By Boris Shusteff

Two thousand years ago there was a period in Jewish history when many Jews became so sick and tired of their own religion and culture, and so excited with those of the Greeks, that they decided to switch their allegiance. They were called the Hellenistic Jews. It is true that the Greeks "helped" in the majority of cases through brutal force and strictly-enforced regulations. Nevertheless there were plenty of Jews who embraced the Hellenistic culture voluntarily.

Today we witness a very similar situation, in which a great number of Israeli Jews who do not understand the Jewish religion, traditions, culture and history are trying to reinvent the wheel by turning their backs on their own people. The major difference between Hellenistic times and our inglorious age is that no one is using force to convert Jews today. They do it themselves, absolutely voluntarily. With a few exceptions, such as Israel Harel and Nadav Shragai, nobody represents these Jews better than the writers and the editorial staff of the Israeli newspaper "Ha'aretz." We shall therefore call them "Ha'aretz" Jews.

Every time it seems that the current Israeli leaders have reached the lowest point of their shame and degradation, one is forced to admit that the pit into which they are falling is bottomless. The decision of the Israeli government to accept the latest Bill Clinton proposal as a "basis for discussion" proves this without the shadow of doubt. It is very difficult to understand what makes the Jews believe that the American President knows what is good for the Jewish state. Since Bill Clinton's most intimate connection with the Jewish people is based on his relations with Monica Lewinsky his credentials are not very trustworthy. American syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wrote on December 27 that "President Clinton has so dishonored his own country he has no shame in dishonoring another one - in this case Israel."

Clinton's "bridging proposal," according to which the Jews should abandon their sovereignty to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, is despicable. It demonstrates his absolute contempt for the Jewish people and for their history. However, why should anyone be surprised that Clinton does not care about the Jews if the Jews do not care about themselves? What depth of self-humiliation must an editor of the Israeli newspaper "Ha'aretz" reach in order to write in a December 25 editorial that, "Due to many powerful reasons, both practical and emotional, East Jerusalem is the heart of the Palestinian state which is in the process of being established, and therefore, will become its capital." Who gave permission to the "Ha'aretz" Jews to perform a heart transplant and to move the Jewish heart into a "Palestinian state?"

Only a Jew without a heart can say that Jerusalem "is the heart of the Palestinian state." Let us not pretend that the adjective "East" changes anything. It does not. Jerusalem is indivisible. It is exactly East Jerusalem for which the Jews were yearning during their 2,000 years of exile. It is about East Jerusalem that Yehuda Halevi, the greatest Hebrew poet of the eleventh century, wrote, "Would that I have wings that I could wend my way to Thee, O Jerusalem, from afar!" It is East Jerusalem where Nachmanides (the Ramban) settled in 1267. It is about East Jerusalem that Psalm 137 says, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!"

If one wants to be honest in describing the part of the city that Arafat wants to snatch from the Jews, one should use more precise adjectives. One should not call it East Jerusalem. One must call it Jewish Jerusalem, from which the Jews were evicted by the British in 1920. One must call it Jewish Jerusalem, where the Jews were massacred by the Arabs in 1948 and forbidden to live for 19 years. One must call it Jewish Jerusalem - a city which the world community is eager to steal from the Jews in order to award it to the Arabs for their hatred of them.

What are these "many powerful reasons, both practical and emotional" that the "Ha'aretz" Jews do not want to share with us? There are only two reasons that dominate their thinking: self-hatred and cowardice. Only self-hating Jews can completely disregard 3,000 years of Jewish emotional ties with Jerusalem and artificially replace them with the "emotions" of the Arabs. Only cowards can betray their own people and rush to embrace their enemies.

How far away must these "Ha'aretz" Jews be from the Jewish people when they say, "The yearning of generations of Jews for the Holy City is a remarkable human phenomenon and a main element of the national identity, and it should be considered satisfied with the return of the Jewish nation to its homeland." What kind of logic is this? Why must the Jews who have returned to Eretz Yisrael surrender their Holy City? It is equivalent to suggesting that a childless couple that finally succeeds

in having a child through the miracles of medicine must place their baby in a foster home, since their desire to have children is satisfied.

Each and every sentence in the editorial is a masterpiece of self-abasement by itself. Take this pearl, for example: "the Arab-Israeli dispute over Jerusalem revolves around a hub of symbols, not around elements fundamental to existence." If this is true, why is it so important that the Arabs keep this "hub of symbols" and why is it so trivial to take it away from the Jews? Jerusalem is not a favorite toy that one child can play with and then give to another.

Jerusalem is the heart and the soul of the Jewish people. What else, if not the heart, is fundamental to a people's existence? If the "Ha'aretz" Jews are so ignorant about Jewish history, they would be advised to listen to Willem van der Hoeven, International Director of the Christian Zionist Center, who, after learning of Barak's readiness to embrace Clinton's plan, wrote in utter disbelief, "Is Israel willing to cut out her very heart, the heart of Jerusalem, holy to the Jews from time immemorial, and offer it to a people who have just murdered and lynched them...?"

Yes, it is possible to extract the heart from a live body and to connect the body to a life-support system that will circulate the blood, allowing the existence of the body to continue. In this case the heart really is "not fundamental to existence." Does it mean that the "Ha'aretz" Jews suggest this kind of existence for the Jewish people? Perhaps, this is so, since they wrote that "there is no reason to be overly saddened by the forthcoming result." They believe that the "proposed compromise in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount" will be good for the Jewish state "stabilizing its existence in the region and safeguarding its future."

The only problem is that there will be no future for Israel in this case at all. The same "Ha'aretz" newspaper reported on December 25 that when Israel's Chief Rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau, learned about the planned concessions, he said, "We cannot turn our back on Jewish heritage, the historic covenant with Mount Moriah [the Temple Mount], through [King] David who bought it. We are here by force of right, not right of force. The moment we abandon this right, we are losing our right to the land of Israel itself."

If the "Ha'aretz" Jews do not understand Rabbi Lau, maybe they will listen to Joseph Farah, who wrote on December 29 that the "secular Israeli leaders have lost all sense of national purpose -- any notion of the sacred, the role of Providence in the history of the Jewish state and, ultimately, reverence for the One who authored the land-deed that justifies occupation of the Promised Land." Farah further wrote,

"Perhaps I -- a Christian-Arab-American -- don't have a right to criticize. But my faith, too, is intertwined with Israel and Jerusalem. My scriptures, too, make clear that God -- not Yasser Arafat - is sovereign over Jerusalem. And that's the real trouble Israel has today. It's not just poor, inept, incompetent, misguided political leadership. The trouble with Israel -- like so much of the rest of the world -- is that it has forgotten about God."

The Hellenistic Jews forgot their God; the "Ha'aretz" Jews have forgotten their God as well, and started to worship "peace." This worshipping takes a very primitive form. Onto the altar of their new god, the "Ha'aretz" Jews have thrown more and more victims, and now they are ready to sacrifice the heart and soul of the Jewish people. Before going beyond the point of no return they should reply to the questions asked by Willem van der Hoeven:

Would the Muslims, for peace sake, surrender Mecca and the Ka'aba stone to the Jews? Would Catholics, for peace sake, surrender the Vatican and St. Peters Cathedral? Would any nation in the world, after praying for 2000 years to return to its holiest place on earth, forfeit it for a peace which will not even be a real peace but a stage for further concessions till Israel, according to the deep-seated wish of many of her Muslim enemies, is dissolved and is no more?

And while contemplating the answers to these questions, perhaps, they should consider returning to their One and Only God? 12/30/00


Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.

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