“The days are coming,” declares Hashem,
“when I will send a hunger through the land.
Not a hunger of food or a thirst for water, but a hunger to hear the words of Hashem” (Amos 8:11)
The vital need to decide, once and for all, the status of the territories Israel liberated in the Six-Day War could not be more pressing.
Last week’s High Court ruling invalidating the property rights of at least 2,000 Jewish homeowners in Judea and Samaria -- while at the same time, the State is gearing up to apply sovereignty to the areas in which they live -- along with the growing number of unanswered questions about the "real deal within the Deal" -- and, finally, the shocking disclosure that the IDF and Shin Bet have not once been consulted, expose what happens when we operate away from our Jewish Identity and Jewish Law. When common sense and self-preservation are cast aside, foolhardy, dangerous ideas take over.
This foolhardiness includes ignoring the loss of Israel’s primary source for drinking water! The issue came to our attention, in a roundabout way, after reading David Elhayani’s claim that the Trump peace plan snips off 5% of the parcel designated for Israeli sovereignty in Area C to go, instead, to the “waters of the Dead Sea.” With a bit of research, we soon discovered that withdrawing from Judea and Samaria poses much more than a threat to Israel’s security – it leaves control of the all-important Mountain Aquifer in hostile and reckless hands, G-d Forbid.
Founded in 1937, Israel’s National Water System is a labyrinth of interdependent connections utilizing freshwater from the Kinneret, rainwater and deep underground wellsprings to sustain the country’s health and well-being, agriculture, and industry. Spanning the length and breadth of the so-called “West Bank,” the Mountain Aquifer is key to the system's functioning in both delivering drinking water to where most Israelis live and balancing the salt/freshwater equation in the Coastal Aquifer. See this link: (courtesy of Mark Langfan).
As can be seen in the above link, ceding control over the Mountain Aquifer would leave Israel dependent upon the goodwill of Palestinian Arab authorities to supply them with water.
Israel would also have to rely on unlikely and unreliable Palestinian Arab cooperation to maintain the above noted salt/freshwater balance, a risky move considering what poor guardians Palestinian Arabs have shown themselves to be since signing a water sharing agreement with Israel in 1995. Not only have they engaged in unauthorized drilling, but they have also been lax in treating their sewage, contaminating the environment, streams, and the aquifer en route. Despite a 2017 incentive facilitated by President Trump’s then peace envoy Jason Greenblatt that increased water sales to the Palestinian Authority, they continue to abuse and mismanage the precious Mountain Aquifer.
Along the eastern side of the Mountain Aquifer, water wends its way in streams and underground springs along a steep descent into the Jordan Valley. Nourishing lush reserves like Ein Gedi, Nature also takes a small but necessary contribution to help replenish the nearby Dead Sea basin. Fortuitous discoveries in 2006 by Hebrew University’s Institute of Earth Sciences revealed a massive underground reservoir of fresh water flowing under the Judean Hills that has the potential to supply up to 5% of Israel’s freshwater needs...if it remains under Israeli control.
In 2015 Israel and Jordan signed a water sharing project – still in the pilot stage – to build a 900 million-dollar desalination plant on the Gulf of Aqaba that would also pipe a token amount of brine (a byproduct of desalination) mixed with water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. Jordan agreed to sell desalinated water to southern Israel in return for more water from the Kinneret. Even if this pipeline is built someday, the agreement is not designed to increase Israel’s total supply of fresh water.
The consensus among experts rejects ceding control, in any way, over the Mountain Aquifer. For an in-depth analysis, see:here.
Israel will have no way to fill in the gap should it cede control of the Mountain Aquifer– and we haven’t even mentioned the hit the fertile Beit Shaan and Jezreel Valleys will take when they no longer have water flowing in from the Northern wellspring in Samaria! The same mistake made in 1995, relying on Palestinian Arab goodwill to share and manage water resources, is being made again in the Peace to Prosperity plan, only this time with far worse ramifications for Israel.
Can Prime Minister Netanyahu be unilaterally giving away vital freshwater resources for a product that is at best second rate and setting in motion a watershed of economic, social and security woes that will take decades to repair?
Relinquishing Judea and Samaria points to a serious lack of forethought or total insanity on the part of the triune who crafted the Deal of the Century. Far worse, though, is the open disregard shown by the Israeli architects of Land for Peace for the welfare of their fellow Jews. Instead of surrendering land, resources and security, Israel should expand its presence and talents in Judea and Samaria. This, said the Lubavitcher Rebbe, is what will truly bring peace and prosperity to Israel – and, the Arabs who choose to live there and pledge loyalty to the State of Israel will reap its benefits as well.
On Gimmel Tammuz, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Yom Hillula, let us draw upon the Rebbe’s wise counsel.
The Rebbe firmly believed that when Jewish lives are at stake, all of us are obliged to resist and protest, “for even if there is only one thousandth of a chance or even a fraction of that, we may not stand idly by while our brother’s blood is being spilled – this is the ruling in the Code of Jewish Law.”(the Rebbe in a public address on Motzie Shabbos B’reishis, 1978)
On several auspicious occasions the Rebbe called on Rabbonim and G’dolei Torah to assume their responsibility and take the lead in amending the situation with the issuance of a clear ruling, again and again, until it is well understood by all:
“That the entire Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation. It is forbidden to relinquish any parcel of real estate in Israel to a Gentile, no matter how small.
"Any compromise on this is forbidden, even more so when we speak of a city on the border. Today, every single city in Israel has the law of a city on the border.
"The one and only reason for this ruling is the danger [it brings] to Jewish lives, G-d forbid.” (Lubavitcher Rebbe, 1978)
This plan represents a retreat. It calls for us to leave 70% of Judea and Samaria and retain only 30%. But at present, we have 100%!
Practically speaking, the area is in our control. Our army rules, our citizens pay taxes, receive government funding, take part in national elections, and go the army, and there is water and electricity. It is in our hands. This is exactly what we are commanded: ‘Not to abandon the Land into the hands of others’ meaning [we cannot allow any of our land to be] under foreign rule.” (Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Rosh Yeshiva Ateret Kohanim in Jerusalem, in an interview with Vision Magazine, June 9, 2020)
"May it be G-d’s Will that there should finally be the fulfillment of the verse: And the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the water covers the ocean bed.
"Resulting, immediately, in no longer fearing ‘what will the nations say’ or worrying over which policy they will favor; no longer will a Jew shake at ‘the sound of a driven leaf.’
"For G-d will help His nation to walk upright, with conviction and strength.” (from the Rebbe’s letter to Israeli journalist and poet, Uri Tzvi Greenberg, the 22nd of Cheshvan, 1977)
Tamar Adelstein and Faige Lobel represent CROWN HEIGHTS WOMEN FOR THE SAFETY AND INTEGRITY OF ISRAEL, uniting Jewish Women around the world under the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s directives for true peace.