Arutz Sheva National News Service of October 26, 1998

IF YOU WILL NOT CARRY
THE TORCH OF ZION, WE WILL

By Rabbi Eliezer Waldman

Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Kiryat Arba

In spite of the fact that our prime minister came home from Wye to a warm welcome at the airport with all the pomp and ceremony due a conquering hero, and despite his adamant declaration that he and his team fought like lions to get a good agreement with the PLO, the truth is that Mr. Netanyahu has failed us. Neither he, nor any of his team, really believe that the agreement they reached is a good one. All admit that it was painful and that another withdrawal will be dangerous to the Jewish State. Their bottom line was, "We had no choice"; "It was the best we, or anyone, could do." Since, in their opinion, it was the best than anyone could do, then it must be acceptable.

Without taking the time to analyze the entire agreement, let us just look at a few obvious dangers which we have agreed to accept upon ourselves:

First and foremost, after the proposed retreat, tens of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will be isolated islands within a sea of PLO safe-havens for Arab murderers. The Jews throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza will have to drive on roads whose security will not be under the exclusive protection of the IDF. Children who need to travel by bus to school will have to trust their security to terrorists who promised not to murder us any more. A new PLO airport will be opened and Arafat's plane will be immune from search. A new PLO seaport is planned which will further enable the import of all kinds of weapons. Murderers of Jews who escape to PLO safety zones will not be extradited to Israel under any circumstances. And the illegal guns that will allegedly be confiscated will remain in the hands of the PLO. All this will be supervised by the "impartial" mediation of the American CIA, whose "success" in Iraq is known to all.

In addition to all these physical dangers is a far more foreboding moral crime which our leadership has perpetrated. This agreement, which was signed by a right wing government, has struck a mortal blow to Zionist ideology and aspirations. Throughout our two-thousand-year Exile the Jewish people never gave up hope of returning to Zion. We endured indescribable humiliations, torture, murder and near annihilation, but the dream of Zion was always on our lips. When, in 1948, we faced overwhelming odds and had no army to speak of, the dream of Zion forced us to realize that we had no choice but to fight for our dream. We fought impossible wars which could not have been won, yet were, because we refused to permit the two-thousand-year dream of Zion to perish. And those who fought and died for the Jewish dream were, for the most part, non-observant Jews who instinctively understood the greatness of the moment, and the role they had the privilege to play in Jewish destiny. The dream of Zion was far more than a dream, nor was it limited to observant Jews. The Jewish people as a whole had a sense of destiny and faith in the eternity of Israel, which enabled them to overcome fear and just keep on going.

The architects of the Oslo suicide pact, Jewish leaders from the left, gave the first blow to our dignity and self-respect and paved the way for a new concept of defeatism called "post- Zionism". This cowardly concept gave credence to decisions made by our leadership to avoid war by surrendering to our enemies. By bowing down and yielding to those who stoned and shot us; by bending and twisting the definition of terrorism to explain the actions of our murderers, our leaders cast aside the eternal hope of Zion and traded it in for a "new" way to achieve "peace" by elevating terrorists to the status of statesmen.

The flowery speeches and White House ceremonies lent an air of dignity to this perfidy and gave a false impression that the majority in Israel supported this debauchery. The illusion was shattered with the election of Netanyahu, despite the overwhelming sympathy engendered for the left with the Rabin assassination. The overwhelming Jewish majority in Israel rejected Oslo and expressed that rejection at the polls. While Netanyahu felt an obligation to honor commitments signed by his predecessor, he clearly declared his repugnance for the Oslo pact and certainly had an implied responsibility to his electorate to at least go no further with the process of surrender of Jewish Land.

When Mr. Netanyahu, a man who heads a modern nation with a powerful army, declares that we have no choice but to capitulate to demands by our enemies to take parts of our sacred inheritance and assume sovereignty therein, he has shown himself to be lacking in the most basic national instinct to fight for our country. Our prime minister, now, by agreeing to hand over more land to Arafat, has given official sanction, not only of the Jewish government, but of the right-wing nationalist camp, to the abandonment of the dream of Zion which his fathers gave their very lives to preserve for him. As one who represents the right wing in Israel his actions have created a false impression suggesting that the vast majority, throughout the political spectrum, accept the concept of abandonment of Zionism. Instead of transforming the disaster of Oslo into a return to Zionist goals, our Prime Minister has jumped on the bandwagon of "post Zionist" ideology and has in reality rejected all of the ideals of his forebears. This is neither his right nor within his ability to accomplish. When such leadership fails to live up to its obligations and declares its inability to continue upon the path of Zionism, it inflicts an aura of defeat and despair upon the nation. This cannot be permitted.

It is outrageous to witness Jewish leadership which has achieved that which our fathers could only dream of, Jewish might and independence in our homeland, deliberately subject itself to humiliation before friend and foe alike. By bowing to the likes of a Clinton, and much worse, Arafat, is a needless expression of Jewish weakness which will only invite further humiliation. How dare we stoop to beg our enemies, outright terrorist murderers, to guarantee our security in our own homeland, especially when we command the best army in the world?! Our leadership must learn how to say "NO"! NO! to retreat from our homeland.. . NO! to the recognition of shared sovereignty over Jewish soil. . . and NO! to the tolerance of those who terrorize our people.

Today we look back in awe and wonder at the remarkable significance of the reality of the return of Jewish life to the heart of our homeland which today sees over 180,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria. The G-d of Israel prepared the remedy before the tragedy and we now can see it clearly. With the astounding victory in June of 1967, which saw the Jewish people return to our holy places as we stunned the world and ourselves, not only withstanding the overwhelming odds which came to destroy us, but to have defeated them within a mere six days, the flame of Zionist passion was kindled within all Jews. It particularly inspired many of us to return to possess and rebuild the cities of our Fathers. Our return to Hebron and the building of Kiryat Arba served as a further inspiration for others to emulate throughout Judea and Samaria. If the flame which once burned brightly in the camp of political Zionism is now flickering and dying, then it will be rekindled. This torch has been thrust into the hands of those who are prepared to see those flames leap to illuminate the entire world from Jerusalem, Hebron, Judea and Samaria and all of the Land of Israel. Now is the time for those of us who truly do understand the G-dly significance of Jewish return to take up the torch of Zion and run with it. We must show our people and the world that we have no choice but to protect the continuance the process of Zionist return where Jews from all over the world are coming home to our eternal homeland, to settle the Land, develop the Land and, if need be, fight to the death to protect her.

In order to accomplish this we have no choice but to find a new leadership which will express openly and loudly the concept of Jewish pride and faith which our fathers so bravely preserved for us throughout the centuries of our Exile. We have not come home and begun to achieve their dreams only to give up now, at its ultimate climax. If we are truly seeking a lasting peace and security in our only homeland, the only way to achieve it is to pick up the Torch of Zion, which post-Zionists have dropped, and carry it forward.



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