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Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
I promised in the Pesach Eve confession that I was going to work on my hauntiness and my holier-than-thou posturing, so I am throwing away the towel and the "Mr. T’shuva" image that went with it. Instead, I have chosen a snapshot from my old Israeli Army days. I wasn’t the greatest of soldiers, and it is probably coincidental that Tzahal has gone downhill since I left it ranks. Nonetheless, the picture is appropriate to the new Hebrew month of Iyar, and its celebrations of Yom Haatzmaut and Jerusalem Day. Hopefully, it will remind readers that one needn’t be a gentilized Jew in the exile, like I used to be in my Hollywood days, always trying to be even more gentile than the gentiles.
Please do not mistake the vehemence of the debate for animosity. I am fond of my fellow Jews in the Diaspora, even the most strident debaters, and they probably have grown a cyberspace liking to me.
With the help of G-d, in the upcoming weeks, in addition to our usual potpourri of essays, we will be writing in depth about the holiness of the Jewish State, and clearing up some of the distortions, misunderstandings, and outbursts of ignorance still surrounding the subject. While we are certain that the great majority of INN readers have a great love and appreciation for the State of Israel, there are others who disseminate all kinds of negative nonsense about it. They do this in order to justify their own failure to come to Israel and contribute their share in rebuilding the Jewish Nation in its Land. Since these confused souls bring all kinds of proclamations and proofs to support their exile mentality, we are forced to restate things that are obvious to every healthy mind, so that the poison not spread to others who may be adversely influenced by their practiced glibness. We are not so naive to believe that we can change their opinions, rather we will write about the unparalleled mitzvah of living in Israel, so that their love of foreign countries does not lead others astray. Just as there are those who will hear the call of our Prophets resonating from these pages and see the actualization of their prophecies in the events of our times, there are others with blocked ears and blind eyes, who will be lost, like those who perished in the Plague of Darkness. Nonetheless, we pray to G-d, as the Jewish People have been praying for two thousand years, "May You blow the shofar of our freedom, and raise the banner to gather our exiles, and bring us speedily together from the four corners of the earth to our Land."
Ironically, this is also the prayer that our erring brothers, the Israel bashers themselves, say three times a day, though they merely mumble the words with no thought to what they are saying, like the chattering of parakeets in a cage.
Please do not mistake the vehemence of the debate for animosity. I am fond of my fellow Jews in the Diaspora, even the most strident debaters, and they probably have grown a cyberspace liking to me. True, I think their views are off the wall, but I understand that life in the exile has distorted their clearness of thought. Often my very own children think differently than me, but I love them just the same.
To conclude, a word about my credentials, lest detractors claim that I am a white-washer of the country’s ills. Though I love the State of Israel with a passionate ardor, I have no qualms about recognizing its faults and working to improve them. I can do this because I live here. I have served in the Israeli Army and so do my children. Though my house is filled with Israeli flags throughout the whole month of Iyar, and a blue and white flag flaps proudly on the antenna of my car, I have no problem with criticizing the faults of governments and political leaders who formulate policies detrimental to Torah and to the settlement of Eretz Yisrael. For example, together with friends, I designed and produced many of the most strident protest posters during the Oslo years. Posters we made protesting the traitorous evacuation from Gush Katif were plastered all over the streets and highways of Israel and were seen at every demonstration. When the Stop The Evacuation Committee in Gush Katif came out with their fawning, bootlicking, sychophantic "Love Will Win Out" campaign, we advised them that they were wrong, that Sharon would only step on them for their weakness. Unfortunately, they clung to their illusions, unable to distinguish between the holiness of the State and the evildoers in power. Thus they rejected the hard-hitting protest video we made for them, preferring a "la-la-la" musical video clip of settlements that were doomed for the chopping block and the cruel, heartless carving knife of the butcher. Later, after the tragedy, the video we made condemning the unpardonable crime and its perpetrators was seen by INN viewers all over the world. Another anonymous video, made with the help of talented friends, about the pogrom at Amona, was seen in unsparing detail by uncountable INN viewers who watched aghast as the Darth Vadar horsemen of the Israeli police trampled upon rock-throwing youngsters. That video, distributed all over Israel during the last elections, helped reduce the landslide of votes predicted for Olmert and his Kadima (Achora) party. We did it even though we knew that there would be Jews in the Diaspora who would use the cossack-like brutality of the police at Amona to bolster their long list of excuses for not coming to Israel. So, my friends, while I praise G-d with all of my heart for giving us the State of Israel, I feel no hesitation in fighting against those who seek to corrupt its Divine mission of making all of the Land of Israel, the Land of the Jews alone.
When a Jew steals, or watches pornography on the Internet, or speaks slanderously about life in the Land of Israel, his holiness is soiled, but he is still a Jew. We do not throw him in the garbage because he is not perfect.
Yes, the State of Israel is holy! Just like each and every Jew. When a Jew steals, or watches pornography on the Internet, or speaks slanderously about life in the Land of Israel, his holiness is soiled, but he is still a Jew. We do not throw him in the garbage because he is not perfect. Though he has sinned, his essence is still holy. If he repents and corrects his erring ways, his holiness will sparkle as before. So too with the State of Israel, which is
G-d’s great and holy gift to the Jewish People, the vehicle He has chosen for the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of the scattered and decimated Jewish Nation. We appreciate all the wonderful good that Medinat Yisrael brings to our nation, and at the same time, we work hard to improve its faults.
Jews of the world! Religious and non-religious alike. Take off your blinders! Cast off your pathetic, transparent excuses! Pick up your shovels, roll up your trousers, get your hands dirty, and come home and help with the work of rebuilding our holy nation in our Holy Land!