Stop Supporting Israel

We treat Israel like it's our down-on-her-luck cousin, we see ourselves as Israel's crutch, parent, and allowance-giver. We pity Israel. Moreover, our 'support' belies something even more distressing than pity, and that is our alienation from Israel, its present reality, and consequently, its future destiny. When we, American Jews, state that we 'support' Israel, what we are really saying is that

Yishai Fleisher,

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
The Nature of 'Support'
We, American Jews, deeply care about Israel. We are addicted to the news. We purchase Israeli products at Israel fairs, we cancel our New York Times subscriptions, we vote for the candidate who says, "America has no better friend then Israel." We are outspoken in defense of Israel, and we are somber during that moment in shul when we pray for the Israeli soldiers.

Yet, our 'support' of Israel is somewhat distant, like paying your ex-wife 'child-support' to raise the kid you barely get to see. We treat Israel like it's our down-on-her-luck cousin, we see ourselves as Israel's crutch, parent, and allowance-giver. We pity Israel. Moreover, our 'support' belies something even more distressing than pity, and that is our alienation from Israel, its present reality, and consequently, its future destiny. When we, American Jews, state that we 'support' Israel, what we are really saying is that we are not Israel, we are extrinsic to Israel, we are divorced from Israel. If you 'support' it, you are not it.

Our Divorce
This separation between American Jews and Israel is so wonderfully convenient for our enemies. They simply love it! The "Palestinians" need only fight half the Jews in Israel, while we American Jews, safe between two oceans, are as passive as the sacrificial lamb. The blood fight is happening there, in the Middle East, and we're not a part of it. Behind closed doors, the Arabs laugh and laugh and say to each other, "We have nothing to worry about from those American Jews." They don't attack us here, because they like us to stay on the sidelines. The separation of the Jewish people plays right into their hands. Our division is their strength.

There is No Influencing America
The old adage that "having Jews in America is a good thing, because we hold sway and influence with the American Government" is no longer viable. While Israel faced a violent "Palestinian" uprising, the US pushed for the "Road Map" initiative, which rewarded murderers instead of hunting them down. America regularly condemns Israel for its retaliatory tactics and targeted killings, meanwhile issuing playing cards to its soldiers in Iraq with the faces of America's Most Wanted. When American Jews die in "Palestinian" terror attacks, the US treats them as Israelis and not as US citizens.

Remember the Hebrew University bombing, in which many Americans were victims? Why didn't the US send in agents, as they did to investigate the bombing of the USS Cole? Why is our fellow Jew, Jonathan Pollard, still languishing in a US prison? Why does America routinely block Israel from selling its technology to other countries? Why is it that despite all the efforts of AIPAC and other Jewish organizations, the United States can't even admit that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel?

America has its own agenda in the region and it diverges widely from the interests of the Jewish State. For America, Israel's interests are secondary as compared with Arab support for America's action in Iraq.

The Ironic Reality
So many of us have a fundamentally flawed perception of the times we are living in. We pity Israel, we are condescending towards it. When we talk about Israel we get this sad face, we just can't believe that another 20 people have been murdered in that "troubled region." We shake our heads at the actions of the Israeli government, and we mourn the hard economic times and the death of the tourist industry. Talk to some American Jews and you might get the impression that we are safe here, while Israel is headed towards a very uncertain future, its existence hanging in the balance. The ironic reality is that Israel is a flourishing garden, while American Jewry is a wilting potted-plant.

The Best Time in Jewish History
The big picture: we are living in the best period of Jewish history in the past two thousand years and Israel is at its center. Despite the constant terror attacks and the many wars, Israel is the safe haven of the entire Jewish people. Sixty years ago, Diaspora Jewry was being scorched by Hitler's death machine; today, Israeli F-15 jet fighters fly over Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate the six million.

Those jets do more than commemorate, their supersonic presence over the remnants of Nazi camps says: "We Jews are alive and well, we have a home and a G-d, and we know how to fight." All Jews lean on Israel's shoulders, because Israel's presence and might deter anti-Semites from acting up worldwide, America included.

More Than a Safe Haven
Israel is not merely a muscle-bound army that defends us from Jew-haters - it is much more. Israel is an absolute revolution in Jewish life, the grandeur of which is hard to appreciate. The State gives Jews the freedom to live in the Holy Land, to grow there intellectually, socially and religiously. The infrastructure of a modern nation-state, i.e., roads and water, electricity and education, banking and health care, allows us to live on our G-d given soil as in ancient times, and, in some ways, even better. Today, we have more yeshivas than ever before, more Jewish books than ever before and the Holy City of Jerusalem is bigger than it ever was before.

The Flourishing of Israel
Next time you're in Israel, or for that matter, in the airport going to Israel, take a good look around. Every El-Al flight is filled to capacity and the line of Jews in Kennedy Airport looks like the Exodus. Get off the plane in Lod, kiss the ground, and you will feel immediately uplifted, as though you can breathe better and deeper - your soul is happier here.

Along the countryside, cranes everywhere are building the country, new roads are being laid, and new train-tracks are being installed. The population looks good and healthy, and children abound.

Friday night in Jerusalem has an otherworldly feeling, as though something big is happening, something big is coming down.

The beaches are invigorating, from the life-giving Dead Sea to the Mediterranean, from the cool deep waters of Eilat to the ancient shores of the Kinneret. The hills of the Golan teem with rivulets coming down from the Hermon, and the desert moon lights the Negev and the Arava.

Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv, Tzfat to Eilat, Metula to Afula (and let's not forget Hebron) Israel is brimming with nature, with Torah and with life. Even the food is good: kosher burger, kosher fries, kosher cole slaw.

The Future of American Jewry
This year, a record number of American yeshiva students are arriving in Israel to study for the year and many of them will stay there. American Aliyah is up and new English-speaking neighborhoods and towns are being established. The demographics of world Jewry are shifting. On the negative side, a recent UJC study has shown that here in America, the number of Jews is dwindling due to a negative birthrate and a high incidence of assimilation. On the positive side, a Hebrew University study has shown that within thirty years the majority of world Jewry will live in Israel, due, in part, to the high Israeli birthrate and continued immigration.

Not since the First Temple has a majority of world Jewry lived in the land of Israel. The conclusion is obvious: Israel is ingathering the world's Jews into its bosom so that together we can take the next step towards our destiny. There is little future for American Jews in America, or for that matter, the Australian Jews in Australia, or the European Jews in Europe. The future of the Jewish people is in Israel.

The Arab Enemy
Indeed, the Arabs have murdered our brothers and sisters in cruel and cowardly ways. One cannot even imagine the horror of their actions. They have maimed thousands of Jews in their mission to destroy us. They have stolen our most holy sites, and have trampled on our inheritance. Our enemies do not want peace, yet they speak with duplicitous tongues. It is easy to spot someone with a genuine interest in compromise and sincerity - these people are not it. They preach incredible hate against us and they make their children emulate killers.

Yet, they are defeatable. The Arabs will stop when they sense that their battle has no chance of victory. They will go back to being quiet when they sense, as Jabotinsky has said, that they are up against an impenetrable "iron wall." That wall is made up of the Jewish people. With determined vigilance, and the conviction that our claim is right, we must fight the Jihad machine and repel the Arab tactic of demographic onslaught.

If Not 'Support', Then What?
Now is the time to realize that the lot of American and Israeli Jews is one. Israel does not need our sympathy and it does not need our 'support'. Israel does need a deep commitment from the entire Jewish people to populate the Land, a commitment to heal the rifts of the Jewish social fabric, and a commitment to propel our glorious future forward. We need to show the Arabs that Israel is our Land by living in it. We need to show our brethren that our religion and our faith can fill the hearts of all the Children of Israel. We need to overcome fear, lethargy and materialism and choose Israel as our future.

This is a time of great opportunity and we have a chance to bring it all home.