University of Massachusetts, Lowell campus). He writes a weekly column for The Middlesex News, the major daily paper in Boston's western suburbs.