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Ask the Rabbi
Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981.
Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History. He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes. He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.
Av 16, 5768, 8/17/2008
As I noted at my personal blog, the first lesson that Israel should be conscious of (not that Israeli politicians are conscious of much) is that the Americans do not come to the aid of small allies with any great alacrity (and we knew that already from our experience with Henry "let them bleed a little" Kissinger during the Yom Kippur War). Yielding on strategic depth and topography is just inviting a future disaster.
While there are some who presume that this latest Georgia crisis should teach Israel a lesson in that South Ossetia, etc. are parallel to Judea and Samaria and that Israel should pull out and ignore the historical dispute despite, perhaps, fully justified rights to be in the territory - otherwise, there will be a Russia-like Arab attack, they miss the point.
In the first instance, Judea and Samaria only came into Israel's possession in 1967. And they did so, along with the Golan, Sinai and Gaza, as a result of an Arab attempt to once again try to eradicate Israel, an Israel that at the time was not an "occupying power" and had not constructed so-called "illegal settlements" (no Jewish town anywhere in Eretz-Yisrael can be 'illegal'). Ibn other words, the Arabs and their allies do not need an excuse like the Georgia situation to attack Israel and kill its Jews. They've done that since before 1920, at which time they refined their murderous attacks on private Jews and moved over to collective violence. It is Israel's continued presence in Judea/Samaria that can assure that no irredentist or local nationalist violence break out that could endanger or destabilize the local situation.
It could be said that what the Hezbollah experimented with and is probably planning right now, and by that I mean a try to wrest the Galillee away from Israel, is akin to what Russia is doing with Georgia. If the Arab citizens of the North achieve what they have been battling for, the next stage is the creation of a South Ossetia situation (an by the way, Ossetians are an Iranian people, shades of Shiites in Lebanon [see the introduction to this book to understand that]), what Hitler יש"ו did with the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia. I hope, though, that there are some people who recall that at the end of World War II, over 2 million Sudeten Germans were transferred out of where they had been living and most of them were summarily expelled. History does sometimes repeat itself.
I could, too, point out that Russia is already "pulling a Georgia" on Israel. And then again, there are interesting aspects of the Georgia-Russia conflict, such as the use of passports to justify military intervention, that I have noticed. My neighbor here in Shiloh, Ariel Sera, told me in schule this morning that at least one good thing has come out of the crisis: effectively, there is no more Quartet. I wonder what Tony Blair will be doing now.
So, since Israel has a stake in Georgia - its Jews, defense contracts, oil, etc., - and needs to learn the geo-strategic lesson, we have been given yet another chance to improve our global position. And that does include our just need to be in Judea and Samaria. We need to build on that and to convince our allies that the policies they have tried to force on Israel can only work not only to our detriment but to their's as well.