Love Me, Love Me Not

The main issue on which the settlers should be focusing is not "who loves me and who loves me not". The main issue is security.

Aliza Karp,

In response to Haaretz correspondent Daniel Ben Simon's presentation made at the Jerusalem Conference, Jewish outreach leader Yisrael Ze'ira presented a plan of action, as reported by Israel National News.com.
 
Ben Simon makes a good case that the settler community is focused inward, out of touch with the general Jewish public in Eretz Yisroel. He connects this form of "disengagement" with the evacuation from Gaza and future evacuations, G-d forbid.
 
Ze'ira then takes up the challenge and outlines a plan for the settler community, the religious-Zionist camp, to re-connect with the society they rely upon to give them support. He says the settlers have to begin communicating on levels that are not strictly political. Although he mentions economic issues, social welfare, acts of chesed and ahavas Yisroel, his main thrust is to reach out and teach Torah.
 
Reaching out and teaching Torah to Jews is, of course, a win-win technique at any time and in any place. The results will be positive regardless of extenuating circumstances or what the future may bring. The more Torah a Jew knows, the more enriched is his life and the lives of those around him, and the closer we are to Moshiach.

However, when it comes to countering the policies of the government, the approach is still focused inward. The way the plan was presented, Ze'ira is still concerned with the popularity of the settlers. They didn't like us in this dress with this brand of perfume, so let's upgrade and put on that dress and that brand of perfume. 
 
Meanwhile, the main issue on which the settlers should be focusing is not who loves me and who loves me not. The main issue is security.
 
Ben Simon stated that when he would go to funerals for soldiers who fell in the line of duty in Judea, Samaria and, especially in Gaza, he would repeatedly hear the hostile questions: What was he doing there? Who was he protecting?
 
If these are the questions, then the answers to those questions are the key to communication and connection.
 
The first question - What is the army doing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza? - has two answers. The first answer is addressed by Ze'ira's plan of teaching Torah. Rashi's comment on the first verse in the Torah explains that the land belongs to the Jews. Jews who are ignorant of the Torah have problems standing up for their inherent rights. Sufficient Jewish education will eventually answer their question of what we are doing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and give them the strength to stand by their knowledge.
 
Ben Simon mentions that an overwhelming number of Jews feel exhausted from their struggle to live without fear. The first Rashi addresses this concern as well. These are people who see their connection to the land as being 58 years old, as opposed to 5,766 years old. Once they understand the root of their connection to the land stems from creation and the blossoming of that connection is from the time of Avraham Avinu 4,000 years ago, they will feel less tired. In a history of thousands of years - the recent 2,000 of which the Jews did not have a sovereign state - a mere fifty years of struggle are not exhausting - as opposed to fifty out of fifty.
 
So, teaching Torah is not only an enriching experience and not only one to give the settlers a chance to connect, it will give the answer to the first question - the connection of Am Yisroel to Eretz Yisroel, the real reason why the soldiers are in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It is something an alarming number of Jews in Eretz Yisroel do not know.
 
As deep and as true as the first answer is, in this generation of instant gratification, the second answer is more efficient. Yaakov prepared for war with Esau on more than one front - a lesson for our generation when it comes to brotherly relationships. Therefore, a second line of reasoning is recommended.
 
The second response to explain what the army is doing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza actually also answers the second question: Who are they protecting?
 
The army is in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to protect the five million Jews in Eretz Yisroel. No, they are not there just for the settlers. In fact, since the army is there for the entire population, and the settlers actually make their task easier, the settlers are in effect assisting in the protection of the Jews of Eretz Yisroel.
 
No one has to take anyone's word for it. The army has had to go back into Gaza, but not to protect the settlers. They went back in order to protect the main population centers. Each time the army has to make a fresh ground assault, the lives of our precious soldiers are at risk even more than when they are well established in the area and have all their intelligence gathering up to date.
 
Samaria is the same. Anyone who has traveled there knows that the coastal cities are in clear view of the strategic hilltops of the region. Again, it is the settlers assisting the soldiers who are protecting the main population centers, not the soldiers protecting the settlers.
 
The answer to the question of who the soldiers are protecting has nothing to do with the settlers, and whether the general public loves them or not. Making believe it is the fault of the settlers for the fallen soldiers is a distraction from the facts; it is scapegoating the Jew (how original).
 
Public opinion is being led to believe the settlers are the bad guys. The settlers should not fall into the trap of trying to win a popularity contest. If they are going to teach the public, let them teach of the dangers that face Green Line residents when the settlers are evacuated. It should not be so hard; the facts are in. The Arabs have not exactly turned their Kassams into plowshares in response to the retreat from Gaza.
 
It all comes back to Torah. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 239:6 states that we have to defend ourselves properly, even if it means upsetting the world, by making a preemptive strike, and even on Shabbos.
 
The issue is not protecting settlers in Judea and Samaria, love them or hate them; the issue is protecting civilians the length and breadth of the Land of Israel.




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