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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why does Israel always act with restraint against the terrorists?

This question was asked on Little Green Footballs, and I'm sure it's a question that many of you are thinking about:
I know many here don't put much weight in polls, but for the last ten years, poll after poll has shown that the American public is overwhelmingly in support of Israel. Do the Israelis know this? Because if they do learn this, maybe it would help strengthen them to do what they have to do, and ignore our disgusting politicians and their "calls" for "restraint". I could vomit.
Yes, we know that the American people are with us. In fact, believe it or not, so are most of the American politicians outside the executive branch (i.e. the State Department). The problem is that much of this country has replaced Judaism with Liberalism as the national religion. As a result, we as a country are not thinking straight.

This is not unprecedented in Jewish history. Many Jews around the world study a folio of the Babylonian Talmud every day, finishing once every 7 years and 5 months or so. As it happens, today's folio, Yoma 22, discusses King Saul and his failure to fulfill God's command to wipe out Amalek (1 Samuel 15). King Saul thought for a brief moment that he was smarter than God. God said wipe out Amalek and the liberal King Saul said, "God makes us repent because a person is found dead between two cities and we don't know who the murderer was. If God says we have to repent for one person like that (and the repentance takes the form of a rather ugly sacrifice - a young calf's head is chopped off in a barren place), then how can I kill all of Amalek? And if the people sinned, what did the animals do? And if the adults sinned, what did the children do?"

King Saul replaced Judaism with Liberalism just for that moment (the Talmud says elsewhere that he was a righteous man) and it cost him his Kingdom. Judaism says - listen to God. God said - wipe out Amalek. Do what God tells you to do. Liberalism says - do the humanitarian thing. King Saul did the humanitarian thing. He couldn't ignore God's command altogether. So he started rationalizing. He killed off all the men, but he spared the women, the children, the flocks (read - property, money) and the King, Agag, who managed to impregnate a woman from whom Haman (our nemesis in the Purim story) was descended. And a voice came out of Heaven and told Saul, "don't be so righteous." Because Saul thought he was so smart, he lost the throne. God took it away and gave it to King David.

Some of you might try to answer me: "But God didn't say to kill Hamas' leadership." Did God say sxplicitly to kill the Hamas leadership? No. But the Talmud hints that answer as well. When the voice from Heaven tells Saul not to be so righteous, it does so by quoting a verse in Ecclesiastes (Koheleth) 7. The Medrash - the Rabbinic commentary dating back hundreds of years that was handed down orally at Mount Sinai - on that verse says the following (my translation): "Don't be so righteous. One who is 'righteous' in a place where he should be cruel ends up being cruel in a place where he should be merciful." That reference is also to King Saul.

The same piece of Talmud goes on to say that when King Saul ordered Doeg to slaughter the entire city of Nov, which was a city of Priests (1 Samuel 22), a voice came out from Heaven and said the next verse in Ecclesiastes 7, "Don't be too evil." (After the future King David had to flee from Saul, he came to the city of Nov and the Priests gave him food to eat and Goliath's sword. David then continued on his journey. When Saul came looking for David to kill him, no one said that David had been there, except for Doeg - one of the King's servants - who told Saul that David had come to Nov, and that the Priests had given him food and the sword. For this, Doeg is known throughout Jewish history as a slanderer. King Saul ordered Doeg to kill the Priests, and the verse says "Don't be too evil." You're not going to get yourself off the hook by ordering someone else to do it).

Israel's leaders today are a lot like Saul in the story of Amalek. It's not that they're not killing off Hamas because they're afraid of the American reaction. George Bush - on the whole - has been the most pro-Israel President the US has ever had (even more so than Reagan, who was also very pro-Israel). But the Israeli leadership is so blinded by its 'liberalism' that it can't do the right thing - the Jewish thing - for its own sake and for the country's sake. So instead of killing off the Hamas leadership, we're taking them prisoner and letting them live to fight another day (as Haman did on Amalek's behalf). As to the second half of the equation, being cruel when one should be merciful, that's a fair description of the government's behavior both in expelling the Jews from Gush Katif last summer, and of its subsequent treatment of those who were expelled.

P.S. For those who don't know the end of the story, Samuel, the Prophet who had annointed Saul and later annointed David, killed Agag, the King of Amalek. But it was too late to prevent him from having offspring - he had already impregnated someone.


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I disagree.

I am an atheist who believes that Israel is exercising too much restraint.

The problem is not "Judaism v. Liberalism." The problem is that Israel cares too much what other nations think of it, despite the fact that other nations will hate it no matter what it does. Israel also has gotten too comfortable in its own existence. The exigency of the 60s and 70s just is not there - too many people take it for granted that Israel will live to see another day. The Holocaust is not palpable in the eyes of so many. I see things differently.

Finally, the problem lies with something more fundamental. Too many Israelis believe the lie. If you say something many times, it starts to sound true. Too many Israelis simply believe the Palestinian propoganda. I honestly believe that to be so.

I am sure there are more reasons. But the bottom line is that I do not believe this is a question of "Judaism v. Liberalism." I fail to see a direct call in Judaism to act against Hamas, and I think it is always dangerous to say a cause is just because God is on your side. The Palestinians believe God is on THEIR side. How can you be so objectively sure which side God is on?

The only thing one can be sure of is universal human rights. That is what I believe. It is with a belief in universal human rights that I am appalled at the fact that Israel has not shown more decisive action. These Palestinian monsters are the scourge of the earth, and abuse human rights in the most flagrant way. In order to provide peace and justice to the region, the madmen extremists have to be shown they cannot just run around murdering, kidnapping, firing rockets, and generally engaging in mayhem at will. In order to exist as a society, Israel has to show it can defend its borders.

Otherwise it might as well just give up.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Harry said...

miss r,

For a secular version of this post, you should read Warrior Politics, by Robert D. Kaplan.

As for whether or not there is a religious component to this problem, I've noticed that what's going on in Israel is going on in the West in general. As we abandon our belief in God, there seems to be a malaise setting into our Western society that's leaving us paralyzed in the face of our Islamic enemy. Where we in the West used to have a "can-do" attitude, now it's a "can't-do-shouldn't-do-don't-do, or a well-maybe-if-we-have-to attitude. We are encouraged to understand Islam by those who would have us surrender to it.

Just as too many in Israel aren't willing to fight back, there are too many in the U.S. and especially Europe who are ready to appease their Islamic enemy and give their freedom and their society away.

One could also argue that we are getting fat and lazy due to our wealth, but I really think our loss of belief is sapping our will to fight for what is ours.

I absolutely agree that this is war and the only way to win is to fight back, and fight to win decisively.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...


I think the problem is more fundamental than a lack of belief in God. It's that there is a lack of belief in ANYTHING. Atheism does not mean lack of belief in anything - it simply means an absence of belief in God. The problem is nilhism. Too many leftists have replaced a belief in God with a belief in nothing.

Here is what I mean. I believe in universal human rights. I believe that Jewish people have a right to their own state. I believe that Israel has to take decisive action if it wants to continue existing.

The problem is that many of the leftists in the world have no concept of morality. Instead of universal human rights, they advocate "multi-culturalism" and "understanding the enemy." This essentially is non-thought and non-belief in anything.

Ultimately, it may actually be multi-culturalism that is at the root of all evil.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Harry said...

miss r

OK, I can accept that. But I believe that people have a need to believe in something bigger than themselves. We are all on that search.

As for the nihilistic, multicultural aspect of many on the left, I agree and I think it's leading us to a cultural suicide. While there may or may not be a war on religion, there is a fear of religion going around. The only "religion" I fear is Islam, and under the circumstances, I don't think that's an irrational fear.

With the absence of a belief in God, I see too many people adopting, as you mention, nihilism and multiculturalism as their belief. Some still cling to Communism or ohter forms of totalitarianism. I'm not sure if any of these are the root of all evil, but they certainly lead to evil. That's been demonstrated too well.

I feel like I'm rambling.


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