When I wedded in the 25-year marriage, doomed from its first day to eventual divorce, I soon enough encountered a terrible challenge that I was not prepared for, too young to handle properly, and that ruined some of my life and detoured some of my dreams. I had a new father-in-law who was dead-set on steering me away from my calling, to refocus me on aspiring to become a money machine who would make lots of bucks. Go into business. Open a store. Become a lawyer, an accountant, an actuary. Make lots of money, and then think of all the good you could do by donating charitably to your favorite rabbis.
“Dov, I am urging you to leave your rabbinic path because I care about you. I want what’s good for you. Follow my advice. I am older, wiser. You are too much involved to see the big picture from a distance. I know what’s best for you. Leave the rabbinate and focus on making money.”
So I went to law school and became a successful attorney, et cetera. The thing is, I never made peace with having left the rabbinate. The moment my divorce was final a quarter century later, I embarked on a path to exit law practice and return to being a full-time rabbi, with a side gig as an adjunct professor of law (because I love teaching). The transition saved my life. Soon after, I met Ellen of blessed memory, the love of my life, and I have lived happily ever after, even blessed with a wonderful new life love after glioblastoma took Ellen.
I share this because I think back to it as I watch Joe Biden love Israel to death.
First, though I will absolutely vote for his Republican opponent in 2024, I am delighted to recognize that he truly has proven better than 90 percent of his party, an octogenarian among the last of the dying breed of old-time John F. Kennedy-Daniel Moynihan-Henry “Scoop” Jackson Democrats whose liberalism was moderate, who were unapologetic capitalists and bold anti-Communists, were compassionate without being progressive or woke, and who loved Israel deeply as the Middle East’s vanguard of American-style Judeo-Christian values. They saw Israel as a Western democracy amid cutthroat oligarchs, tyrants, and generals. They saw how it had fought its way into freedom by leading the world in anti-colonialism, driving out British imperialist colonialists who claimed ownership everywhere on the globe. It was Israel’s example, by its fighting anti-colonialist underground comprised of the Irgun, the Lechi, and the Haganah, that inspired other peoples to free themselves from the shackles of colonialism. Democrats from the 1960s to 1980s loved Israel. Joe Biden came of political age during those years. I met him in 1985 (another story!), and I sat in the front row listening to him deliver one of the strongest pro-Israel speeches I ever heard.
Sure, I knew even then that he was corrupt, but there was something in his words that brought — well, not a thrill up my leg, but a sense that some of this really was honest, that this junior senator from Delaware had Israel in his bones and never would let it fall on his watch. I never imagined he someday would be president of the United States. I still don’t.
Joe is a vestige of a different time. Today’s Democrats will not expel people like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar whose language evokes memories of Nazis past. The Ocasios and Omars and Tlaibs and Cori Bushes push today’s Democrat agenda. They are untouchable Democrats. The Jamaal Bowmans know where the fire alarms are. So Biden is the best of the worst, and Israel may soon rue when his day is gone because the others on the bench mostly are worms and snakes: the South Bender, Pete; tribal princess Elizabeth (“Pocahontas”) Warren, Communist Bernie — the whole lot of them. Biden is the best of them on the question of Israel. He loves Israel.
Biden reminds me of that awful first father-in-law. He “only wanted the best for [me].” He knew better than I what was best for me. He had all the answers: I would be happiest if I would live to make money. He knew my needs better than I did. (By the way, non-sequitur: Question: What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws?)
And that is Biden when dealing with Israel. (By the way, the Answer: Outlaws are Wanted.)
Israel wants to crush Hamas and finally put an end to them. With G-d’s help, also to free the 220-plus hostages, among them dozens of Americans, Hamas seized. Israel knows Hamas. They have had Hamas on their tail for 18 years since Ariel Sharon foolishly abandoned Gaza to the Arabs to let them have self-determination. The bloodthirsty Gazans responded by freely selecting Hamas to lead them to perpetual jihad.
Israel has fought some six wars with them in the past two decades. She has tried every nice way. She has allowed Qatar to send Gaza hundreds of millions. She has allowed 17,000 Gazans each and every day to enter Israel and work inside the Jewish country for better wages than conceivable under Hamas. When Hamas began a campaign of shooting incendiary balloons across the border, setting fires in Israel’s agricultural fields, she barely responded. Some even wrongly believe that Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu was so gracious to Hamas because he had a secret strategy to boost them over Abu Mazen (“Mahmoud Abbas”) and the “Palestine Authority.”
Israel finally has figured out that there is only one way to assure that, like the vow at Masada, Southern Israel shall not fall again: destroy them. Crush them. Annihilate them. Exterminate them. By all means, do not target civilians for revenge. But this time, if civilians are in the way, then they will be the collateral damage of war. Hamas hides their weapons and themselves in hospitals, schools, residential apartment buildings, mosques, and ambulances. They do it, essentially daring the Israelis: “We have made it impossible for you to put us out of business unless you have the stomach to drop bombs that also will kill thousands of civilians. We know you do not have that stomach as we do. You people do not behead. You do not methodically slaughter babies. You do not rape women. You are wimps. We dare you.”
Until now, they kind-of have been right. But the Sh’mini Atzeret Massacre has changed things. Israel now is aerial-bombing the daylights out of Hamas in Gaza to prepare the ground for an incursion of 300,000 soldiers who will fight house-to-house if they have to, as they have done in Jenin in Samaria (the “West Bank”). As part of that pre-invasion softening, Israel has clamped down and begun a siege: no electricity, no fuel, no food. More and more Israelis also are demanding: no water, no medications, no nothing until those hostages are freed.
And along comes Biden to Israel.
Isn’t the L-rd G-d King of the Universe amazing? For three years, Netanyahu very publicly begged Biden for an invitation to the White House, to meet as do so many other world leaders. And for three years Biden snubbed Bibi and refused to invite him or meet him. So circumstances unfolded such that Biden found himself having to leave America and fly to Israel — during wartime — to meet with Bibi. Interesting.
So Biden comes and tells Netanyahu and his people how much he loves Israel. But, like that father-in-law, he knows better than the Israelis what they need to do. They need to let in food. And supplies. And $100 million in “humanitarian assistance” that ultimately will be used to build humanitarian missiles, humanitarian underground tunnels for humanitarian terrorists to cross into Israel, humanitarian schools and summer camps where kids will be taught to hate and murder Jews, humanitarian knives and wire cutters, humanitarian paragliding equipment, and even humanitarian smartphones with which to film and photograph for social media the humanitarian slaughter, humanitarian rape, and humanitarian infanticide and baby decapitations that will follow.
Biden knows better than Israel what Israel needs — like, yeah, a “two-state solution.” That is just what Israel needs:
1. A country on its third border, the east, that is identical to Hamas Gaza on its south and Hezbollah Southern Lebanon on its north.
2. A “Palestine” that will have Fatah and Hamas terrorists crossing into the towns and cities of Israel’s main population centers of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa to butcher, rape, and behead Jews.
3. A “Palestine” that will shoot thousands of rockets and missiles into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Haifa and Hadera, Raanana and Herzliya, leaving the whole country like a nightmarish shooting gallery with missiles flying all day from everywhere, forcing an entire nation to live in tunnels.
4. The accompanying imperative to remove one million — again, one million — Jews from their homes in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria, relocate those million Jews overnight in an area the size of New Jersey, set those million up with jobs, infrastructure, schools, and all.
Biden loves Israel and thinks he knows what is best for Israel: end the siege, let in supplies, allow the $100 million infusion of U.S. taxpayer money, set up a third Hamas-Hezbollahstan dirt hole, uproot and expel one million Jews from their homes and relocate them. But Israel knows that such love will lead to her end. She cannot afford to be loved to death by Joe Biden, the man who loves Israel so passionately that he approved sending $6 billion to Iran for them to spend on international terror against Israel and America. They know, with appreciation for his good intentions, that he will love Israel to death.
When I was 23, I was inexperienced and unsure enough to let that father-in-law detour my life by pressing me: “I know what is best for you because all I care about is your happiness.” By the year 2000, I had learned enough about life such that no one ever would dare try that on me again. Israel is even older: 75 years old. She, too, has learned much about life. She signed the disastrous 1993 Oslo Agreement that gave Arafat and the PLO its own polity, with control over their own television and newspapers and radio and schools and all, and they responded by creating a permanent terror nest. She offered Arafat 97 percent of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) plus additional land within pre-1967 Israel itself, and he rejected it and launched the Second Intifada. She withdrew from Southern Lebanon unilaterally for peace; she got Hezbollah in return. She withdrew from Gaza unilaterally and gave it to the Arabs for peace. They responded with Hamas.
This time, no dice, Joe. Give the Iran $6 billion to Israel for defense and reparations — yeah, reparations. The Squad should love that: reparations.
And stop loving Israel to death.
Adapted by the writer for Arutz Sheva from a version of this article that first appeared here in The American Spectator.
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Rav Fischer’s two memorial programs and prayer services for Israel in the face of the Hamas–Gaza massacre may be found on YouTube here and here. Because they contain video and photos taken by Hamas at the massacre, YouTube is restricting viewing of the service exclusively to individuals over 18. What they lack in production value, they make up for in heart and soul.