These words were written in an op-ed piece by our devoted Editor-in-Chief, David Horovitz, a man long renowned for seeking peace and pursuing it.
Were I to embellish upon his words, the good editorial staff at “Times of Israel” would reject my comments as being rascist and inciting. Possibly they will inform me that they cannot publish today’s article.
What is one to do? How many more tears of anguish need to be shed when we read every day of more stabbings, more murders, more loss of life of young and old innocent people? Shall we be forced, like citizens in Brussels, to remain confined to our homes, not permitted to shop in our supermarkets, unable to fill up our cars at gas stations, forbidden to use public transportation, dare not to walk to or from our synagogues? Shall we, like the bears, hibernate until a better season frees us from the bitterness of a bloody winter?
David Horovitz, as a man of peace, proposes that Arab schools and Muslim mosques cleanse themselves of hatred of Jews, of denying the ancient right of a Jew to dwell under his fig tree and vine without being afraid, to abandon centuries of an educational system and religious habits which teach and preach death and destruction to Isaac’s descendants in favor of the supremacy of the children of Ishmael.
As one who has taught for fifty-two years in universities, I am constantly reminded of the Aramaic term “girsa d’yankuta”. We remember best the things we heard and saw in our earliest childhood. A five-year old boy in Ramallah who hears daily in his home, outside with friends, inside his mosque, that the Jews and Zionists are enemies and therefore they must be killed, shall he at age twenty-five think differently?
We are now what we were in our earliest years. Jews have been taught to be followers of Aaron, brother of Moses, an “ohev shalom v’rodef shalom”… a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace. And where has it gotten us during the past century living closely to an Arab population which despises us?
Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20 in enumerating the aseret ha dibrot, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments have often translated the sixth commandment incorrectly. It does not state “lo taharog”…thou shalt not kill, but rather “lo tirtzach”…thou shalt not murder.
We are permitted to kill in self-defense, we are permitted to kill in waging war, we are permitted to kill to prevent others from being killed. But we are forbidden to commit wanton murder out of hate, revenge, desire to steal property or wealth from another.
While Arabs murder us, we kill in return to save life.
If I were to advise my fellow Israeli citizens to shoot to kill any Arab who approaches them, I would be guilty of acting as they act. But I do urge my friends and neighbors to carry small weapons when they travel inter or intra city or to large open-air markets as a means of self-protection. God forbid that they should have to use them, but it offers a sense of comfort to know that they are prepared if faced with threatening danger.
I like David Horovitz’s words: “the fight needs to be physically taken to the enemy”. It is not unjust to demolish homes of terrorists. It is not unjust to revoke Israeli citizenship of Arabs who seek to join ISIS forces in Syria. It is not unjust to declare curfews in neighborhoods which harbor young kids and men bent on searching out a Jew for a stabbing.
How long must we endure this undeclared war against us? The Haggadah of Pesach reminds us:
“avadim hayinu, achshav bnai chorin”… once we were slaves but now we are free men.
Where is our freedom? Are we free to live our lives as we sing in our national anthem…”lihiyot am chofshi b’artzenu, b’eretz Tziyon v’Yerushalayim”… to be a free people in OUR OWN land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem?
David Horovitz is correct. We absolutely need to take the war physically to our enemy.
And may Almighty God grant us the victory of an eternal peace for which we pray.