Much as I have tried, it has been hard to get away from the carnage that happened at a Har Nof Shul in Jerusalem last week . The image of bloodied bodies draped in Taleisim… the thought of being hacked to death with hatchets and knives attacked from behind while in prayer… the fact that it was all so close to home in the sense that I have extended family there. I know that place. In fact I attended a Bar Mitzvah of that extended family in that Shul just a couple of years ago.
The horror of this event defies description. By all accounts the four Jews that were killed were gentle people that would not harm a fly. And then there was the Druze police officer who gave his life in the line of duty protecting the Jewish people.
There is no word for those who did this other than savages. I don’t care what their motive was. These people are no different than any other mass murderers.
The question is, what do we do about this problem? I am at a complete loss for any answers. Not that there is a shortage of answers floating around. There isn’t. But they are all terrible. Some worse than others. But all bad. There are no good options for the people of Israel that will give them the answer to what surely must be their most fervent prayer: Living in peace without fear of being attacked, murdered, maimed or kidnapped. All in the most violent of ways imaginable to man.
There is not a sane member of Jewish people that doesn’t crave that. The only question is, how is it achieved? I don’t see any reasonable answer.
A 2 state solution? You cannot make peace with Palestinians as long as there are people among them who will use any advantage handed to them to further damage us in the above mentioned ways. Giving the Palestinians a state right next to Israel will just turn the West Bank into another Gaza. Not because the average Palestinian necessarily wishes it. But because of the ultimate control taken by the religious fanatics of Hamas and other fundamentalist Muslims.
The Satmar option of dismantling the State of Israel and handing it over to Palestinian control is an even worse prescription for death and destruction. Imagine what a dismantled Israel that became the unified State of Palestine under the rule of Fundamentalist Islam would do to us. I have little doubt that there would be unprecedented carnage against the Jewish people – the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Holocaust . Lest there be any doubt about radical Islam being capable of that – I refer you to ISIS.
The status quo isn’t really working out that well either… as the events in Har Nof and elsewhere in the last couple of weeks amply demonstrate.
But there is one option that is about as abhorrent as it can get. An option that hearkens back to the era of Rabbi Meir Kahane. I can understand the frustration. I can even understand the logic. But treating every Arab like he was the reincarnation of Charles Manson is not only immoral it wouldn’t even work. And yet this is apparently what Rabbi Pruzansky seems to feel should be done.
The fact is that not every Arab is a Nazi. (Rabbi Pruzansky seems to like using Holocaust imagery – so I’m going with it.) Not every Arab is interested in pursuing an unattainable goal of throwing the Jews into the sea. Much as some of them would prefer it. They realize the Jewish people are in the holy land to stay. I would be willing to bet that although most Palestinians would like it if we left – they realize that this is not going to happen. In most cases, therefore, they would prefer to just get on with their lives without the indignities they must suffer because of Israel’s legitimate security needs.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky recent blog post (since removed) is filled with suggestions about how to handle the ‘Arab question’. I would not bother commenting on it were it not available for all to read in a cached copy linked in a Times of Israel article. But now that it is out there for all to read, I have no choice but to condemn his words.
What he has written is a Chilul HaShem of major proportion. He probably wrote in in the heat of anger after what happened in Har Nof. He probably removed it because of all the flack he no doubt got about it. But cyberspace is unforgiving that way. Which means it is out there for all to read. When a prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi says things like this, it places a stain upon us all as a moral people.
I’m not even sure Rabbi Pruzansky regrets his characterizations of Arabs nor his recommendations in how to deal with them. But I hope he does and not only retracts it – but apologizes publicly. How bad was it?
For starters, one can only guess what he meant by saying ‘many things can be done that should not be in print’. But it must be a lot worse than the things he does say in print. Which are mostly terrible! Such as the following (partial list):
Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished.
Uproot the Dome of the Rock.
Destroy the Muqata in Ramallah.
Incarcerate “President” Abbas as a war criminal.
Kill terrorists instead of capturing them.
Cremate their bodies and perhaps bury their ashes with deceased pigs.
Deported their family members to the Muslim country of their choice.
Shoot anyone who riots or throws a stone at a Jew – with real bullets.
Does Rabbi Pruzansky believe that this is in any way moral? Does he really think doing these kinds of things would bring peace to the Jewish people? Does he really believe the world will look the other way while Israel shoots and kills stone throwers? Does he think he will generate anything but unprecedented world anger and condemnation from the world against Israel with such acts?
Does he think that there won’t be a response from the world that will make the sanctions against Iran look like a trip to Disney World? Does he think the United States will cheer and applaud Israel for doing any of these things? Does he think the United States will continue to supply Israel with its most sophisticated weapons and finance defense systems like Iron Dome?
Does he think that the 6 million Jews in Israel can be part of the family of nations if it is seen as mimicking some of the acts of a genocidal nation like Nazi Germany?
Rabbi Pruzansky may have been well intentioned in the sense of protecting the Jewish people. But he could not be more wrong. Not only is it immoral; not only is it a Chilul HaShem; not only wouldn’t it work… it would do the exact opposite. It would destroy us.