Twenty years ago, on June 1,2001, a Hamas terrorist blew himself up at the entrance of the Dolphinarium Bar on the Tel Aviv beachfront. That Arab suicide bomber killed 21 Israeli teenagers and young adults, and injured more than a hundred.
What was the Israeli government's reaction?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
What followed: on August 9, 2001, another suicide bomber blew up the Sbarro restaurant at the corner of Yafo and King George, killing 15 Israelis, mainly kids, and injuring 130.
It was only after the Seder night massacre in 2002 at the Park Hotel, Netanyah, when thirty Israelis were killed and 140 injured, that then PM ArielSharon reacted. The next morning, the IDF invaded Ramallah and permanently besieged terrorist Yasser Arafat in his headquarters, for the rest of his miserable life.
Meanwhile, Israel began to build a wall that severely limited the Palestinian Authority's ability to send terrorists into Israel proper. Permanently limiting their freedom of movement put an end to the suicide bombing campaign that had killed some 1,600 Jews since 1993, the beginning of the Oslo phony "Peace Process".
The lesson to be learned: they must be made to lose. Unless the Arabs lose something that they value, their murderous attacks on Jews continue. In that case, in 2002, they lost freedom of movement - permanently. And if you examine every case where Arabs were not forced to lose something permanently, they continued attacks on the state of Israel:
-In 1956, fed up with Fedayeen/Bedouin terrorist invasion and murder coming out of Sinai, Israel invaded the Sinai, trouncing the Egyptian army. The US forced Israel to retreat from every inch of the Sinai, and guess what - Bedouin thievery never stopped, in fact it has grown, and occasionally it has turned murderous.
-In 1979, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat insisted on getting every centimeter of Sinai sand back from Israel, after the IDF trounced Egypt in wars in 1967 and 1973. We gave back Yamit, air-fields and oil-fields. In return President Carter guaranteed $3 billion a year in "foreign aid/military supplies". We did get that cold peace with Egypt, but to this day, anti-Semites in Congress and in the Arab world call that $3 billion not a quid pro quo for the Sinai retreat, but a foreign aid gift that should be stopped- constituting leverage to squeeze Israel into doing their bidding .
Moreover, to this day Egyptians claim that they won that Yom Kippur War, despite the fact that the IDF was on the western side of the Suez Canal at the war's end, and could have destroyed the entire Egyptian Army (a replay of the 1967 Six Day War ending). Had Israel just kept Yamit, or even one air-field, Egypt could not have claimed victory, and perhaps Egypt would still have signed that treaty, in order to get back full control of the rest of the Sinai, and Israel off the eastern edge of the Suez Canal.
Sadat started a war, killed Jews, and lost nothing.
-in 2000, PM Barak had Chief of Staff Benny Gantz hastily retreat from South Lebanon. The result was the Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon, and the 2006 Lebanon War, with Hezbollah raining missiles as far as Tiberias.
- Of course, the granddaddy of all mistakes was the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif, when Israel evicted 8,800 prosperous farmers and their families from the Gaza area, impoverishing them - and getting in return ? Nothing. Nothing but Hamas, rockets, and dead Israelis. Everyone knows that after round after round of Hamas rockets, and Israel returning fire, it's only going to happen again.
So, how does Israel stop it?
Obviously not by killing more Hamas terrorists - because Islamic fundamentalists don't care a whit about human life lost. The only thing that they care about, is the Land of Israel - and that Jews not live there.
This means that the answer is: pummel the enemy, and don't stop until we retake some piece of land from the "so-called Palestinian" Arabs.
Israel's mistake on May 21, 2021 was to stop shooting at Hamas in Gaza before the IDF retook Alei Sinai, one of the Israeli towns in Gush Katif, less than a kilometer from the border with pre-1967 Israel. Or, lacking the guts to do that, take back Sa-Nur or Homesh (from the PA). This wouldn't punish Hamas directly, but Hamas would get the message: if you start a war with Israel, you will not only get pummeled, but you stand to lose something- PERMANENTLY.
The nonsense goes further: Hamas' missiles provided a smokescreen for Arab squatters in the middle of downtown Yerushalayim to continue to steal Jewish-owned land in the Shimon Hatzadik area (part of the larger areaknown to Arabs and their friends as Sheikh Jarrach).
Worst of all, are our power-hungry egotistical politicians trying to form a minority government that will require the backing of the Arab Ra'am party. Ra'am's chief, Mansour Abbas, heads the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement, a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, the radical Islamist party that has fomented Islamist revolution all over the Mideast. Any government relying on Abbas is a loser by definition: it will never, ever authorize any action, permanent or not, to make Hamas or the PA lose.
However, Israel does not learn, and remains in a rut, till the next round in Gaza.
However, we will win, whether our grade D government knows it or not- in the words of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook:
" יתפתח הישוב בארץ ישראל" --
"It is inevitable: Jewish life in Eretz Yisrael WILL develop, and the National Home will continue to be built. From that process a great spirit will arise, and the National Soul will regain Life and awaken. Recognizing its true self, the Nation will further its independent life on its holy soil. The spirit of this National Soul will spread belief in the G-d of Israel in the Nation of Israel, and ultimately throughout the entire world" (Orot Hatchiyah, opening to chapter 32).
We've just got to stop thinking like losers.
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch is a physician residing in Beit El who works at Hadassah Hospital. He recently completed Rabbinical ordination of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel through an adult study program at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav