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« What's in a Name? | Main | American Exceptionalism »

July 12, 2006



Last time we saw you, De wine was red!

Rubin and Gershowitz of mEF had an incitefull column yesterday:

"Further undercutting the fight against terrorism has been Western officials' desire for a peaceful solution regardless of provocation. Even Jerusalem's no-nonsense approach to terrorism has frayed in the face of equivocation and compromise.[8] Any solution short of a violent response to terrorism is akin to rewarding it.

Rewarding violence always backfires. On May 25, 2000, the day after Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, Shaikh Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah declared, "The road to Palestine and freedom is the road of the resistance and the intifada!"[9] While European and U.S. officials hoped and predicted that withdrawal would curb violence on the south Lebanon-Israeli border, the reality was far different. Hezbollah refused to accept the UN ruling that Israel was in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 425 and, instead, simply added new demands.[10]

More importantly, the precipitous withdrawal demonstrated that Western democracies were weak and would concede to violence. Two months after Israel' pullback, Arafat turned down Israel's offer of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, on 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza and three percent of Israel proper and launched a war designed to strike not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but also in Israel. And so was born the second Intifada. The impact of the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon went beyond Israel and its neighbors, though. The willingness of a Western democracy to make concessions to improvised explosive devices and mortar attacks has subsequently inspired terrorists in Iraq, Turkey, and India.

Unfortunately, the West has not learned its lesson. While Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon argued that Israel's unilateral disengagement was a move for peace, various Palestinian and terrorist groups portrayed Israel's withdrawal as a victory. Former Palestinian Authority security chief Mohammed Dahlan explained, "Hizbullah turned Israel's retreat from southern Lebanon into victory. The withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip and some West Bank settlements is one of the most important achievements of the Intifada."[11] Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri similarly proclaimed, "All the Israeli statements about a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip are due to the Palestinian resistance operations. We are completely confident that as the Hezbollah Organization managed to the Israeli forces out of Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance will kick them out of the Palestinian territories, and we will continue our resistance."[12] Hamas put a video on its official website which showed footage of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza accompanying singing of "The army of the Jews has been defeated. The home and homeland is returning through blood. Not through negotiations, surrender or promises." The "homeland is returning" is sung over a photo of Haifa.[13]

Indeed, like the aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, the Israeli army's Gaza evacuation promises to spark more violence. Already Hezbollah has set up a forward base in Gaza from which to operate cells in the West Bank.[14] On March 2, 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raised concern of al-Qaeda infiltration into Gaza and the West Bank.[15] Indeed, while some U.S. and European officials believe that Israeli occupation of disputed territories is a root cause of terror, the fact is that their prescription of more concession and/or withdrawal will increase rather than decrease international terrorism."




As a young person growing up in New York City, I was a member of Brit Trumpeldor of America, better known as the Zionist Youth Movement Betar, founded by the great Zionist leader, Ze''ev Jabotinsky. When I joined Betar at the age of 12, every potential member was required to enroll in the Tironut program. Tironut, or basic training, as it were, was an intensive series of lectures and seminars covering a wide range of topics including Jewish history, the history of the Zionist movement and the glorious legacy of Betar and the Jewish underground that valiantly battled the British during the mandatory regime, prior to the creation of the State of Israel.

I learned about a young Jew from Poland named Shalom Tabachnik, a/k/a Shlomo Ben Yosef, a member of Betar who came to live in the land of Israel and who settled on the northern settlement of Rosh Pina. On Thursday, April 21, 1938, the 20th day of Nissan 5698, Ben Yosef and two Betar colleagues attempted to defend the settlement of Rosh Pina from an impending Arab attack, emanating from the neighboring Arab village of Djani. An automobile carrying Arabs approached Rosh Pina. Ben Yosef and his two fellow Betarim stepped out on the road and tried to stop the automobile. A single shot was fired and the Arabs fled in panic.

A few hours after the incident the three young men were arrested by the British police. They gave themselves up without any struggle. "Despite the fact that not a single drop of blood was shed at Rosh Pina and despite the fact that the police knew very well that the three young men had only fired into the air in order to discourage the Arabs from passing through the settlement, the British decided to create a big "terrorist" incident out of the Rosh Pina affair. The very fact that Jews had resolved to withstand an Arab attack made them feel afraid. Their plan to frighten Jews from coming to Palestine would be endangered if Jews were to fight back. They knew very well that the Jews could put an end to the Arab "revolts" in a few days." (Triumph on the Gallows, Itzhak Gurion, 1950)

On June 29, 1938 Ben Yosef was hanged on the gallows by the British authorities. His last words in a conversation with friends were, "Havlagah" (self-restraint) is fatal."

Today I also thought of the brave and courageous defender of the settlement Tel Chai. I thought of Yosef Trumpeldor, for whom Betar is named. I thought of his efforts to defend Tel Chai against Arab attacks. No stranger to military conflicts, Trumpeldor was the highest ranking Jewish officer in the Czar's army during the Russo-Japanese war of 1905. I thought of him and of his last words when he was gunned down by an Arab bullet while defending the settlement in 1920.

Today, I thought of the last words of Shlomo Ben Yosef and Yosef Trumpeldor when I read of Katyusha rocket attacks on cities in northern Israel. Besides Nahariya, it was reported that Rosh Pina and Tel Chai had been hit by rocket fire and that the airport in Rosh Pina was shut down. I thought of Shlomo Ben Yosef and Yosef Trumpeldor when I heard Ehud Olmert's response to the rocket attacks by the Syrian backed Hizbollah militia in Lebanon. According to a news report from Arutz Sheva, "Olmert was clear that the multi-pronged attack, which involved ground forces as well as Katyusha rockets, was not an act of terror, but “an act of war” and said the Israeli response would be “very restrained but very, very painful.”

Seems like the word restraint keeps rearing its head. The Associated Press reported that, "U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for restraint. "We would not want to see an expansion, an escalation, of conflict in the region," he said. Mr. Annan was joined by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who was quoted by Associated Press as saying, "All sides must act with restraint to resolve this incident peacefully and to protect innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure." If we've learned anything from this two front war that threatens to explode like a powder keg, we've learned that the calls for restraint from world leaders only apply to Israel. Seems like the age old double standard concerning the actions of Israel are in full swing.

While the State of Israel engages Hizbollah terrorists on its northern border and Hamas terrorists on its southern border, let us remember the words of the young Betari from Rosh Pina. Let us remember the words of this simple Jew whose courage and bravery move us to tears. Let us remember the actions and examples that Yosef Trumpeldor set for his people and his beloved nation of Israel, so many years ago.

It is these axioms that must shape our destiny in the current military conflict. We must address the world clearly and unequivocally. We must shout from the rooftops, the words of Shlomo Ben Yosef. Yes, it is true. Self restraint is fatal. We know that self restraint only emboldens our enemies. We know that the Arab enemy mocks and ridicules Israel when self restraint is elevated to the level of a religious commandment. We know that only swift action without trepidation or hesitation can ensure our preservation.

The facts are clear and cannot be debated. Three Israeli soldiers are being held captive by our Arab enemy and eight Israeli soldiers lay dead as a result from the brazen attacks from Hizbollah. Jewish settlements, towns and cities are being barraged by Katyusha rocket attacks on our northern front and continued Kassam rocket attacks are being staged by our Arab enemy In Gaza. This is the time to throw off the yoke of "restraint". Our survival and preservation as a people and nation are at stake. Now is the time conquer our proverbial nemesis, better known as fear of world opinion. Now is the time to reach out to the Almighty G-d of Israel.

Now is the time to know that Hashem marches into battle with us. As Jews, we are never alone. Hashem will be with us, if only we allow Him to be. If only we bend our collective necks to the yoke of Heaven and walk in His ways and remain faithful to His commandments. Hashem commands us to show no mercy on our enemies. We are commanded to fear only G-d and to treat our enemies accordingly. To engage in bold and decisive military actions that will permanently disable Hizbollah and Hamas. If we can summon up the strength to quash our own egos and accept Hashem's dominion, the battle will be fought for us.

On this 17th day of Tammuz, may our prayers reach the Almighty G-d of Israel and may He protect His nation Israel.

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