Bacon, Michael Oren and Torah

This is democracy as idolatry.

Myles Kantor,

Arutz 7

Personal bravery, or even heroism, does not entitle a man to violate the laws of the Almighty.

Michael Oren has been selected as Israel's new ambassador to the United States. On the surface, Oren seems
There is another side to Oren.
like a robust defender of Israel. He made Aliyah in 1979, served as a paratrooper in the First Lebanon War, served in the IDF thereafter, and recently wrote, "The preservation of Jerusalem as the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish state is vital to Israel's existence." (Commentary, May edition)

But there is another side to Oren.

In a March lecture at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Oren said, "I believe that the only alternative Israel has to save itself as a Jewish state... is by unilaterally withdrawing our border and withdrawing our settlements in the West Bank." Prior to these remarks, Oren participated in the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Apparently unaware of the heinous irony in his words, Oren wrote of his participation in the expulsion, "[W]e came unarmed, wearing neither helmets nor flakjackets, but only netted vests emblazoned with the Menorah and the Star of David." He remarked in the Georgetown lecture, "At one point, we had to break into a synagogue and carry off worshipers physically onto buses."

Neither Philistines nor Babylonians nor Romans perpetrated this latest atrocity against Jews and desecration of Divine sovereignty. A supposedly Jewish government was the perpetrator.

Oren said in Georgetown regarding the subsequent election of Hamas in Gaza, "The fact that Hamas was elected by the majority of the population of Gaza doesn't bestow legitimacy on Hamas in my eyes." He likewise commented regarding electoral gains by the Nazis before the rise of Hitler, "Democracy does not ipso facto bestow legitimacy or rule out enmity or belligerence."

Yet, democracy figures centrally in Oren's defense of his "service" in the Gaza expulsion:

"[An] embedded American correspondent and I observed a battalion drilling their anti-riot techniques.... When asked about their feelings on Gaza, they insisted that their personal opinions were irrelevant, and that as soldiers, their duty was to carry out the instructions of the legitimately elected government. The assignment, they admitted, was tough, but essential to defend democracy."

This is democracy as idolatry, as if a certain percentage of the Israeli electorate can nullify Divine commandments and dispossess citizens (consider Shemot 23:2). The Knesset can no more legitimately vote away holy land than it can require bacon be served in schools. Oren's ability to identify democratically imposed injustice seems confined to lands outside his own.

Oren's recommendation for further land withdrawals and expulsions extends the pattern of what could be called Israeli pseudo-nationalism. Several recent examples include:

  • Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon oversaw the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. He previously had a key role in establishing Jewish communities in Gaza in the 1970s.

  • During his first term as prime minister in 1997, current prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu transferred 80 percent of Hebron to Yasser Arafat's rule and desecrated the City of the Patriarchs. He furthermore began negotiations with Syria to withdraw from much of the Golan Heights. As finance minister under Sharon, Netanyahu voted four times for the expulsion of Jews from Gaza.

  • Former foreign minister under Sharon and current opposition leader Tzipi Livni said in February that "we need to give up half of the Land of Israel."

  • Current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has advocated transferring Israeli land to Arab rule in exchange
    Have times changed so much?
    for what is already Israeli land in Judea and Samaria. This proposal amounts to, "Give us what is already ours and we will give you what is not yours."

Have times changed so much since Nechemiah's words after the destruction of the First Temple?

"And our kings, our princes, our priests, and our forefathers did not keep Your Law and did not hearken to Your commandments and to Your warnings, with which You warned them." (Nechemiah 9:34)

What individuals like Oren and Netanyahu reflect is a larger alienation from fundamental Judaic values. Those who advocate the surrender of our Biblical bequest and Biblical duty launch war against Torah and jeopardize Jews, regardless of party affiliation. May Israel be Israel, and turn away from this disastrous course.