Restoring Our Captivity: An Open Letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Like so many in Eretz Yisrael at this time, I am anguished about the fate of these three boys kidnapped by terrorists.

I am an almost 50 year-old immigrant from America who returned to mitzvah observance about seventeen years ago. When a person makes the journey from secularism to faithfulness to God and His law, so many puzzles become clear. It is one of the great satisfactions of my life, that I possess a clarity and peace that eluded me in my youth. I sat in the audience for the Jerusalem screening of Judeophobe a few years ago and had more insight into the nature of anti-Semitism than the media experts seated on the stage. I believe my thoughts would assist you too, in making sense of the conundrum in which your nation dwells. I will try to express my thoughts as briefly as possible.

The double standard with which the world judges Israel exists because the nations know intuitively that we are called to a higher Law. They cannot bear a secular Israel which offends them as it offends the God who created them, even if they can’t express it in words. It is revealed in the unique and unparalleled excoriation to which Israel is subject. You, Prime Minister, a valiant, good man, cannot exercise your authority in international diplomacy, because you are not keeping Torah law. You cannot invoke the promises of God who gave the Jewish people the land of Israel, because, with all due respect, you do not live as a Jew is commanded. You dare not draw attention to your spiritual failures. Because of your secularism, and the shame of hypocrisy, you cannot assert the only authoritative, indisputable claim we have to this land. God, the only word which can retain absolute authority in this post-modern world of moral relativism has therefore become taboo for the very nation that should be teaching the world about Him. The banished “G-word,” is our only strength. Until you and our nations’ leaders are keeping God’s law, you will be too ashamed to assert His dominion, and Israel will continue to be treated like the world’s scapegoat that she has become.

Another consequence of your lack of faithfulness to Torah law is the fear that you retain for waging war against our enemies. When you live in concert with the will of your Creator, you no longer fear the nations. You have an unassailable confidence because your will is co-signed by the Creator of the universe. Being criticized by the nations is no longer a threat, and you do not feel you have to curry favor with them. We are all pained by the abduction of these three teens, but we feel that you hold yourself back militarily from taking the steps that would protect us all and possibly gain the release of these boys, because you are too afraid of what the nations will say. I acknowledge gratefully that with an admirable combination of self-effacement and principled leadership, you have succeeded in steering your nation and surviving the thieves’ den of world politics. We owe some of the quiet in our streets to your determination to protect your nation. But giving our enemies the latitude that you do because you fear the criticism of the nations, leaves us all vulnerable to terror.

The only behavior which would resolve this quandary is teshuva. When our nation is keeping the laws of the Torah, we will have our will, confidence and self-esteem restored. We will be able to say unequivocally before the nations, “this is our land and we are entitled to it.” It goes without saying that God will bring about our tranquility which we cannot achieve with our own might, and like the passage in Bechukosai with which I know you are familiar, “I will provide peace in the land, and you will lie down with none to frighten you.” (Leviticus 26:6)

Do you see how this is the missing piece to the whole puzzle? You are a father, a patriot, a Zionist and a Jew. I know you grieve for the fate of these boys and feel the anguish of their parents. Might you consider following in the footsteps of our noble ancestors, the consummate warrior David HaMelech and Yehuda ben Yaakov, who were prepared to acknowledge the truth? Their humility, honesty, integrity and courage are the measure of true kingship.

Imagine the hush and awe on the world stage if you would don a kippa and say before the nations, “People of Israel, I was wrong. I thought we could win the war on terror with our own strength. I thought I didn’t need God, but I was wrong. We must fight our enemies with armaments and with our Bible.” The world would be as silent and reverential as it was at Har Sinai in the presence of absolute truth. You deserve greatness, power and a truly eternal legacy.

Because you are a man of principle, and great courage, I believe you are equal to this. If God is telling us in so many ways, you will not be safe in your land until you’re doing My will, doesn’t your genuine dedication to Israel’s security absolutely mandate your taking the steps to bring us out of Galut (Exile)? To being the first Prime Minister to begin the process of restoring the grandeur and reach of ancient Israel?

I know this sounds naïve and romantic but I actually believe it’s true. The nations are just waiting to hear these words from us. The world is in the sorry, wretched state it’s in (hedonistic, nihilistic, violent, and broken) because the Jewish people aren’t fulfilling our place in it. Like Yonah at Nineveh, we have fled from our duty to be the world’s prophets. The nations need us and our wisdom and our access to the word of God to hasten their own redemption, and restore their innate human dignity. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they hate us so much?

I leave you to ponder these thoughts and I wish you well.

I thank you for your profound dedication to bringing Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim and Eyal ben Iris Teshurah safely back to Am Yisrael.

May our God and Redeemer have mercy on these boys, protect all who are searching for the captives, and fulfill the prayers of klal Yisroel to free them immediately.

With prayers for your safety and prosperity,

Mrs. Rivkah Schwab

About the Author
Rivkah Schwab is a wife, mother and writer living in Jerusalem.
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