19 Heshvan 5776
A reply to Stephen S. Wachtel, Ph.D., who authored the post The Orwellian Psychodrama in Israel for the Mystical Paths blog
I started to reply right on the blog, but realized that it was getting long enough to be a blogpost of my own, so here it is – instead of burdening Rav Akiva with it…and it does fit in with my current general direction. You may want to read Dr. Wachtel's piece first – linked above – and don’t forget to come back!
Dr. Wachtel, overall quite a good piece. I can tell you love Israel very much. But, please, I beg you, don't assume all Israelis feel the same way about our situation and its solutions. I hope my comments below will help, even if only a little bit.
Israel inherited proprietorship of the West Bank after the 1967 War. Israelis would love to give it back to the Arabs...
What???!!! You might as well burn all copies of your Tana"ch (Jewish Bible) as to say this because the "West Bank" – Yehuda and the Shomron, or Judea and Samaria – is where a great deal of it takes place, and you better believe it belongs to us, and always has. Better yet, kindly take a hint from Rashi on Bereshith 1:1. To summarize: We are not thieves, nor did we inherit ownership as a result of war; HaQadosh Baruch Hu – G-d – gave it to us, as the Sovereign of Creation. See Bamidbar 34 for the initial borders. That’s not all, but it will do for starters. But the odious label of "occupation" properly belongs to the Muslims, and not to us.
And, as an Israeli, I will thank you in advance for not continuing to say things like this on my behalf. Many others believe as I do as well, especially those who live there (I have relatives and friends there too…). It will help us to do the right things to preserve our land and people. Consistency in message and action is important. Too much of what we say tends to put us at odds with our purpose for having returned to our land, making our actions send mixed messages at best. The same G-d, Who protects us at every turn and helps us win every war against our enemies, as you noted so well at length, expects better of us.
But Israel takes extraordinary measures to protect the holy sites of all religions -- Christian, Muslim, Druze, Bahai, Jewish. There is no plan to take over the Aqsa Mosque.
To be fair, you are far from the only person pointing this out. While it is true, must you restate it using their term, thus emphasizing it as though this is good? Am I the only one who sees that the weight placed on Israeli intentions not to destroy the mosque encourages the Arab Muslim hordes to attack and attempt genocide on us, death by a thousand cuts? Or a million?
Besides, to include Jewish sites as protected by the Israeli government is not quite the case either. See this. Never mind that the whole Temple Mount area is Jewish - those Muslim buildings on it are to prevent the Holy Temple from ever being rebuilt! May that plan soon be crushed, with the help of haShem!
Finally, your observation about our matzav being an “Orwellian psychodrama” (I love your phrase) is indeed astute, well-said, and absolutely spot-on. What most people miss is just how deep the drama goes because, as the word Orwellian indicates, it is all about the language being used to describe it. It takes a lot of long, hard prayer and thought to properly put into words, and while I'm still not sure I'm doing it right, I am giving it my best effort. To do otherwise is to feed, usually unintentionally, into the politically convenient (another phrase I recently encountered and love), poisonous atmosphere that could ultimately take us all down, has v’shalom, she’lo yihiyeh!
May Mashiach come soon and finish straightening out this mess!