Israel Report

February 2002         

Heaven Help Us

By Michael Freund - February 13, 2002
While our esteemed leaders are busy squabbling among themselves, the senseless murder of Jews sadly continues unabated.

A young kibbutznik is brutally stabbed to death while walking in a Jerusalem park, an elderly immigrant from Ukraine is shot in the head and killed by Palestinian terrorists in Samaria, and two young women are gunned down in Beersheba. Each lethal terror attack destroys an innocent life, devastating untold numbers of friends and loved ones and leaving an indelible scar on the nation's psyche.

After enduring 2,000 years of suffering and persecution, the Jewish people finally returned to their national home, only to be greeted by still more hatred and bloodshed. We tried to leave the traumas of the Exile behind, but they have nefariously followed us home.

I wish I could say that our present leadership inspires me with hope and optimism for the future. But I cannot. Our prime minister is aloof and inscrutable, failing to offer a compelling vision of how he plans to restore a sense of security to our daily lives. Our foreign minister is even worse, effectively sleepwalking his way through life as he fails to distinguish between fantasy and reality. He refuses to bury Oslo, even as Oslo buries the country.

The Jewish people deserve better than this. With all our faults - the infighting, the jealousy, the senseless hatred - I refuse to accept the old adage that "a nation gets the leaders it deserves."

I am no theologian, but I think it is time for the people of Israel to recognize that the horrors being perpetrated against us are a wake-up call. God, in His great mercy, plucked this nation out of the smoldering embers of Europe and miraculously gave us the State of Israel in 1948. Less than two decades later, in 1967, God empowered our armed forces and led them to the most stunning military victories of the modern era, liberating Judea, Samaria and Gaza from foreign occupation and reuniting Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty.

But rather than appreciating these Divine gifts, we, as a nation have done virtually everything imaginable to dispose of them.

The Oslo Accords marked the culmination of this trend. Defying two millennia of Jewish yearnings for Zion, a handful of men sought to withdraw from Jewish territory and retreat from Jewish destiny. Their perilous experiment signified more than just a dubious diplomatic dice-game. It was an arrogant attempt, in the words of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, to "re-gift" the Land of Israel - to repackage a present that was received from someone special in order to give it to somebody else, in this case the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the consequences of this short-sighted move continue to explode in our towns and cities.

With no apparent way out of this mess, and with our government in disarray, perhaps it is time we turn to some age-old solutions for our contemporary problems.

During periods of crisis throughout our turbulent history, the Jewish people's most potent weapon has always been our faith. Our enemies have always outnumbered us, as they do now, and they have always seemed poised to threaten our very existence, as they so gleefully declare their goal to be today.

We have put our trust in agreements and accords, treaties and truces. We have reassured ourselves that all will be well so long as America is behind us. We have become convinced that if only we elect the right man for the job, as Ariel Sharon seemed to be just a year ago, then all our problems will quickly disappear.

Each of these assumptions has been thoroughly rattled and refuted. For despite all the agreements we have signed, and all of the international support we have received, the fact is that Jews continue to be murdered in Israel, and our government seems helpless to stop it.

Since we are fighting for the Holy Land, perhaps it is time we start resorting to some sacred solutions. Let us stop putting all of our faith in man and his ephemeral institutions, and instead put it back where it belongs - in the God of Israel.

The nation right now is united in the crosshairs of our enemies. If, somehow, we can turn that unity around, and garner together the spiritual resources of this great nation in an outburst of devotion to the Land of Israel and the God who gave it to us, then our pleas cannot possibly go unanswered.

The Divine alarm clock is sounding, calling on each of us to wake up from our slumber and unite to fulfill our national destiny. We must rise to the occasion. This critical moment cannot be allowed to pass by. For if it does, we will all be left saying: Heaven help us.

(The writer served as deputy director of Communications and Policy Planning in the Prime Minister's Office from 1996 to 1999.)

©2002 - Jerusalem Post

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