Yshai Amichai
Yshai AmichaiCourtesy

There is a passage in the Torah which is hard to comprehend. Exodus 23:27-30 states:

“I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

Why would wild animals be a problem for us? Wouldn’t hostile people be more of a danger to us than a depopulated and untamed land? What can tribes of lions or bears do worse than armies of men? One answer is that men can be reasoned with while wild animals cannot.

But on a deeper level, we are better off fighting men, especially nations cursed by God, than challenging wild animals ruled directly by God. If we sin, we might still hold the moral high ground over our enemies, but if the land is depopulated by God, the barriers He raises up against us could become insurmountable to us.

If God completely cleared the land of sinners, what right would we have to enter unless we proved our righteousness to Him first?

An example of this may be found in 2 Kings 17. The northern kingdom of Israel sinned, and God sent the Assyrians to completely remove them from the land. The Assyrians brought foreigners to settle in place of the banished Israelites, but God sent lions against them. Only after these foreigners learned to serve God at least as well as the banished Israelites, did God allow them to stay.

History has proven though that no independent nation has ever been able to take root in the Land of Israel and achieve complete dominion over it, except through complete submission to God. There is something entirely unique about this tiny strip of Land, a mysterious trait that cannot be explained by rational means without attributing it to God. This Land belongs to God and it was reserved for His people, limited to the ones who serve Him faithfully.

Before the Jews returned to Israel, the Land was desolate and impoverished. But the Jews who returned were not exactly faithful to God, and neither is their government. For this reason we have serious competition, and the Arab population has swelled commensurate with the Jewish one.

On the positive side, the natural barriers have been lifted, such as malaria and desertification, but we are struggling for control over large swaths of territory, facing stiff human resistance, particularly in the East, including eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, but also in the South and in the North, Jewish control is being challenged on a daily basis.

In the South, we’ve basically given up on the Gaza Strip, but even the Negev desert, which Ben Gurion considered the future of Israel, is being overrun by Arab Bedouins who are stealing huge swaths of land with impunity, destroying state infrastructure, stealing water, and even pillaging army bases. Their population has been doubling every 15 years.

The North is not much better off. Excluding Haifa, Arabs are the majority there. But the biggest problem remains in the East, where Arabs are the clear majority and where Israel’s presence is considered by many a foreign occupation. Besides Beitar Illit, Maale Adumim and Ariel, most Jews live there in small and isolated gated communities referred to as settlements.

What is the solution then according to Exodus 23? Once the Jewish population increases enough in those areas to take possession of the Land, God will drive our enemies out. According to this definition the Arabs are merely placeholders, holding the land for us, until we Jews are ready to take possession of it.

Could it really be that simple?

Actually, it’s very complicated. There are clear barriers to our success, barriers likely put up by God. Israel’s east is lawless, like the Wild West, and few Jews are willing to live in most parts of it. But much worse, even the Israeli government is unwilling to let them live there. With limited building permits being issued, most Jews who want to settle there must do so illegally.

In the past it was the Ottomans and the British who limited Jewish access to the Holy Land, but Jews snuck in regardless. Now it’s the Israeli government, under pressure from the Americans and the Europeans, and we should not let them stop us.

The time is ripe for the taking and the economic conditions are in our favor. Real estate prices in central Israel are outrageously high, such that it pays to park a trailer or even build a small structure, risking demolition, even for the temporary free rent. But if this is done with the right planning and by enough people, replicated in many locations, success is almost guaranteed.

Israel’s Wild East is in dire need of God-fearing Jewish pioneers. Americans, Canadians, British, French, and all other Jews worldwide are needed. Together with the local Israelis, we can make this happen if we want to. Israel is ours and it’s ours for the taking.

Yshai Amichai made Aliyah from Los Angeles in 2001, settling in Israel, where he met his wife and where they raise their six children. He may be contacted at: [email protected]