Israel has to take the lead
An elderly Filipino woman came up to me. “Are you Jewish”
“Yes,” I said.
“Hurray! I have been praying for Israel every day for ten years. Can I have my picture taken with you?”
This scene repeated many times at the Jerusalem Summit Asia that took place in Philippines last August. The forum brought to Manila both Christian and political leaders, friends of Israel, from seven Asian countries, from Korea to Malaysia. Our delegation included Knesset members Yuri Shtern, Chemi Doron, and Israel academics. Asia’s Christian leaders adopted a resolution that demanded three things of their respective governments:
• move their Embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem;
• not vote against Israel at the UN;
• stop financing Palestinian Authority as long as it espouses jihad.
Why do they like us? They believe in the Torah: that we are a “light unto nations”. They believe in the Gospel and, since the Jews returned to their land, in the imminent coming of the Messiah. But they also understand that Talmud is right: the whole world is a reflection of what is happening in Israel. If Israel is torn apart, so is the world. Conversely, if Israel is one, so is the world, too.
The main fault line in Israel and the world does not lie on the axis of the rich against the poor, or the religious against the atheists, or the whites against the blacks. The world is split along the lines of the original human drama: he who is his brother’s keeper and he who is not. Those prepared to fight for the freedom of their oppressed brothers and those who hypocritically calls this fight an intervention in the personal matters of the oppressed. In short, those who fight for democracy and those who don’t.
Those prepared to stand up and fight include President Bush, Moslem dissidents, and conservative Christians. Those who are not include John Kerry, Europe, most of the Moslem world, and the liberals. The latter often call themselves “the peace camp”. Not only is this delusion amoral, but it denies facts and laws of history. The XXth century proves that true peace can be only among democracies, while all the wars, hundreds of them, have been either those of democracies v. tyrannies, or between tyrannies. Therefore to hope that non-interference in the domestic affairs of totalitarian regimes will yield us peace is to make a terrible mistake that will lead to war.
Thus the main error of Oslo was not the betrayal of Jewish lives – that was the consequence. In the first place, it was the betrayal of freedom for Palestinians. The Oslo architects reasoned that, rather than having to deal with “savages” for another hundred years by enlightening them and teaching them democracy, it was better to strike a deal with Death by installing a bandit and a tyrant to rule over them. We will provide him with money, weapons, and international recognition, and he will give us security in exchange. We refused to fight for a true freedom for Palestinians – not from Israeli occupation, but from a corrupted barbarous regime bent on rearing another generation of shaheeds – and we paid a horrendous price.
Sharon is right: we cannot stay in Gaza preserving the status quo. But to escape Gaza is to repeat the mistake of Oslo. If we fence ourselves off and say, They can go to hell, they can do whatever they want behind the fence – this will not bring us peace. A neighbor who has no light in his house will set our own house on fire for the sake of a bit of light. Once again, we will betray the Gaza Palestinians’ only chance to create a democracy and we will abandon them to be torn apart by Arafat, Hamas, and Hizbollah. And once again we will pay for betraying our mission to be a “light unto nations”, or at least the nation next door.
But how shall we carry that light? Send in the troops? The military way is not the only one. Jerusalem Summit 2004 that will take place in late November will discuss alternative means to open up closed societies. Such alternatives exist. They include liberating Moslem women – half of billion-strong Moslem population is deprives of human rights, and their emancipation will lead to the moderation of Islam. They include introducing curricula in Moslem countries that will re-interpret Koran in the spirit of tolerance. They include using technologies to fight poverty.
Liberating Palestinians and the rest of Islamic world from the tyranny and ideology of jihad must become Israel’s strategic objective. Israel must take the lead. Israel must lead President Bush, too, as well as Moslem dissidents and conservative Christians. Both our national spirit and physical survival depend on the success of this fight. This is one reality we cannot fence ourselves from.
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