Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Real Accomplishment

By Moshe Feiglin

14 Iyar, 5773
April 24, '13

Translated form the Makor Rishon newspaper

The special relationship between Israel and the U.S. is not a clich̩. Polls and in-depth surveys repeatedly prove that the American nation relates to Israel positively in the most fundamental way Рdespite the tireless efforts of the Jews of the New York Times and Ha'aretz to the contrary.

We share common values, based on the Bible. America's Founding Fathers saw their new country as a rebirth of the nation of liberty and its universal message. These common goals should have been the basis for the relationship between Israel and the US. "And I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you shall be cursed," G-d says to Abraham. That is the motto of some 80 million American Evangelicals who are convinced that American prosperity is contingent on its significant alliance with Israel. Hardship, they believe, happens when the US takes a stand against Israel.

But instead of reinforcing our status as the eternal People of the Book and the source of American values, we have chosen to market ourselves as a young nation searching for its place amongst the established nations and under their patronage. Our relationship with the US has become – through our own volition – a father-son relationship.

American "aid", merely 1.5% of Israel's income, is not something Israel really needs. In the long run, it harms us economically, politically and militarily. But our insistence on receiving it stems from a psychological need. When our pocket money continues to roll in from across the ocean, it shows that "Father" is still there and that we are not alone among the nations. When we try to escape our Father in Heaven – we have to look for a weak replica in foreign lands.

This flawed mentality was the source of the "Obamania" that we experienced during Obama's visit to Israel. Thus, relations that could have been based on shared values were instead based on dependence.

Israel, fleeing its identity and constantly evading open adoption of those common goals, has consistently based its connection with the US on a completely different foundation. The main goal that we touted was our right to self-defense. Instead of the Shrine of the Book and sites that attest to our biblical foundations here, our honored guests were always taken to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem. After viewing those horrific images, nobody was supposed to be able to ask any questions. That was good for us; no need to deal with the questions of our identity and the justice of our national existence in this Land.

But the Holocaust "lemon" has been completely squeezed out. A new generation has risen in Europe – a generation that is no longer willing to pay for the sins of its predecessors with silence. This generation sees the "Palestinians" demanding justice as the new Jews, bereft of a homeland, while they view the Israelis who demand security as the new Nazis.

Netanyahu's insistence on restoring the focal point of Obama's visit from the Holocaust to our deep historical foundations in Israel; his assertive speech in the US in which he explained that Yad Vashem is not the foundation of our existence; rounding out this approach by bringing President Obama to the Shrine of the Book; the explanation that Obama received there that every Israeli child can read what his forefathers wrote here over two thousand years ago – were, in my opinion, the most important accomplishment of Obama's visit.

I was in the Channel 2 studio when Professor Rosenberg from the Shrine of the Book explained to the viewers what the US president was looking at that very moment.

"You don't have a Palestinian scroll to show him?" I couldn't keep my words back. "Not from one thousand years ago - not from one hundred years ago – less than that. Nothing?"
The professor shifted his weight uncomfortably.

"This is the most important outcome of Obama's visit and Netanyahu's major accomplishment," I repeated. "It is not about Obama, but first and foremost - about Israeli society that has been trained to see Auschwitz as the justification for our existence."

Who knows? Maybe next time, we will take our visiting VIPs to the altar built by Yehoshua ben Nun on Mount Eval just forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The Dead Sea Scrolls are certainly important. But our history in this Land does not begin 2000 years ago. It begins 3300 years ago.

True, 93% of the Biblical sites in Israel are in the areas earmarked for the two-state solution. But what can we do? The place that gives meaning to our national existence, the focal point of our longing and our destiny – is also there:

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu made an invaluable turnabout in the way Israel explains itself. We must complete that turnabout. No going half way.  

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