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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why I will still raise my family in Israel

D.B. make a very powerful point in one of his comments:

A few questions for you, following your ideolgogies here:

Why was the destruction of Sefardic and Yemenite youth in the '50s not over the line? This active destruction of their religious values seems even worse than not allowing open adherence to Orthodoxy. There is no question that part of the establishment of the State of Israel was as a means to promote secular ideals in replacement of Torah values.

Or the Gaza disengagement (destruction of idealism of Religious Zionism and mistreatement of fellow Jews unparalleled since way back in history, and in direct contrast to any good that may come out of it in terms of Jewish sovereignty over Israel) not over the line? Wouldn't it have been better to have no state at all than to have a state which willingly relinquishes parts of its own territory, essentially making a statement in the name of the Jewish people that that land does not belong to us? [This was a major concern in accepting the '47 partition plan]. What greater blow to Jewish sovereignty over Israel can there be than a Jewish government handing parts of its land over to the enemy? And it looks like we're not done yet either.

If Oslo has proven a failure, and it certainly seems that the majority, if not great majority, of Israelis, want to continue down that path of 'appeasement', hasn't the State of Israel served its 'purpose' of Kibbutz Galuyos and now proceeding to make the place practically untenable for its Jews, due to its citizens' willingness to whet the appetite of Hamas and Fatah, Feisal Hussieni and their ilk? Isn't its continued existence only an exacerbation of endangerment of Jewish lives, considering the fact that more Jews have been killed there since its establishment than in all other places in the world combined?

If we may use Rav Schachter's analysis of applicability of a Milchemes Mitzvah, where there is no obligation to fight it when it is losing cause, isn't it obvious to you that this is a Milchemes Mitzvah which the government, in your analysis, seems hell-bent on losing?

Why should anyone fight in an IDF that places its soldiers' life in second place behind those of the terrorists' families, or for a govt. which places the welfare of East Jerusalem and Galilee Arabs at a higher priority than that of the settlers?

You hope that one day the Israeli govt. will 'wake up' and adopt Kahane-esque views on the issues. Newsflash - realistically, that ain't happening. The people have lost all interest in this confrontation.

The only reason you see hope in this State for advancing further positive goals is not on any basis of natural unfolding of events, (unless such a major catastrophe that will finally wake the Jews up to the fact that all the Arabs want us murdered, in which case I'll sit that out in the USA, thank you very much), but based on pure unadulterated faith in "Atchalta DeGeula" Messianism, which you cannot expect others to share.

Here is my response:

What can I say. The events you bring up are a travesty and a chilul Hashem. I for one will not try and justify them. However, you did leave out many of the good things that came with the state. The unprecedented level of Torah study. The fact that without the Torah in EY, the whole Torah world would have probably been wiped out C"V, after the destruction of Europe. You write about the stripping of values from the sephardi Olim, another evil travesty. You leave out, however, that those sepahardim who went to America or France faired much worse with intermarriage rates approaching 80% in some instances. In EY, they are one of the most traditional communities in the country and have not drifted nearly as far as those that went to chutz laaretz. The theft of Yemenite babies was also a crime but one that you can not really claim was sponsored by the state. It was more the work of greedy individuals as several studies have shown.

You also leave out the tremendous kidush Hashem that the state has accomplished at various points in its history. The war of independence, the 6 day war and Entebbe come to mind. There are many other examples. As far as Jews dying for the state, I am afraid that this is the price you have to pay for a national life. More Jews were killed in Yehoshua's wars than in the desert, that did not make them stay in the desert. Nobody said yeshuv haAretz would be easy and misirut nefesh is required. You can choose to live your life in Chu”l, but you will be doing so against Hashem’s will and against your own best interests. When my grandmother made Aliya with her parents in the 1920’s, they took a trip back to Poland. In Poland, they were begged to stay and not go back to EY where there are riotous Arabs and deadly disease. The Yeshuv of 40,000 Jews seemed an unrealistic and irrational place to build a life. They went back to EY and never saw their families again. Every argument you make today could have been made 85 years ago, the clarity of hindsight shows us who was right, those who chose the path of Hashem, the path of life, the path to EY.

As far as the future is concerned. I am much more optimistic than you. Today 35% of Israelis are shomer Shabbat (can you say the same for your precious America?). 55% of kids in the 1st grade are enrolled in religious schools of one form or another. The baal teshuva movement is growing and there is a general move to more careful observance of the mitzvoth. Every Jew can afford to give their kids a religious education (can you say the same for America) and the sound of Torah is heard in almost every corner. It’s only a matter of time before the religious become the majority and the nation begins its restoration to spiritual health. Don’t make the same mistakes that some chareidi gedolim made in Europe. Don’t cut out of the Torah all aspects of national life. You will not be doing yourself a favor.

I am painfully aware of the deficiencies of medinat Yisrael. In its current form, I, like you can not feel close to a government that behaves so cruelly towards my brothers. That is how I feel emotionally. My mind, however, tells me that the story of medinat Yisrael has so far been a success. And as I said above, I am optimistic that the situation will improve over the next 20 years. I can only pray that my brother and sisters in America will join me in building their lives in the Land Hashem gave us. In the long term, looking through the eyes of the Torah, it is the only correct decision to make. (and anyway, how is anyone going to afford tuition in the US?)

I still do not understand how anyone can look at the past 150 years and not see the beginning of the redemption process. It is the eitzat haYetzer to ignore the hand of Hashem in the unfolding of events. We have seen prophesies fulfilled, The restoration of language, Ingathering of exiles, the awakening of the land. We have seen open miracles in war and the restoration of Jewish strength. I can not believe that it was all a joke. That it is all a set up for another churban klali. Therefore I will continue to try and be the best Jew I can be on a personal level while doing all that I can to help in the building of a healthy Torah society in EY, where we all belong.

BeAhavat Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael.