By Moshe Feiglin
9 Nissan, 5770
March 24, '10
Translated from the NRG website
"Israel's problem is its public relations," people reason as they attempt to explain how it is that Israel is always at the receiving end of the world's criticism and hatred. "Israel simply doesn't know how to highlight all of its positive points."
But the problem is not simply lack of budget for public relations, as the Foreign Ministry would like us to believe. There is also no dearth of eloquent Israelis and fluent English speakers who could take Israel's case to the world. The problem is that instead of explaining its own position, Israel explains the position of its enemies.
When is the last time that you heard an official Israeli representative simply state that this is our Land – without ifs, ands and buts? Simply, "The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation, period." Has the prime minister made such a statement? Any minister? Perhaps an ambassador?
All the torrents of claims against Israel can be distilled to this one simple question: Whose land is this, anyway? But here's the caveat: It is impossible to say that this is our Land without falling back on our Jewish foundations. To avoid that unthinkable eventuality, Israel trades it ultimate playing card for paltry claims that its soldiers are the most humane in the world – and endangers their lives to prove it - and that it is the most democratic regime in the region.
The world, though, doesn't really care if Israel's armed forces are humane. What determines if you are right or wrong is if the ground under their feet belongs to you or not. The most courteous intruder is still an intruder who belongs in jail.
The refusal to admit that this is our Land - or in broader terms, to re-connect as a state to our Jewish identity - has brought Israel to its diplomatic knees. Netanyahu's senior ministers have arrest warrants waiting for them in Israel's capitals and the assassins of arch-terrorist Mabhouh are wanted all over the world while mass-murderer Ahmadinijad is invited to lecture at Columbia University. The modern-day Amalek does not tell the world that he is humane. He explains that he is right. The world accepts this as fact because Israel's leadership plays straight into his hands.
Just like the first Amalek, who attacked Israel when the entire world was afraid to initiate a fight with the nation that had just defeated the Egyptian empire, so Ahmadinijad publicly declares his intention to destroy Israel and proceeds with his technical preparations basically unhindered.
It may be difficult to understand why, instead of losing his legitimacy, Ahmadinijad has managed to place a flashing and threatening question mark over Israel's head. The reason is that the "State of all its citizens" (as per former Chief Justice Aharon Barak) or the "Singapore of the Middle East" (as per President Shimon Peres) or the "place under the sun" (as per PM Netanyahu) is incapable of standing proud and firm behind its identity and justifying its existence. It really is not right to establish another Singapore at the expense of the "Palestinians." And there is plenty of place under the sun on the Canary Islands. It comes at a more reasonable price and will not drag the entire world into endless wars.
For those readers who do not understand the critical implications of our Jewish identity for our very survival, I would like to quote the following story:
In the first Lebanon War in 1982, the IDF essentially forced the PLO terror organization out of Lebanon and into exile in Tunisia. The PLO was in complete disarray. One of the prisoners in the Israeli detention camp, Ansar, was a senior terrorist, admired by his henchmen. His name was Salah Taamari and he was a broken man.
In the book about Taamari, Mine Enemy, penned by Israeli journalists Amalia and Aharon Barnea, Taamari told Barnea of the transformation he underwent in Ansar. While in prison, he had completely despaired of any hope that the Palestinians would one day realize any of their territorial dreams. He was ready to renounce the struggle and was well on the way to convincing his prison-mates that they would never defeat Israel.
Then, one Passover, he witnessed a Jewish prison guard eating a pita. Taamari was shocked, and asked his jailer how he could so unashamedly eat bread on Passover.
The Jew replied: "I feel no obligation to events that occurred to my nation over 2,000 years ago. I have no connection to that."
That entire night Taamari could not sleep. He thought to himself: "A nation whose members have no connection to their past, and are capable of so openly transgressing their most important laws, has cut off all its roots to the Land."
He concluded that the Palestinians could, in fact, achieve all their goals. From that moment, he determined "to fight for everything - not a percentage, not some crumbs that the Israelis might throw us - but for everything. Because opposing us is a nation that has no connection to its roots, which are no longer of interest to it."
Taamari goes on to relate how he shared this insight with "tens of thousands of his colleagues, and all were convinced."
Taamari did indeed convince his co-terrorists and breathed new life into the war against Israel. It is hard to exaggerate the damage done by the pita in the mouth of just one Israeli prison guard on the holiday of Passover.
What does this have to do with the current Jerusalem imbroglio? Here is another story – short and current. This story is not about an anonymous soldier who is disconnected from his Jewish roots, but about the prime minister of Israel, who is estranged from his. On his recent trip to Russia, Binyamin Netanyahu chose the non-kosher restaurant, Pushkin, as the venue for his meeting with Greek PM Papandreou. The whole world was able to watch as the leader of the Jewish nation dined heartily on the finest that non-kosher cuisine has to offer.
One pita in the mouth of an anonymous soldier was enough to sow the seeds of defeat in Israel's triumph in Lebanon. What damage will we suffer from the unkosher food in the mouth of the prime minister of Israel?