On a long train ride from New York to Florida, an old man moans first to himself and then louder and louder, "Oy, am I thirsty. Oy, am I thirsty!"

Mile after mile, his pathetic moaning, "Oy, am I thirsty! Oy, am I thirsty!" grates on the nerves of every single passenger.

After over an hour of this, the train finally comes to a station. Fifty people rush out and bring the old man a variety of drinks, from expensive mineral water to fruit juices and every variety of soda. The old man drinks heartily.

As the train pulls out, the old man starts to moan, "Oy, was I thirsty. Oy, was I thirsty."

This is what in Yiddish is called a kvetch.

Today, the average Israeli kvetches, "Oy, do I thirst for peace. Oy, do I thirst for peace." Most countries rush to propose avenues to peace. In Israel, the dominant theme of every political campaign is which party will bring peace. First, Ehud Barak won on that theme, and then Ariel Sharon won on that theme. Failing to successfully negotiate even a cease-fire, Sharon now intends to bring peace by surrender. During the hiatus of attacks, the typical Israeli will kvetch, "Oy, did I thirst for peace. Oy, did I thirst for peace."

But it is a Pyrrhic victory. Disengagement is a euphemism for cowardly, frightened, wimpy losers trying to avoid a problem. The disengaged, disingenuous and dishonest Israeli politicians frenetically and desperately seek peace at all costs, rush off like lemmings at every harebrained plan that the United States puts forward, and are prepared to shamelessly make one-sided painful concessions at the drop of a hat. What is ironic and pitiful is that their frenetic, desperate pursuit of peace is what prevented it. Ever try too hard to fall asleep, and you couldn't? It's called paradoxical intention. By trying too hard, you sabotage accomplishing what you want. Some sexual dysfunction is just that, trying too hard. It is specifically our frantic, desperate pursuit of peace that makes it so elusive.

If instead of franticly pursuing peace, the general public would advocate an all-out war, the enemy would instantly sue for peace. In fact, that is consistent with Jewish theology. The Bible commands the Jews, "Do not make a peace treaty with the indigenous people," and threatens that if they do, then "I will do to you what I intended to do to them." (Numbers 33:56) Whether we euphemistically call the peace treaty a Roadmap or Disengagement, if we violate this explicit Biblical injunction, we will all moan, "Oy, why did I make peace? Oy, why did I make peace?"

The sad truth is that while Jews can survive the wars, they cannot survive the peace. The sad truth is that we are a disengaged, disenfranchised, disillusioned people splintered with not so subtle hostility to Jewish minorities. The sad truth is that our leaders are disingenuous, discourteous and dishonest.

The sad truth is that while the so-called Palestinians could not defeat us in war, they can defeat us in peace. They will continue to breed, each Palestinian with his four wives, faster than rabbits. These masses will break the Israeli economy. In peace, Israel will be forced to make suicidal concessions, all in the name of Palestinian rights. In peace, Israel becomes perceived as the violent aggressor and the Arabs are perceived as poor victims. And in peace, Israel is more likely to be attacked by a United Nations multinational force.

As the disingenuous disengagement plan is a repackaged and consistently failed Madrid, Oslo, Wye, Powell, Burns, Tenet, Bush, Saudi, Geneva and Roadmap plans, consider the opposite strategy: engagement.

In engagement, instead of splintering, we unite. As one must become engaged before a marriage, we must become engaged, making a commitment to commit to people-hood. We must achieve Hillel's ideal of loving our fellow man as ourselves.

In engagement, we commit to the united people of Israel, the united land of Israel, and the consistent Bible of Israel. We need not apologize to anyone, especially those European ex-Nazis and ex-Nazi collaborators that are the loudest critics of Israel. The indigenous Arab population does not have nationalistic aspirations because they never were citizens. They were not Roman citizens when Rome dominated. They were not Persian citizens under Persian rule. They were not Greek citizens under Hellenistic domination. They were not Turkish citizens when it was an Ottoman colony. They were not British citizens when it was a British colony. In fact, the overwhelming majority came within the last few generations as migrant workers and simply stole land, built houses, married up to four wives and bred. That hardly gives them the right to their own country.

The Jews have returned to their homeland, which was cruelly stolen from them. If the Roman Empire has rights because of conquest, if the Ottoman Empire has rights because of conquest, then the Jews have rights because of conquest. It now belongs to the Jews and it is the interlopers that must be disengaged. Certainly, they are not entitled to citizenship. At best, some temporary or even permanent residency may be administratively arranged for them to obtain passports, work permits, etc., but they are not entitled to the benefits of citizens, who must donate three years to the army and thereafter a month a year in the reserves. Child subsidies, guaranteed income, free education, subsidized university tuition, free health care, housing subsidies are privileges, not rights; privileges of those who contribute fully to the functioning of the country. Productive members of society are gainfully employed, pay taxes, support the government and serve in the army. The oxymoron called Israeli Arabs is actually Israeli Palestinians, people with split loyalties who should not derive benefits without contributing. They openly declare that they are proud, loyal Palestinians; they should be treated as such.

The Engagement Plan is quite simple. Apply Jewish law to the Jewish state, expel those that advocate the violent overthrow of the government, just as the United States routinely does, provide Israeli citizenship to Jews worldwide without requiring residency and grant all un-farmed land to Jews willing to farm it. Without formally annexing the so-called West Bank, it becomes Israel. Most importantly, in addition to targeting terrorists who kill Jews, target terrorists who kill those Arabs who help Israel and those Arabs that sell land to Jews. This is the least a self-respecting people would do.

No one can love us if we do not love ourselves, no one can respect us if we do not respect ourselves. All successful relationships require a measure of self-love and self-respect. Engagement is that euphoric intimacy before a marriage that readies you for a lifetime commitment. For us, as a people, to have a stable relationship with other nations and peoples, we must first learn to love ourselves and respect ourselves, in other words, the interpersonal growth that derives from an engagement.

After engagement is a period of marital bliss. Just as a couple acquire a stable, trusting security after ironing out their differences during the engagement, after implementing the Engagement Plan, peace will be a byproduct without having to pursue it. Just as happiness is a byproduct of other activity, not an end in itself, peace is a byproduct and not an end in itself. You can no more "make peace" than will yourself to sleep.