Thursday, February 11, 2016

Is there a Ministry of Defense?

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute

(Note: Instead of talking about "Sar Habitachon" – the Minister of Defense – perhaps we should say, "Sar Habitachon," written with the letter "samech" - our safety has taken a bad turn.)

The Pressure of a Lack of Security

I call out for the people of Yisrael to join forces and apply pressure with the goal of replacing the Minister of Defense of Israel, Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon. Unity similar to what is needed now took place right before the Six Day War, almost fifty years ago (in 1967), when after an exhausting period of waiting, the people demanded that the hesitating Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, resign from his position as Defense Minister and appoint Moshe Dayan instead. Dayan was powerful and a popular hero, but he was from an opposition party! And we won the war! The Six Day War led not to only the liberation of Jerusalem and large swaths of Eretz Yisrael, it also gave us a dramatic turning point in the history of our country and helped strengthen the message that "The Nation of Yisrael lives and continues to make itself felt!" The war enhanced the status of the IDF and of our people in the Diaspora. The Aliyah of a million Jews from the Soviet Union together with the disintegration of the Iron Curtain is a result of that great salvation, and it can be linked to the appointment of the Minister, as a result of the pressure applied by the people.

The minister is "anemic," at least as far as we can see from external signs, and our national morale is at the lowest possible ebb. The residents of Israel wake up to the daily roulette: Who suffered a knife attack this time? Who will be the daily sacrifice, we say, and then we go back, shaking our heads, to our morning coffee or our afternoon soup. This awful situation has continued since Rosh Hashana (five months!). Our enemies manage to surprise us again and again, while for our non-defense minister "deliberations" and "in-the-box" thinking are good enough. Mr. Minister, do you not feel the reaction of the population, who expect surprising actions and not simply more of the conventional same? I am sure that I represent the vast majority of the Jews of Israel, who have had enough of your platitudes and consolation: "The terrorists will be caught, and they will pay dearly." In addition, I accuse the Minister of indirectly encouraging terrorism – and I choose my words carefully – with his support of returning the bodies of the terrorists to their families and with his administrative and legal battles against allowing houses in Chevron to be occupied immediately. It is interesting to speculate whether the minister is getting advice from some "out-of-the-box" sources, or if all the truly wise people have been put to work in the cyber division, which is completely ineffective against knife-wielding terrorists.

Wanted: Ability and not Intelligence

Moshe Dayan was an expert on Arab affairs who knew how to speak the enemy's language. So were Yigal Alon, Arik Sharon, and others from the same mold. We are in dire need of an anti-Intifada warrior of this ilk, and our straying minister does not have the necessary skills. We need somebody who is less an intellectual than Boogie Yaalon. Boogie is a kibbutznik, a Mapai offshoot without the traits of Ben Gurion, a bleeding heart who felt discomfort after his soldiers eliminated Egyptian soldiers in the Yom Kippur War who were about to ambush them (see Wikipedia), a scholar with a degree in political science who cares day and night about the rule of law and the values of democracy – including the rights of our staunchest enemies. A hint of his priorities can be seen in the fact that in these chaotic times he found the time to modify the teaching of "the Jewish identity" in the IDF, moving it from the Chief Rabbinate to the realm of culture. Couldn't this wait until a pause in the fighting? The Minister is a full partner in enhancing the flames of this unnecessary dispute just at this time. However, I have no illusions – the newspaper Haaretz is much more important (and influential?) than Shabbat B'Shabbato, the bulletin you are reading now.

What/Who should it Be?

I turn to the (new) Minister of Defense, to take the lead in implementing drastic measures, including dramatic media threats, that will serve as "a light to the nations" and to the entire world on the subject of waging war against terrorism. Proposals that have been made by leading ministers and MK's, include: expelling the families of the terrorists (not to Azza, but to Syria, from where they will continue to the evil area of Europe), to blow up their houses, with a loud noise and immediately, to confiscate their property, and to rescind the citizenship and the work permit of all those who openly support terrorism. The main characteristic that the new minister must have is the ability to skip over all the legalisms. We can invest sophisticated super-efforts (with the help of private "research bodies") to show that the most "enlightened nations" have no respect at all for the international laws of human rights, and this includes the United States, the European Union, and Russia.

The current war is taking place in the media , which propogates lies and is illusionary in a style reminiscent of "Ali Baba." Our enemies are supremely strong in that venue. I am confident that we can enter this arena, which is so full of trickery and stunts and use their own tactics against them, as long as the legal experts stand aside to some degree. Haaretz will continue to squawk, but it has long ago left the confines of the Jewish state behind.

If you would ask me, Who is your candidate for this position? Two men stand out in the media – one from the opposition (Avigdor Lieberman) and the other from the coalition (Naftali Bennett). My guess is that Boogie Yaalon would be very happy to take over the task of the Minister of Education. We might thus see a move like "castling" in a game of chess...

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I did not find an appropriate verse in this week's Torah portion, and I therefore made my way to Shmuel I, Chapter 13. The Pelishtim at the time found an industrial solution to the danger of knife-wielding Jews: "No smith could be found in all of Eretz Yisrael, because the Pelishtim feared that the Hebrews would make a sword or a spear" [13:19]. And their plan worked! However, the brave Yonatan was different, as David had been with Goliath. "And it happened on the day of the war, no sword or spear could be found among the people who were with Shaul and Yonatan, but Shaul and Yonatan did have some" [13:22]. With their courage, daring, and cunning, they were able to win the battle...

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