A Tale of Two Visionaries

Rabbi Reuven Mann

As a New Year begins the reign of terror continues to afflict our holy land.  The “Intifada of martyrdom” is not just a devastating problem it is one which is without any solution.  No Israeli leader even pretends that he can eliminate the ongoing terrorism, which plagues the land.  Years ago, way before the problem reached its present proportions there was a visionary who foresaw the inevitable and proposed a solution which was very bitter but exceedingly humane.  This man was vilified and condemned by virtually all factions of the Jewish people.  Not even fear of the Arab enemy united Israelis as did the loathing of this gadfly who dared to think the unthinkable.  Yet his gloomy prophecies have come true.  The land is reeling from explosions that come out of nowhere, everywhere.  Israel assiduously and efficiently cleans up the body parts, hoses off the blood, removes the skeletal remains of Egged busses and rebuilds the shattered cafes and restaurants.  Getting back to “normal” as quickly as possible after a bombing has become Israel’s way of saying: We will not let you defeat us.  We will continue living in our dream world, come what may.  This is Israel’s way of denying that it has relinquished its intrinsic right of self-defense and has come to terms with the steady annihilation of its civilians.  From the gas chambers of Auschwitz to the discos of Tel Aviv a familiar refrain is sounded: Jewish blood is cheap.  Yet no one stands up and shouts, “Never Again!”  Never again will we stand idly by the blood of our brothers. 
            This generation of Jews is unlike any that has preceded it in the Exile.  It has the ability to defend itself.  Israel is one of the world’s most formidable military powers, yet a paralysis of the spirit has taken hold.  The Jewish State was designed to be a safe haven for an endangered people, but today it is one of the most dangerous places for Jews to live.  A Diaspora mentality pervades the psyche of its political leaders.  From Labor to Likud, all affirm that there is nothing we can do, except absorb all of the blows they shower on us and keep on going.  Somehow or other if we just go about our ordinary routine and pretend that we live in a normal environment it will deny the terrorists a victory.  The government’s failure to destroy the terrorists calls into question the integrity of Israel’s sovereignty and lays bare the very foundations of Zionism.  This can be clearly seen in its handling of the “Arafat situation.”  The government considers him responsible for managing the Terrorist war against Israel.  Yet it does nothing to put the mass murderer out of business.  The strongest step it seems able to take is to threaten his expulsion.  Pathetic.   What would the US do if Sadaam or Osama was trapped in a building surrounded by American troops?  The U.S. and UN have no moral right to pressure Israel against “dealing” with Arafat.  Let them explain how he is different from Uday and Qusay.  Let Israel explain how it can even hope to demolish terrorism when it cannot eliminate its bloody chieftain. 
            I have digressed a bit and it is time to get back to the story of a man who foresaw the inevitable and sounded a warning.  He met his death at the hands of an Arab assassin who wanted to put an end to the realistic analyses of this “dangerous Jew.”  Perhaps the murderer was afraid that the Jews would wake up and grasp the cogency of his ideas.  He need not have worried.  His fears were hardly justified.  Other “visionaries” were far more appealing to the Israeli mindset.  In the midst of the latest rash of explosions the cream of Israeli society celebrated the 80th birthday of Oslo’s Architect.  I don’t begrudge him a private party but this was a public and very ostentatious gathering to which all the dignitaries including the President who arranged the signing of the Oslo protocols on the White House lawn were invited.  They convened to toast a lifetime of achievement whose crowning triumph was the Oslo Accords.  The peace agreement from Hell.  The self-inflicted wound which has wreaked untold destruction and suffering and which has turned the Zionist dream into a nightmare.  The man whose ideas brought devastation was feted and extolled.  This apparently is a real hero.  Yet the other visionary who predicted the tragedy and sacrificed his life in the hope of preventing it was cursed and hated by the political and cultural elites who took off time from the Intifada for some much needed celebrating. 
            The words of the visionary Jew who tried to warn us should not be forgotten.  As time goes by and reality begins to intrude ever so steadily into the Israeli psyche things may come to be seen in a different light.  The time may come when, “They must go” will seem like a kind and humane solution compared to the alternatives.