Thursday, January 24, 2013

No Witch Hunts Against the Chareidim

Violations of the current Draft Deferment system has many citizens upset. There are many newly elected MKs in the Knesset with an agenda of change on this issue.  So I thought I'd offer some advice as to how we should approach this issue. It is good policy for fake scholars to not be allowed to abuse the system, but never at the expense of true Torah scholars.  Better a few bad apples sit, than one treasure be forced to do what is not best for him to do or for society that he do. It is not in the best interest for Israeli society to lose true Torah scholars.  Throwing out baby with the bath water is not the way to fix this. There is a difference between a holy Torah scholar and a draft dodger.  Finding the difference is a matter of policy crafting, but the only way to get to the optimum policy, is to start with some respect for the institution of the Yeshiva.

Now that Israel's population has grown significantly since the last major war, the urgency for everyone becoming a soldier is not the same.  Halachically speaking, if there are enough soldiers in the army already, there is no need to pull people out of yeshiva, even for a mandatory war, and therefore the reaction of the chareidi parties and the constituency that voted for them becomes understandable.

If I tried to tell you how to run your business, you would say, "Let me run my own business." So how can we say to Roshey Yeshiva, who are not just rabbis, but the greatest of rabbis, "Let me run your school." and then criticize them when they say, "Let me run my yeshiva."

Further, a civilized nation does not have to have one hundred percent of its population in the military.  The United States of America, for example, has less than two percent.  It is not unpatriotic to not be in the military. It is actually a sign of the victory of democracy over the forces that previously threatened to destroy it.

There are some who make no distinction between the idlers and the valued scholars. We are not talking about parasites, but of holy people carrying the burden for us. Just as active soldiers carry a security burden for the rest of us, so too yeshiva scholars carry a spiritual burden for us. The problem is there are some who don't do as they should. This has zero to do with those who do carry the burden for us.  There is a way to establish tests of those using the exemptions.  But the decision making process has to be in the hands of their Rabbis, not those who hate rabbis.  Does this make sense to you? Deal with the bad apples only, not with any that their Roshey Yeshiva say are exemplary and should be excused from alternate service.

A rav loves his talmidim like his children. Why should roshey yeshiva be frustrated with how their children are allowed to live their lives, when there is not a pressing military need in Israel for more soldiers in training.

A societal perception is not a military need, and thus why encourage bitul Torah when not everyone is cut out to be a soldier? Our most holy texts laud the spiritual value and protection to the nation that comes through Torah study. We can do nothing less than be humble before the Will of Heaven, and show extra care when bringing forth legislation on this crucial matter. Why fight with the Rabbis when we need their input the most to see that the right filters are set in place that will make everyone happy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Advantage of Full Annexation Over Partial

If the Bayit Yehudi / Jewish Home Party's platform is adopted by the Knesset, great care must be taken with hasbara PRIOR to implementation.  While it is politically less complex within Israel to do a partial annexation, it may create as many problems as it solves with the international community. Alienate political friends, distant political allies. Unless the hasbara is perfect.  Some annexation is better than none, as it increases security. But the partial annexation has its risks.

Two goals must come from any action in a dispute.  That is, one's methodology of handling the dispute must lead to the following results:
  1. An actual step towards conflict resolution, not a step backwards.
  2. An easy sound bite hasbara, thus ensuring the appearance of being honest and faithful towards the peace process itself, and thereby protecting the conflict resolution from any future claims of unfairness by either party. For it is not merely injustice but the appearance of injustice that can create discontent.

To me, a partial annexation is difficult to explain internationally. Why go for half measures when you can end this now, with a complete annexation in the context of a complete and peaceful solution.  Further, how can one climb the mountain of confusion should Israel unilaterally annex territory prior to a final peace solution? I do not have that answer, but it must be answered before implementing.

If you say, we do not want to rule over the Palestinians, someone could answer you, then why take their land? If you explain it is our land, then they could ask why are you giving it away? Either you are being foolishly selfless or you're admitting it is not your land.

Do you want to say that the land is G-d given to the Jewish people?  Then why not also say that there will never be peace if the goal is that the L-rd's Will should be denied. If policy does not recognize that it was ordained for the Jewish people to rule the entire land, then such a policy could never be successful even in a thousand years.

Of the two options of full or partial annexation, which is the easier argument for Israel to make...?

Partial Annexation:
Abbas is a potential peace partner who done us wrong, so we are acting tit-for-tat unilaterally and taking some land from the disputed territory that we say we have every right to. Now please do not dig your heels in deeper and become more determined for a Palestinian state "before Israel claims it all to themselves", as we are reserving the right to claim it all to ourselves in the future if the Palestinians do some act of terror so bad that it really, really, really gets us angry.  At that time we will decide if we should perform an act of absorption or expulsion to the Palestinians whom you still believe to be the victims in all this.


Full Annexation:
The question is not whether Israel has a right to the territories. There has never been a Palestinian country to claim the land with equal strength of status as the right of the Jewish people to their historic homeland. The question is, barring further incremental peacemaking gestures, with no realistic expectation of conflict resolution, does any realistic path to peace, that does not require expelling large populations of any ethnicity, exist?  Abbas is not a potential peace partner, and the alternatives to him are worse. Therefore we have no choice if we are to ensure improvement of Israeli security and Palestinian living conditions but to replace the terrorist leadership and begin the naturalization of the Palestinian people to allow them to join their brethren behind the Green Line in full and equal rights and with the same hope of economic opportunity as Israeli citizens. The road to bureaucratically filtering out terrorists from the populace may be long, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties, the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than the dark hatred the terrorists have tried to sow among both peoples. The goal of a united State of Israel is one of Peace, for all peoples West of the River Jordan, and the further delay of that day, can only serve the forces of hatred and terror.

So what is a sound bite hasbara that we can use if Israel implements full annexation?  This way is best for everyone.  Everyone Wins.  May it soon be so, by the grace of G-d.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peace Not Possible with Palestinian Authority, but Conflict Resolution Is Possible After PA is Gone

A word prior to the elections two weeks from today in Israel...

You can't expect a peace where everyone sits under his tree when one party is dedicated to jihad. You have to root out the terrorists and then what is left is people.  Just people. And no average person should be subjected to the rule of despots, dictators and or terrorists. It is clear that there is no better government in the Middle East for civil liberties than Israel. Combine that with the idea that a naturalized Palestinian Arab does not have to lose his home, and you have the best possible option for the Palestinian people.  The annexation of all the disputed territories.  Best possible remaining option, we should say, as the theory of a Two State solution has clearly and utterly failed.

Did the USA and UK ask Iraq post Saddam Hussein to give up land for a new Kurdistan? No. Neither should any nation ask Israel to give up its land for a Palestine.  Stop abandoning the Palestinian right to live in a free country, for the free right to form a terrorist state.  One is sensible and kind. One is foolhardy and evil.

Now that the Palestinians have begun unilateral moves hoping to establish sovereignty, it's important to change the way we treat the Palestinian Authority. You are either for Israel or for a Palestinian State. You cannot seriously support both any longer, the illegitimacy of that fallacy is clear.  Its one or the other.  I don't care even if you are a voter in the State of Israel.  You are voting against the Zionist project if you are trying to support a Palestinian State West of the Jordan River.

Stop opposing Zionism, stop supporting a Palestinian State. Start supporting an end to the conflict that will allow the IDF to run security for all peoples West of the River Jordan.

There are those who support the annexation of "Area C" in response to PA's UN bid. If you wish to annex the Jewish settlements to increase the security of the people living there, by all means.  Better to annex something than nothing at all.  Yet if you wish to annex as a reaction to the PA UN move, that path is not necessary, when a fuller mode of conflict resolution is available.  Plus, if in the context of an Oslo term such an annexation is done, it still implies that other areas West of the River Jordan are to remain up for sale to the anti Zionist Palestinian Authority. That is unacceptable.  As long as Israel holds on to the Oslo Accords, and its terminology, peace will be far away.  The Oslo Accords are idolatry, and its terminology the dust of idols.

When the first intifada began, and Israel decided to ignore the abuse of the Oslo Accords, the Oslo Accords were no longer a marriage document, but a bill of enslavement to a millstone of terror, commonly known as the Palestinian Authority.  The reactions not just of terrorists, but many of those who wished to be kind to the cruel with the blood of the innocent.  Two decades of sacrifices for a peace that the PA itself does not want. All these have removed the moral right of anyone to continue to call the Oslo Accords, a peace agreement. 

From the first Intifada, by International Law it can be argued that the Oslo Accords became defunct. Yet government after government after government have told us, we have to strive for a peace that is not peace.  Avoid admission of the truth of the desolation caused by the Oslo Accords, lest that lead to true peace.

Do those who supported the Oslo Accords in the 1990's now weep, "I did not give away the bride, Israel, to be abused forever by her husband, the PA. Why does she not flee from his side?"

We have to annul this relationship with the PA, shatter the idol of the Oslo Accords once and for all, and then return to our first national husband, the G-d of Israel.

Let the next government of Israel announce: "Though the Oslo Accords were well intended, they were violated a thousand ways and made illegitimate and unholy.  We do not accept the legitimacy of continued support of the Palestinian Authority and we oppose any effort to legalize that failed entity. We will continue to seek to live in peace with our Palestinian neighbors.  But if it is to be done, West of the River Jordan, it can only be done beneath the democratic flag of Israel."  May it soon be so, by the grace of G-d.