YNET: Speaking The Truth
"Various parts of Land of Israel are more than just strategic security assets."
The original title was "Confusing Means and Goals." YNET also edited out a few sentences, found below in blue italics.
24 Sivan 5769/June 16, 2009
It is occasionally said that keeping the Shabbat is a good way to strengthen family unity and closeness. Since parents and children are together for a day without the usual weekly distractions, they are forced to spend quality time together. The problem is that this assumption reduces the Shabbat to a means for fostering better family ties. If it is only a means for nurturing better family ties, then someone else can rightly claim that a Shabbat barbecue on the beach with the whole family also fosters family unity. If so, what need is there to observe the Shabbat? The point is that the Sabbath has tremendous value in and of itself, regardless of what benefits one may or may not receive from observing it. Of course to make Sabbath observance a goal rather than a means and also to appreciate its true value, it must be concomitantly practiced and understood in its fullness. Otherwise it can turn into an external empty act devoid of any meaning.
The same can be said regarding the Land of Israel. Many good intentioned people state that the only reason Israel cannot relinquish any territory in Judea and Samaria is because these lands are vital for the strategic depth they provide to Israel. Once again, the problem with this approach is that it conveys the message that an Israeli presence in certain areas in the Land of Israel is only important as a means for acquiring security.
However, if this is true, then other means can be found to supposedly provide security, such as a 20 meter-high security fence, international observers, electronic surveillance equipment, etc, etc. The point is that the Land of Israel - be it in Tel Aviv, Shiloh, Karmiel, The Jordan Valley or Arad - has tremendous value and meaning in and of itself, regardless of what benefits settling it might provide. Yet to make settling the land and establishing Jewish sovereignty a goal rather than a means and also to appreciate the real significance of the Land of Israel, the subject must be seriously studied and internalized.
In light of Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent Bar Ilan speech, this point should be kept in mind. The "taboo" has finally been broken and now every major Israeli political party officially endorses the "two-state solution." Moreover, the prime minister's stated conditions for the establishment of such a state – Arab recognition of Israel as Jewish state and an eventual demilitarized Palestinian state – will quickly be sidestepped or forgotten. Unless something miraculous happens we will be staring at a new Arab state in our midst within the coming years.
Security Argument Will Be Defeated
Of course this new entity, which in all probability will be quite hostile towards Israel, will require the forced removal of tens of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria. In such an environment, all that remains is to speak the truth. Therefore, anyone with influence who really cares about the Jewish people and the divine mission they've been entrusted with, a mission which is integrally related to establishing Jewish sovereignty throughout the Land of Israel, needs to speak up.
However, if their defense of the Land of Israel is based solely upon security issues, they will eventually be defeated. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but with time they will be defeated since other means, no matter how problematic or controversial, will be adopted to allegedly provide security.
As appealing as the security argument might be, the truth is that various parts of the Land of Israel are not simply strategic assets that must be held on to for security reasons, any more than the entire land itself is merely a safe haven for Jews to escape pogroms and anti-Semitism. At this point in time, anything other than the truth will not hold up.
Yoel Meltzer has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and lives in Israel.