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By Tzvi Fishman
8/4/2008, 12:00 AM

Let’s face it. No one at Israel National News is going to come out and say it, cause you can’t cut off the hand that feeds you. It’s staff writers can’t say it, because they’d run into a lot of flack. Since INN bloggers don’t get paid, they could write the truth, but who wants to risk his or her popularity and get creamed in the face with a lot of angry talkbacks? So that leaves me. Since I’ve already quit, I have nothing to lose.

Destruction of Jerusalem

We are approaching Tisha B’Av and the reason the Temple still has not been rebuilt is not because of Olmert. It is not because of corruption in high places, or because of the leftist media, or because of rampant secularism, or because of settlers and rabbis who don’t put up a fight. It is not because there are occasional murders in the Holy Land, and prostitutes, and trips to the beach on Shabbat.  The reason the Temple has not been rebuilt is because the Land is not properly loved, because it has not been fully conquered, because foreign enemies have not been expelled, and, first and foremost, because there are Diaspora Jews who still prefer galut over Israel.

During these three weeks, and especially during these nine days, we are called upon to make an inner reckoning over what caused the Temple’s destruction, and to determine what is the proper atonement and rectification? Our Sages teach us that the seeds of destruction were planted with the sin of the Spies for refusing to enter the Land of Israel. That tragedy occurred on Tisha B’Av. Because the people wept that night for no reason, G-d made it a night of weeping for all generations. At that moment it was decreed that the Temple would be destroyed and that the Jews would be exiled among the nations of the world (Yalkut Shimoni, 1:743).

Just as the generation of the wilderness “despised the cherished Land,” the rectification is for us to love it with a towering love. To atone for their reluctance to conquer the Land, we must put all of the Land under our sovereignty and control. Because they refused to settle in the Land and chose to live in the wilderness instead, to rectify their sin, we must abandon the exile and come to live in Israel.

Anyone who says, “I love the Land, but I am remaining in the Diaspora because I don’t like the present government, or the Medina, or the leftists, or the rabbis, or the color of the flag,” is continuing the sin of the Spies, prolonging the exile, and lending fuel to the ancient flames of destruction. Anyone who says, “I love the Land, but it is suicide to make aliyah,” is parroting the wicked counsel of the Spies. Instead of acting to rectify the sin, by coming to live in Israel, he is adding coals to keep the Temple fire burning.

You can squawk all you want, but that’s the truth, and someone had to say it.