Nadia MatarNadia Matar is co-Chairwoman of Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow), sharing the idealistic challenge with Yehudit Katsover.
This summer we repeated the scenario of the sin of the spies. Political leaders slandered the land, saying that Samaria and the Gaza region is "a land that devours its settlers," and saying of the Arab enemy that "we cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we." (Numbers 13:31-32) Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan of a return to the 1967 lines - if not the 1949 lines - is remarkably similar to what the Israelites said in the wilderness (Numbers 14:3): "Why is the Lord taking us to that land to fall by the sword? ...It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!"
But there is a significant difference between now and the time of the wilderness. In the wilderness, the slanderers actually did so out of weakness, a lack of faith and the "grasshopper syndrome" ("...and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them." - Numbers 13:33). Today, the situation is much more serious: the program of flight from Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a tool in the hands of the leftist elites - headed by Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres - to attempt and break the Jewish camp in Israel, and thereby attain the timeworn dream of the Left: turning Israel into a state of all its citizens, a secular state, totally detached from Judaism.
It is crucially important to understand that the Left's method of disengaging from the Jewish character of the state consists of disengaging from parts of Eretz Israel. The Left's method of breaking the Jewish camp in Israel consists of the misuse of the state's institutions - the army, the police, the State Attorney's Office, the media - in order to physically eliminate the Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. And this, of course, is only the first step. The elimination of all the settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Heaven forbid, will be followed by the elimination of the Zionist and ultra-Orthodox yeshivot, and the destruction of everything that even smells of Judaism. And if this is so, if Eretz Israel is the arena of the struggle, by means of which we will also save the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel, then it is clear how we can try to stop the deterioration. Not by "Christian" and galuti (diasporic) declarations such as "We will win with love" and "Let us continue by disseminating the spirit" - slogans that are suitable for Jewish communities in Brooklyn and London - but by returning the concept of Eretz Israel to the center of our spiritual and practical lives.
The response to the slander of the Land is that of Caleb and Joshua: "Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it," (Numbers 13:30) and, "It is an exceedingly good land." (Numbers 14:7) This requires a revolution both in thought and in values, with an accompanying revolution in deeds. Wherever the authorities seek to destroy and demolish, the Jewish camp must call for building and expansion. Any place that the authorities want to abandon, the Jewish camp must demand to return there.
Just what are we talking about, in concrete terms? On the declarative level, we must proclaim to all the world: "There is no Torah, moral or public validity for any relinquishing of parts of Eretz Israel. The Holy One, blessed be He, gave Eretz Israel to the people of Israel for all eternity, and no one has the right to relinquish a single part of it."
Until recently, this was said not only by our rabbis, such as Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, but even by the founders of secular Zionism, such as David Ben-Gurion:
"No Jew is entitled to waive the right of the Jewish people in Eretz Israel. No waiver of this type is binding and does not obligate the Jewish people. Our right to the land, to all the land, exists forever, and until the implementation of the full and complete redemption, we shall not budge from our historic right." (Zikhronot [Memoirs], vol. 5, p. 392)
A referendum, or a majority in the government and the Knesset, do not make any abandonment of Eretz Israel legal and moral, and such decisions may not be obeyed, not even by a soldier or policeman.
Just as we do not recognize any surrender of Shechem, Bethlehem, Kalkilya or Jericho, so, too, we do not recognize the surrender of the Gaza district and northern Samaria. Every day, we shall demand, and act, to return there. We must constantly declare that what was done this summer in Gush Katif and northern Samaria is a crime, and not only because of the deportation of Jews and their transformation into refugees: it is a crime because parts of Eretz Israel were handed over to foreigners.
On the practical level, there is much to do. The following are only a few examples:
Once and for all, we must abolish the acceptance committees that, for years, have limited the expansion of the settlements in Judea and Samaria, and begin the massive construction of apartments in Judea and Samaria.
People must move to Judea and Samaria, especially to the 32 settlements that are on the operating table according to Sharon's mouthpiece, Uzi Dayan. There is no stronger response to the destruction program than the implementation - specifically now - of an operation to double the population of each of these settlements.
Settlement groups must be formed that, when the time comes, with God's help, will return to Gaza, northern Samaria, Jericho, Shechem, Kalkilya and Bethlehem, to settle there forever.
New outpost settlements must be established everywhere throughout Judea and Samaria.
In order to deliver a clear message against further uprootings and deportations, we must advance the "We will neither forget nor forgive" campaign, and call for the placing on trial of the architects and implementers, on all levels, of the crime of deportation, from Prime Minister Sharon to petty clerks such as Yonatan Bassi, to the last of the soldiers and policemen.
Parents of youth must organize and sign petitions saying that we will not send our sons to the pre-military academies and Hesder yeshivas that oppose refusing orders to deport and hand over Eretz Israel to the enemy. Education that teaches the youth that the state and the army are above the commandments of the Torah and above the sanctity of Eretz Israel is a fascist education, and the youth are to be kept away from such places.
All these actions require a true revolution in our thinking. The veteran and official leadership of the religious and national camp is not mentally prepared for such a drastic conceptual change. We shall not forget that a considerable portion of this official leadership participated in this sin of slandering the Land, when they vigorously opposed refusing orders, and instead hugged, danced and "made deals" with the architects and implementers of the deportation crime.
Only the youth can save us from additional deportations, that wonderful youth that fought and showed such self-sacrifice for Gush Katif and northern Samaria. This apparently was understood also by Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephuneh. After the sin of the spies, we do not hear about Caleb and Joshua until the entry to Eretz Israel. What did they do during the course of those thirty-eight years? I am certain that they trained and prepared the youth for the conquest of the Land. Today, we must train, educate and prepare the youth for the struggle over Eretz Israel, that is the struggle for the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel, and for the character of the State of Israel. Please G-d, a true national leadership will emerge from within this wonderful youth that will struggle for Eretz Israel. In the wilderness, it took thirty-eight years because Caleb and Joshua were only two. Today, there are already thousands who are mentally ready for this Jewish revolution and, therefore, we hope that this will take considerably less time.
May it be His will that the year 5766, that comes to us for goodness, will be a year in which the Jews shall prevail over their enemies, both internal and external.
Shanah Tovah! May it be a wonderful year for all of us!