Esor Ben-Sorek
Esor Ben-Sorek

Milchama L’Shalom

The very title, “Milchama L’Shalom,” sounds curious and out of order. It means “a war for peace”.

Is such a thing possible?

On one hand, milchama, war, is defined by death and destruction in battle. On another unusual hand, it can be a war meant to end all wars in future, ergo… a war fought to sustain and preserve peace.

We are presently engaged in a war… a war which, in our prayers, will lead to an end to all wars but in reality, we see nothing but rampant hatred and destruction and death.

Two peoples are fighting this war. Two relatives, both children of Abraham’s children, Isaac and Ishmael.

The battleground is in Zion (that is a name for holy Jerusalem) and in the holiest place in Jerusalem, the site of the Temple Mount for Jews and the Al Aqsa mosque for Muslims.. a place claimed by and revered by both peoples.

At the end of our 1967 war, we agreed to permit the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to have full control of the Temple mount. It was, in my opinion, a grave mistake whose price has been too high.

Jews, under agreement with Jordan, are forbidden to worship on the Temple mount. Those who do so are beaten by the Muslim Waqf guards and are arrested by Israeli police.

There has never been an attempt by the Israeli government to retake control of the mount. To do so would begin the greatest war of destruction. Millions of Muslims from all over the Muslim world would descend upon us in their great numbers creating the largest bloodshed which Jerusalem has seen since biblical times.

One source of the current war is Israel’s attempt to evict Arab residents living in East Jerusalem and West Bank area homes… places where Jews had lived prior to the 1948 War of independence and from where they were forced out of their homes by the armies of the Kingdom of Jordan which then took complete control of the areas for nineteen years… 1948-1967, until returned to Israel by the brave soldiers who liberated Jerusalem from Jordanian control in 1967.

If, after Israel’s victory in 1967, Arabs Muslims who were living in Jewish-owned homes were evicted and forced to return to Jordan, there would no doubt not have been a war in Jerusalem today. But acting with force after fifty-four years makes little or no sense whatsoever. 1967 was the time to evict the Muslim residents…. not 2021.

After the Jordanian defeat in 1967, they would have been powerless to react. Now they are in a war.

Missiles are flying through the skies from Gaza. Hamas, aiding its Muslim brothers in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, are daily sending missiles to Israel. Most of the missiles, fortunately, fall into open areas. Some fall on fields planted by Israeli farmers. No homes nor residents in the south of our country have, fortunately, not been killed or destroyed.

But living under constant fear and tension, schools closed to protect children, train travel stopped to cities in the south, sirens being sounded in the dead of night, families fleeing to public shelters and comforting frightened young children and the elderly, is another result of Israel’s attempts to evict Arab residents from the Sheikh Jarrah and other areas in east Jerusalem.

One reader of our newspaper asked why Israel was obligated to return Jewish-owned homes and property to the original Jewish owners and, on the other hand, why Israel does not return Arab homes and property captured since 1948. Why the geese and not the ganders are responsible?

I have often drooled at the magnificence of west Jerusalem’s palatial estates once built and owned by Arabs in pre-1948 Palestine… palaces costing millions of dollars to build and to maintain… palaces abandoned by their extremely wealthy owners who fled from Jerusalem hoping to return after a Jordanian victory against the new Jewish State of Israel. If my memory is correct, one such glorious palaces is now the home of the Belgian embassy.

We do not return our legal property to Arabs nor do they return our property captured in their wars.

We are fighting a war for peace… milchama l’shalom. Is such a thing possible?

The battlefield should not be on the soil of mother Jerusalem. Rather it should be fought on the treacherous soil of the Gaza strip. I am opposed to wars but a war for our peace is another matter.

This is a war which we can live with. One which we must live with for the sake of our peace.

Ain B’raira… we have no other choice.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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