The Psychological Battlefield

The disengagement plan needs uncertainty and doubt in order to succeed. One of the battles to fight the disengagement is that of confidence, certainty and determination against the forces of ambiguity, submission and resignation. Reinforcing the armor of confidence is needed to protect against the persuasive onslaught of hostile concepts and tactics.

Contact Editor
Aliza Karp,

There is a magazine cartoon that shows a huge ocean liner headed straight for a private sailboat, the kind they use in summer camps, with a main sail and a smaller 'jib' sail. The words in the balloon coming from one of the passengers on the tiny sailboat read: "Don't worry, dear, we have the right of way."

The disengagement plan, with all its pre-expulsion positioning ? impressive meetings setting deadlines and dates, official offices being set up, threats of administrative detention for those who disagree and special army units training to expel Jews from their homes ? makes us feel like Gush Katif is in the small sailboat. We know we are in the right, but the ocean liner is coming straight for us. It's frightening.

Fear is a very powerful emotion. The one who is feared controls the one who fears. The control is a result of the victim being convinced of the strength of the enemy. And sometimes the enemy is pretty convincing.

The disengagement plan needs uncertainty and doubt in order to succeed. One of the battles to fight the disengagement is that of confidence, certainty and determination against the forces of ambiguity, submission and resignation. Reinforcing the armor of confidence is needed to protect against the persuasive onslaught of hostile concepts and tactics.

Sara Nachshon, one of the righteous women responsible for the modern Jewish community in Hevron, once stood opposite 200 soldiers. Her infant son Avraham had returned his soul to his maker. Sara wished to bury him in the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hevron. The army did not want to allow her to do so and sent enough soldiers to make sure she could not pass. (They had dealt with her before in the Beit Hadassah days and other times and knew she was a determined woman.) But Sara did not see herself as a little sailboat. She spoke to the soldiers about the Jewish roots that are deep in Hevron. She told them that Avraham bought property in Hevron to bury his wife Sara. And her name is Sara and she has come to bury her son Avraham, and if she had to pass through their ranks on foot carrying her child, she would do so.

Over their walkie-talkies the soldiers got renewed orders to not let her pass. The soldiers answered, "If you want to stop her, come here yourself, we are going to escort her."

If soldiers are indeed sent to Gush Katif to expel Jews from their homes they will no doubt be a new breed, hand picked and trained to be hostile to the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. But that does not render the story of Sara Nachshon irrelevant.

Circumstances and protagonists may be different, but we must understand that we can and will prevail. Hashem will open the door, somewhere, somehow and we will march through in safety, in simcha and in peace.

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind of the validity of Jewish settlement in Gaza. It is no less than our claim to Hevron, which is based on Avraham's purchase of the Machpela Cave. Our claim to Gaza is from the first verse of the Torah, as explained by Rashi, as well as the Shulchan Oruch that rules on the importance of maintaining the security of border towns (Orach Chaim 329:6). Our claim is not based on a United Nations vote or on military victory, for these are potentially negotiable; our claim in non-negotiable. Our claim to the land is not half-a-century old, it is millenniums old.

In 5749 (1989), Ron Nachman, the mayor of Ariel, came to speak to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He asked the Rebbe what he could tell people who fear there will be withdrawal and retreat from Judea and Samaria. How could he get past their disheartened feelings and despondency?

The Rebbe answered, "All the reports that, G-d forbid, they wish to give back territories have no basis in reality? To the contrary, we will hold these areas joyfully and peacefully and pleasantly? All of Eretz Yisroel will remain whole as it is today, and Moshiach will soon add the other parts of Eretz Yisroel, with peace and pleasantness and without any battles... And if we state our position clearly, wars and conflict will be unnecessary. In contrast, talk about giving away land strengthens those who do not desire peace and tranquility."

In his talk on the eighteenth of Elul in 5738, September 17, 1978, just days after the Camp David Accords were signed, the Rebbe pointed out that the Torah opinion is to defend Jewish settlement, even with weapons and even on Shabbos; and the military experts agree that surrendering land will cause more bloodshed.

The Rebbe then explained that if we follow the way of the Torah, which is in line with the military experts, then the verse from the Torah (B'shalach 15:16), "May dread and fear fall upon them, at the greatness of Your arm may they be still as stone," will come to be. It will be our enemies who are afraid and they will be still. And there will be peace.

This was actually felt in the days following the Six Day War, when it was the Arabs who were afraid and Jews could travel freely amongst the Arabs without fear.

The Rebbe takes it one step further. He says that our resolve of firmness and bravery, together with the proper weapons, will negate another force, as stated in Isaiah 49:17, "those who destroy you and those who lay you waste shall go forth from you"; i.e., the ones who have come forth from our own ranks, specifically, the Jews who plan to uproot Jews.

By winning the psychological war, by showing resolve and determination and no hesitation to use weapons, we will not have to use the weapons for long, because our enemies will retreat in fear. And those who are from our own ranks, who want to destroy us, will also not be able to carry out their plans.

As the Rebbe said to Mayor Nachman, "And if we state our position clearly, wars and conflict will be unnecessary."

On September 9, the 23rd of Elul, a statement was signed by over 150 public figures, an initiative by the organization Gamla Shall Not Fall Again. According to what has been reported in the media, this statement advocates wisdom and justice, bravery, integrity and self-defense. It states our position clearly, without fear. This initiative follows many grass roots projects: rallies, demonstrations, petitions, solidarity visits to Gush Katif, house to house visits inside the Green Line, newspaper and magazine articles and the inspirational 'Human Chain.' All these projects, and many more, have provided the solid ground on which the Gamla statement stands.

Together with the projects that have come before it, and are still in the making, this statement has the potential to make a difference, to pierce the balloon of insanity and corruption that surrounds the actors in the disengagement performance. Together, all us little guys, who have interrupted our schedules and missed out on sleep so that we could do whatever we could to hold onto our border towns, the settlements of Gush Katif, together, we have become the ocean liner. And it is Sharon and his ilk, who will have to fend for themselves in their little sailboat. But they do not have the right of way.

And the Rebbe's words will again prove true, that "All the reports that, G-d forbid, they wish to give back territories, have no basis in reality."

[On a personal note, I would like to wish all my readers a very wonderful, good, sweet, productive, successful, meaningful, happy and peaceful new year. We should all share peace of mind, tranquility of heart and Shalom with our brethren and our neighbors. May this be the year that Hashem will bless us with the complete and final redemption, with our righteous Moshiach.]

Notes

The actual encounter between Mayor Nachman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe can be viewed online under the title "Eye To Eye: Tell them you are not moving!"





top