Moshe Lichtman
A Proud Religious Zionist

An Open Letter to My Fellow Jews in Israel

They say that we are the smartest people on earth, but sometimes I wonder.  Maybe we’re book smart, but when it comes to common sense and straight thinking, I’m not always so sure.

For the umpteenth time since I’ve lived here, we’re on our way to the polls once again.  Something’s been bothering me all these years, but I always assumed the problem would just work itself out.  I now realize that it won’t, and I can no longer remain silent.  Someone has to say it like it is.  I do not claim to be a brilliant strategist, seasoned politician, or polished writer; I’m just a simple Jew who wants things to get better here (even though I think they’re pretty great as is).

Let me start with a quick overview of recent history:

In the late 1980s, the Arabs living alongside us in this beautiful Land began what they called an intifada. They threw rocks at cars, protested violently, and caused suffering and unrest in several parts of the country.

(Now, of course, the conflict began way before this, and its origins need to be studied carefully.  But for the purpose of this letter, the First Intifada is where the “story” begins.)

Eventually, certain politicians came up with a plan to put a stop to the riots.  Breaking the law of the time, they held secret meetings with exiled leaders of the “Palestinian” Arabs (members of a bona fide terrorist organization called the PLO).  Their idea was to bring these people back from exile, put them in charge of the local Arab population, give them arms so that they could establish a police force, and grant them autonomy over certain territories inhabited mostly by Arabs.

(We all know that the plan failed miserably, but hind-sight is 20-20.  I personally opposed the move – mainly for ideological reasons, but also because I didn’t believe it would work in practice – but I honestly believe that the architects of the plan originally had pure motives and truly thought that it would bring peace to the Land.)

Soon enough, Jewish blood started flowing in the streets of our cities.  Instead of throwing rocks at our cars, our enemies began shooting us with the guns we gave them to keep the peace.  Instead of using the autonomy we gave them to improve the lives of their charges, they began smuggling in more powerful and destructive weapons, to be used in terror attacks against innocent men, women, and children.  Thousands of Jews lost their lives over the next few years, and thousands more were permanently crippled.

All throughout this painful time, the advocates of this plan never thought that, perhaps, they were wrong.  They always blamed our side and said that it must be because we are not giving our enemies enough land or enough freedom.  In this way, more treaties were signed, more land relinquished, and more Jewish lives lost or forever ruined.  Let the following examples suffice: 1) the Second Intifada, after the Israeli government offered “only” 96% of the disputed territories; 2) the hasty withdrawal from Lebanon, which eventually resulted in the Second Lebanon War, with its many casualties; 3) and worst of all, the Disengagement from Gaza and Northern Samaria, which led to the rise of Hamas and several military operations (or wars).

So here’s my question: How can there be even one Jew in this country who is planning on voting for a party that advocates the continued implementation of this plan?  How can anyone with even average intelligence not see how devastating it has been to our country?

Perhaps a parable will make things clearer:  A man in his forties begins suffering frequent headaches.  They’re not so intense, but they’re pretty constant, so he decides to see a doctor.  The doctor, who’s actually been studying this particular ailment, has a theory as to why it happens and has even developed an experimental drug to help cure it.  Even though the drug hasn’t yet been approved by the Ministry of Health, he convinces his patient to give it a try.  Shorty after the first dose, the patient’s health starts deteriorating.  You see, instead of weakening the virus that causes the illness, the drug actually strengthens it.  Nevertheless, the patient continues to go to the same doctor and follow his instructions.  After all, the doctor assured him that the unpleasant side affects are part of the process – a necessary evil – and that in the end everything will work out.  First, the patient loses hearing in one of his ears; next, his eyesight becomes blurred, and then he develops a speech impediment.  But still, he remains loyal to his doctor.  Just to make sure, though, he consults with international experts, who confirm his feelings that… he is doing the right thing and should continue the treatment no matter what.  To make a long story short: in the end, our friend cannot see, hear, speak, or walk…  And, by the way, his headaches never went away.

Any normal, straight thinking person would describe this patient as stupid, foolish, moronic, idiotic…  Perhaps we can understand why he tried the drug in the first place, but only an absolute fool would continue taking it after seeing its results.

Similarly, after seeing the disastrous results of the “peace” process that began two decades ago, how could anyone in his or her right mind continue following its ideals?  How can there be even one member of our astute nation who is still willing to vote for a party that promotes this agenda?  Better yet, how can there even be such parties?  Are people really that clueless of the facts?  Aren’t politicians embarrassed to admit that they espouse an idea that has been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be an absolute failure and extremely detrimental to our national existence?

What do the left-wing politicians always answer in their defense?  “Well, let’s hear your solution.  You don’t have any better ideas.”  Maybe that’s true, but what’s better – to follow a failed and dangerous plan, or to play it safe and admit that there’s no magic solution?

I am not claiming that the right-wing parties are perfect (far from it!), and I understand that there are many other crucial issues that need to be addressed (like the economy, education, social equality, etc.), but let’s face it, the issue of how to deal with our enemies is the most important one and the key to all the others.  If we would stop spending so much precious time and money on “magical” solutions that are clearly doomed for failure, and concentrate, instead, on the other problems at hand, we might actually solve some of them.  In the meantime, we need to let the Arabs know that the moment they are willing to recognize our rights to this Land, abandon their violent ways, and compromise a bit, we will gladly sit down with them and talk about how to achieve true and lasting peace.  Until then, we should pay more attention to our other woes and invest all of our intellectual and financial resources into solving them.

You might ask: hasn’t the right wing been in power for the past few years, and look how little they’ve accomplished!  In response, I would point out that, sadly, a significant part of the “right” wing has been acting, all these years, like the left wing, trying to appease the left-leaning media, the nations of the world, and our sworn enemies, instead of doing what is best for our people.  But more importantly, has the right really been in power?  It has never truly been given the chance to govern as it sees fit, because it has always had to share the leadership with strange bedfellows – parties that only marginally agree with its ideals.  It has never been given a clear enough majority to implement its true ideologies, and the time has come to change that and elect parties that will not repeat the same mistakes that have brought us to our present predicament.

One more point before I close:  Please think hard and long before wasting your vote on one of the following: 1) The newest quick-fix, “centrist” party that bursts onto the scene with great fanfare, but eventually peters out (think: Centre Party, Kadima, Pensioners, etc.).  These types of parties never make a lasting impression, and one should therefore not be fooled by their fancy slogans and promises for change.  2) Politicians who switch parties (and often ideologies) more often than a chameleon changes its color.  3) Parties that have very little chance of crossing the minimum threshold.  It’s simply a wasted vote.

So let us, once and for all, show the political establishment, the world, and, most importantly, ourselves that we truly are an intelligent nation and elect a government that will not only abandon undeniably destructive policies but will also – hopefully – set us on the path to prosperity, national strength, and normalcy.  Otherwise, I can pretty much guarantee you that our headaches will only get worse.

About the Author
Rabbi Moshe Lichtman has semichah from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and Yeshiva University. He also holds an MS in Jewish Education. He made aliyah in 1991 and has taught in several yeshivot and seminaries. He is best known for his landmark translation of "Eim HaBanim Semeichah" and for his highly popular "Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah." He resides in Beit Shemesh with his wife and eight children.
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