Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Cheshvan 5761 - November 15, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
There is No Solution

by Rabbi Nosson Zeev Grossman

Part I

Many political commentators, both in Israel and throughout the world, have reached the conclusion that paradoxically the bloody riots of October and November 2000 were prompted by the Prime Minister's decision to bring the peace negotiations to a dramatic conclusion, in which once and for all the Middle East conflict would come to an end. This analysis, which was confirmed by various Arab sources and key Palestinians, claims that our partner for the peace negotiations is not at all interested in a comprehensive settlement and in real peace. A long line of unsolvable problems prevents such a total solution of which the primary obstacles are the question of Yerushalayim and the Arab "right of return."

Ehud Barak, of course, will claim that only good intentions guided him. The Prime Minister only wanted to accelerate the process because he was self-deluded into thinking that only he could end successfully the peace process within a few weeks, although doing so appeared to any other non-biased party taking part in the peace process as needing to take much time and being incredibly complicated. His swollen pride, a pride that damages Barak himself but unfortunately drags in its tide everyone living in Eretz Yisroel, induced him to think like this.

When Barak arrived at Camp David he was sure he could prove to everyone that overnight he would solve all the area's problems and reach a comprehensive and agreed upon solution. What really happened is that all his attempts to force the issue frightened Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority's chairman, and additional Arab leaders. These leaders maintained that a "comprehensive solution" is impossible and no way out exists for many problems at the negotiation table, and they wanted desperately to avoid any decision. What remained for them to do was to order the flare up in the settlement areas.

Barak the revolutionary, the conceited politician who pretends to fancy there being a new socio-political reality in every topic, quickly and impetuously hurried to make boasting proclamations lacking any real backing. He imagined he could cast a miraculous spell that would terminate the Middle East quarrel in the twinkling of an eye but instead he caused near destruction. "The king by justice establishes the land, but an arrogant man tears it down" (Mishlei 29:4, see Rashi).

As mentioned, a consensus between Israeli and international commentators possessing diverse ideologies exists in analyzing our present political predicament and this view has been certified by renowned Arab pundits. As far as we are concerned, what has happened can teach us about the general picture too.

We will neither discuss political questions nor directly relate to current events and various developments. We will only delve into the basic question of what should be the relationship of Jews and other nations while looking at it through the Torah outlook as we infer from Chazal. Our Torah can never be altered. The Torah's principle approach fits every time, even for changing realities and times of radical upheavals and shocks. Only ideologies not based on the Torah need to reorganize and occasionally readjust to new developments. The eternal approach of our Torah is different: it is relevant and fitting for each time.

It is general knowledge that "historical events" such as the summit at Camp David interest us immensely, and not only because of the specific topics on the agenda. If we look at political processes as being another effort to prevent bloodshed in this area--something of primary importance for every Jew who values the sanctity of life -- some think peace conferences are much more important than the concrete questions discussed there. They see in these conferences a catalyst that could cause -- in this stage or another -- a "sweeping solution" for the hardships of the Jewish Nation.

Every such peace conference awakens the hope that at long last the Jewish Nation will reach peace and tranquility. This is not only because of the improved feeling of security in the Middle East but mainly in the merit of Israel's joining "the family of nations" that will eventually lead the Jewish Nation to the hoped for "normality" after two thousand years of exile.

This is not only a purely tactical dispute about the correct way to tackle difficult political occurrences. It is a much more fundamental question, one that expresses the scathing historical arguments between the Torah observant and the Zionist Movement.

The Zionist Movement not only wanted to control our people's lives and be a sort of administrative "communal committee" but pretended to bring the "redemption" for the Jewish Nation and suggested an "overall solution" for the suffering of the golus in which we were emerged. These ornate slogans voiced by the Zionist heads in Europe enticed the suffering masses to join the new movement that promised an "end" to their daily hardship and a "return to normality" for the Jewish Nation.

Because of their aims there could not and can never be any way to compromise with Zionism. Besides the fact that Zionist's motto is uprooting Torah and mitzvos, they also want to rebel against the decree of golus and wage a "war" just like those of the Babylonian tower once did against Hashem's conducting of the world.

This fundamental approach is what is behind a policy of national pride and stubbornly and arrogantly opposing other nations and world powers. The Zionist heads did not study parshas Vayishlach before they made international decisions. What interested them were the books of non-Jewish leaders and revolutionaries who demanded independence for their people and fought to realize their nationalist aspirations. The secular leadership compared the Jewish Nation to other nations and thought what is good for them is good for us too. This was their fundamental mistake that cast tragedy on our nation and occasionally put it in unnecessary danger.

That same heretic outlook also prompted the formation of Leftist policy. Their policy that seems to be the opposite of the militant approach of the Rightists, actually is nourished by the same roots and sources. Both pretend to offer us a "total solution" through man's power and to bring nearer the Redemption from our hardship with their own hands. The Leftists, however, made a 180-degree change and switched the Zionist hope of "redemption through power" to the delusion of a "political redemption" through inclusive and far-reaching peace arrangements, which will once and for all bring an end to all the regional problems and create a "new Middle East."

On the other hand, Torah Jewry always walked in the way of the Torah which dictates that until our future Redemption the Jewish Nation will not have any cures for its physical problems, the yoke of other nations will not be removed, and anything we do no matter how cunning will not help us at all. Jews who follow the Torah always knew that when dealing with other peoples we must be extremely careful and only carry out temporary efforts to influence them. We are not looking for an overall solution but rather an improvised local treatment for problems. No way in the world can forever put into order the Jewish Nation's situation in a quick once and for all method.

A Jew who believes in Torah does not trust the power of force or man's wisdom that will help him when faced with those who hate the Jewish Nation. He knows that it has been decreed upon us to hear the threats of the nations and face their hostility, as a sheep among seventy wolves. We can only rely on our Father in Heaven and strengthen ourselves in Torah and virtuous deeds and wait for Hashem's salvation that will come at the future Redemption.

End of Part I

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