Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
Rabbi Prof. Dov FischerCourtesy

Since mid-January, my time has been jammed with a medical overload of doctor appointments, diagnostic exams, procedures. All part of the regimen after a lung transplant. It is interesting. Through half a century of expressing my opinions, many people have wanted me dead. Sometimes in less favorably disposed places like reform and conservative temples where I have been invited as a guest panelist or speaker — and sometimes even in shuls where I have been the rav serving an eclectic congregation of Jews, including “Tikkun Olam” Social Justice Warriors and their ilk.

So I often met people who wanted me dead. The best things about a lung transplant are: (i) you get great access to handicap-preferential parking, and (ii) you meet scores of incredibly well educated medical professionals whose sole concern is to keep you alive. That’s all they seem to care about: “Rabbi, are you well? The lungs OK? Are you getting your exercise, taking your medicine? Remember: our goal is to see you live a long, long life.”

Go figure. When you are healthy and strong, a rav devoted to serving the Jewish people, the Tikkun Olam crowd want you dead. And when you are a few hours from checking out — Punkt Fahrkehrt! — a whole new world shows up with no other concern but that you outlive them. Gevaldig!

On a more serious note, I have had so much I have wanted to publish the past four weeks, so please bear with me as I endeavor to get it all in with some quick bullet points that belie deeply considered thoughts:

1. I am thrilled by the wildly disparate election surveys predicting either (as Maariv does every Friday) that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud coalition will be wiped out politically . . . or (as Channel 14 does regularly) . . . that the Netanyahu coalition will do quite well. I hope Arutz 14’s “Direct Polls” is right, but I believe the horrible polls at Maariv and the other leftist media are contributing to molding the best Prime Minister Netanyahu we have seen in two decades. If he were doing very well in all the polls, I believe he would have stopped the war by now with another “lawn mowing.” But those polls have him terrified that an entire lifetime legacy will be wiped out by October 7, just as Golda Meir’s and Moshe Dayan’s dubious and undeserved positive legacies were wiped out by the Yom Kippur War, and as Saint Isaac’s legacy is associated with Oslo.

The only way to salvage his lifetime of service is by Bibi crushing Hamas. . If he capitulates to Biden, his legacy is October 7. But if he sticks to his guns, it gets interesting. Another hostage rescue or two. Maybe they catch up with Sinwar, the wife, and kids in the tunnel. Who knows? No electorate is as fickle as Israeli voters. He actually is talking about “Total Victory.”

2. Biden must be ignored. We do in America. Just don’t insult him to his face. It comes down to a common sports tactic: running out the clock. In November, Americans will choose between Biden and Trump. Whoever loses will go to jail, maybe for the rest of their lives. Run out the clock. If Trump wins, be aware that he is not Moshiach. But Trump has a good feeling about Israel and surrounds himself with such.

By November, much of Rafah, Khan Yunis, and the Philadelphia Corridor will have played out. Sinwar will be dead by then or will be exiled to Yemen or Qatar. Gaza will look like Bedrock of The Flintstones. Less than nine months to go. If Biden wins in November, most of the issues will have been resolved anyway. Americans will be fleeing to Yemen for safety. Biden is losing it by the day. Everyone knows. And yet the scariest words this week came from Kamala Harris, who assured media that, if called upon, she is ready to step in. Uh-oh. So Bibi has to run out the clock.

3. Trump also is running out the clock. His strategy now is to file an appeal after every corrupt lawfare prosecution, waiting each time for the last day to appeal to maximize the delay. That prolongs the process until the cases get to the Supreme Court. Then they will decide what they will, and it will go back to the trial courts to start trials, and it will be November.

If Trump wins the November election, then the federal trials won’t matter because he will pardon himself in all those. Unlike Bibi, he would have that power. Even if he loses his one state case — the one in Georgia, which itself has become a three-ring circus now that his prosecutors are on trial — the Republican governor will pardon him. And if he loses the November election, he will be on trial for the rest of his life. It is cruel and evil, but that is our world.

4. There are fewer innocent civilians in Gaza than in Sodom and Gomorrah. Obama famously said “Elections have consequences.” They voted for Hamas. They got Hamas. As H.L. Mencken said, democracy is the system of government proposing that the people know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard. They danced and handed candies to children after 9/11. They celebrate missiles and rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.

When Israel would agree to end each “mowing the grass” operation in Gaza, those civilians would pour into the streets and celebrate another “victory.” They celebrated October 7. Hundreds, if not thousands, of the Arabs who crossed the border on Shabbat Shmini Atzeret October 7 to steal, plunder, rape, torture, murder, and kidnap were “innocent Gaza civilians.” Every other “civilian” home in Gaza has a Hamas tunnel under its children’s bedroom playpen.

Israel should not wantonly slaughter people in Gaza; that is not our way. But those in the way are in the way. Not one IDF soldier, male or female, Jewish or Muslim or Druze, should face peril in order to appease Biden and Blinken, the UN and the European Union. If they want to create a safe place for the Gazans, let them open their own borders to them. Jordan does not want them. Egypt does not. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq — who wants them?

5. Israel came into being despite Harry Truman, who is way-way overrated as a “friend of Israel” by a people who are so desperate for friends that they forget he embargoed weapons to fledgling Israel amid the War of Independence. If Israel could defeat all those invading Arab armies then, she can defeat Hamas now. How did she do it then? She found anti-Semites like the government of pre-Hitler Poland to arm and train the Irgun, Lechi, and Haganah. She got weapons from Czechoslovakian communists. And she had the Italian-American mafia, who controlled the docks of Jersey City and Manhattan’s West Side Pier, working with Jewish teenagers and their parents, illegally running guns to Israel by cover of darkness.

Now she has fighter aircraft, tanks, and all kinds of materiel. Any Biden-Blinken embargo is a temporary hassle, at most. It will win Michigan for Biden in November and will cost him more states than that. And there are other ways to fight. If Israel does not get the weapons she asks for, Bibi will review the polls and will decide he has no choice but complete victory anyway. So he will start doing all the other things he should have been doing already. No more electricity. No meds. No water. Tight siege.

Israel has plenty of tools it is not yet using (and should). Once Biden and Blinken cut off anything, they no longer can dangle the threat. What are you gonna do next, take Israel to the International Court? Been there, done that. Investigate? Done. Sanction four farmers in Hevron and elsewhere in Judea and Samaria? Done. Leak slander to Thomas Friedman? Deny Israelis visas to visit America? Nukh besser.

6. There is never going to be an Arab country west of the Jordan River. First, that would entail relocating some 350,000 Jews in Jerusalem eastern neighborhoods and another 517,407 throughout the rest of Judea and Samaria. For all the talk, no one (except me — for years) ever addresses that. It is impossible. Not “impractical” or “impracticable” but impossible. Sharon barely uprooted 8,500 Jews from Gush Katif. How are they going to uproot 100 times that? And who’s going to do that after October 7, rewarding the Hamas Massacres with a Hamas country?

The idea is preposterous., not merely because it is foolish — but because it is impossible. Also, unlike Gush Katif, that means uprooting more than 10 percent of the Jewish population of the country. Impossible. Eleven MKs live there; that is ten percent of the Jews in the Knesset. That’s when Gideon Sa’ar, Ze’ev Elkin, Avigdor Liberman, and the whole bunch of them get off their high horses. Never gonna happen. Anyone who believes Liberman’s G-dless Russians and Sa’ar’s Bibi-haters will vote to give Abbas a country is fantasizing. And 40-50 percent of the graduates of IDF Officers Course come from Judea and Samaria. It is never going to happen.

7. I do not have the freedom to write anonymous reader comments, so I will not call Ehud Barak a traitor. But he is no patriot. He is all over the world, speaking against Israel. He is the moron who unilaterally left Southern Lebanon to Nasrallah and Hezbollah, without even negotiating an exit plan. He is associated with Israel’s catastrophic movement away from manufacturing more of her own weapons and spare parts, aiming instead to rely on technology and the Americans.

Moshe Arens had it right: Israel needed to create that Lavie fighting aircraft and her own aviation industry. She still can. This war has been a slow wake-up call. Israel can catch up quickly. The motivation and brains are there. I don’t know what Israel has in Dimona, but if Israel has Dimona, Israel can build anything. Nor is it a one-way street. If America ever pushes Israel too far or too hard, no one will feel it worse than the American defense establishment.

America’s weapons industry is pumped up by presidents convincing anti-war Democrats to finance the weapons industry by allocating “aid to Israel,” which actually is a federal grant to American defense contractors in America to develop weapons, with the help of Israel, for Israel and for America. Barak’s role in compromising Israel’s national security is for Israelis to weigh, but Americans will punish any American administration that pushes Israel too hard.

8. Even the left-wing anti-Bibi election polls fail to evaluate the limits of a left-wing coalition. Mansour Abbas has not been tested as a coalition partner amid a war where Arabs claim (falsely) that Israel is killing 20,000 and more Arabs in Gaza. He simply cannot sit in such a coalition.

Avigdor Liberman has his limits. He can hate everyone at once, but he cannot act on all those hates simultaneously. If he is about to be killed by Hamas, and his home is about to be given to Arabs, he will find a way to sit with Deri and Agudah, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. Same with Sa’ar. In all those Maariv and other leftist polls, they never consider how shaky the left coalition is. Even Benny Gantz cannot stomach Yair Lapid. He harbors contempt for a blowhard who is too special and important to sit in a unity government and to take the heat for good of country. No love there.

9. The “Day After.” Everyone is attacking Bibi for not spelling out his plans for “The Day After.” When my wife was pregnant with my kids, I did not have a plan for how I would support them. I ended up putting them all through college. When I got semikha, I did not know I would be writing for several publications and teaching Torah on YouTube, sometimes to thousands, 40 years later.

When Reagan sent Marines into Lebanon, and Bush went into Iraq, and Biden scooted out of Afghanistan, what was their “Day After” plan? Gantz has a plan? Biden even knows what day it is? What, like Rabin had a plan for the Day After Oslo? Or Sharon for the Day After Gush Katif? Bibi has been very clear: Israel will occupy Gaza the Day After. Mahmoud Abbas and the “Palestine” Authority never again will be allowed to control Gaza. There won’t be another UNIFIL. It won’t be UNRWA. Anyone who pays stipends for terrorism or who denies October 7 or abides terror will have no role. And there will not be an Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan. Sounds pretty clear.

Jews were going up in smoke 80 years ago. The newly founded Israel was on the verge of annihilation, with seven armed Arab countries invading from everywhere. Israel had barely an air force, was a rag-tag assemblage of Holocaust survivors, Marxist farmers, and Yemenites who never had seen an airplane a few years earlier. The road to Jerusalem was blockaded. American Jews were so weak and terrified of their status that they were afraid to march in public against Hitler. The leaders of the Reform Movement and of American Jewry were universally anti-Zionist, opposed to a Jewish country at all. That is what made Louis Brandeis such an outlier.

Marshall Sklare, a hero of “conservative judaism” and the “father of American Jewish sociology,” predicted in 1955 the soon demise of Orthodox Judaism in America. Instead, Orthodox Judaism is stronger than ever, and “conservative judaism” is disappearing, left with little to celebrate except the recent “marriage” of two of their lesbian rabbis. And in Israel, more than half of the governing coalition MKs are Orthodox. Unprecedented.

These are the best of times. Do not doubt it. If there is anti-Semitism at Harvard, Penn, Columbia, and MIT, that’s because now there are Jews there to hate. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Jews could not even get in. Jewish professors changed their names to ridiculously non-Jewish names in order to get jobs. I know one personally. Jewish comedians and actors changed their names. Now, even Sarah Silverman, Ben Cohen, and Jerry Siegel go by their real names.

Don’t let the naysayers and the negative news get you down. If the New York Times now makes Israel seem bad, their prior generation of Jewish editors ignored the Shoah altogether and opposed a Jewish country. No one dared expect any American president to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

Irish women basketball players won’t shake our hands? So save on Purell and go stuff them by 30 points. UNRWA? Now — finally! — exposed. South Africa’s ANC attacking Jews in the International Court of Justice? At least they are not eating us. Even the head of Argentina is on the program. Remember the Iranian bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires and the anti-Semitic Peronistas? Now Argentina has a leader whose first visit abroad is to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s gravesite. Don’t cry for us, Argentina. Just move the embassy.

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His 10-part exciting and fact-based series of one-hour classes on the Jewish Underground liberation movement (Irgun, Lechi, and Haganah) and the rise of modern Israel can be found here at bit.ly/474Wnyg. In it, he uses historic video clips of Irgun, Lechi, and Haganah actions and decades of past Arab terrorist atrocities, as well as stirring musical selections from the underground and video interviews of participants, to augment data, statistics, maps, and additional historical records to create a fascinating, often gripping, and scholarly enriching educational experience about issues that remain deeply relevant today as Israel engages in an existential war in Gaza against Hamas terrorism.

His latest deeply moving series of informational and inspirational programs on the Hamas Gaza war and related world Jewish news may be found here at bit.ly/3vr0w2i.

His 40-part Bible Study series covering all of I Samuel (First Samuel) intensively with Talmudic and Midrashic commentaries is now up here at bit.ly/3NYFZsD.

And his 9-part intensive Megillah study series is up temporarily here at bit.ly/4bs0HuP