Israel and World Jewry face a crisis unknown to Jews since the Holocaust. We fought five wars, but they were conventional, and we successfully crushed our enemies. However, now our foes have gone beyond the parameters of war to the most vile form of combat, terrorism. Will it ever end? Will the mad perpetrators of this terror succeed in bringing Israel to its knees? Sane rationale does not exist for explaining how men and women can be instilled with a hate so passionate that it enables them to exceed all boundaries of human nature and be willing to die so Jews can be killed. Neither drugs or brain-washing can produce such madness in sane people. This is a previously unknown phenomenon in man's long and painful history of wars. Though soldiers in battle risk losing their lives, Arab suicide bombers and killers are predetermined to a definite death. Worse yet is a Palestinian society that acclaims suicide bombers as martyrs while mothers openly pray that their children will be killed while killing Jews.
Now for the real issue. Can Israel possibly make peace with a people so far off the track of civility and the universal human passion for life? Arafat and his Arab cohorts have created a monster. This sub-human persona shocked America and people of good will throughout the world on September 11. Who could have imagined anyone carefully planning and meticulously exercising a plan to kill, knowing it would result in definite self-destruction? Israel's enemy is neither Palestinian or Arab, it is a new phenomenon, a threat, as President Bush correctly calls it, against, "the way we know life." Civilization and survival are the real issues in Israel and have little to do with land, ethnicity or history. Were there no Israel or Jews in the Middle East, the world's civilized would nevertheless be challenged by these unprecedented madmen who in their zealous pursuit of power manipulate minds and deceive nations and "do-gooders" into believing that suicide is a just act, a solution to grievance.
Assuming, better yet, hoping, that the violence in Israel can soon be brought to an end, a new question emerges. Can the civilized people of the world permit those who have evolved as monsters to control a state of their own or possess destructive weapons and, under the guise of sovereignty, establish an army, air force or navy? Bush's war against terror is by no means confined to Afghanistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. It must include the most maniacal of all those afflicted with this crazed disease of hate. The Middle East contains elements of the most malignant of these cells.
Most political analysts are convinced that the war against terror will peak in Iraq. I hope they will not make the foolish mistake in believing that Saddam Hussein is alone in the threat to human survival. Those who stood on the roof-tops, shouting for joy as Iraqi scuds landed in Israel during the Persian Gulf War, are equal partners with Osama bin Laden, Hizbollah and the sleepers who patiently wait to terrorize America once again.
It's neither poverty or nationalism that brings young men and women with bombs strapped around their bodies to coffee shops, synagogues, discos, buses or the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. It's the mutation of an old disease, hate, that threatens the survival of this planet. Israelis and Jews everywhere must not be deceived. Our battle with terrorism in Israel is part of a larger war with the satanic forces seeking to dominate Jews, Christians, Moslems and secularists. It's a malaise that transforms humans made in the image of G-d to Frankensteins, a new mutation surpassing Nazism, communism and the ancient pagan warriors.Rabbi Grossman is the Chairman of the Board of Religious Zionists of America and former president of the Rabbinical Council of America.