There is a very subtle but significant difference in the morning devotions of the Ashkenazim (the Jews who resided in Europe for 1800 years after Roman Expulsion) and the Edot HaMizrach (the Jewish communities of the Levant and North Africa).
In the Ashkenazi siddur (prayerbook), we beseech G-d ”to lead us upright to our Land;” in the Edot HaMizrach siddur the phrase reads “lead us upright in our land.”
The Ashkenazi version is phrased in the future tense, a prayer looking to a future time, a future redemption; the Edot HaMizrach version is phrased in the present tense, already sovereign in our own land.
We ARE sovereign in our own land. But are we really? Some of us don’t behave like we are.
A sovereign doesn’t negotiate with terrorists who are committed to the destruction of the Sovereign State. By negotiating with Hamas, we elevate this band of murdering, raping thugs to co-equal status with the Sovereign State of Israel. We grant legitimacy to Hamas by even talking with them. Worst of all, the world interprets this dialogue to mean that we tacitly concede that they have a claim to the Land of Israel. It is the behavior of the vassal, not the hegemon.
Hamas certainly behaved like the hegemon. As expected, they strung out the cease fire, thinking that with every passing day, the chances of resuming offensive operations in Gaza diminishes, in spite of the talk of the politicians to the contrary, and they were proved wrong.
Hamas felt they were calling the shots; that they are in the driver’s seat in the negotiations. They determined how many hostages to dangle before the broken hearts of our suffering nation. And we cow-towed to their conditions to get those children and elderly home. For a few days it seemed as though they were holding 170 Jews hostage, holding an entire nation of ten million people hostage. They were playing us for fools and we seemed to be letting them do it. Until they went too far and did not provide a list - or perhaps could not, with whatever that means.
And the IAF and IDF restarted the war - and let them have it.
Let exercise our sovereignty, walking upright in our land. No more negotiations with terrorists. We are sovereign here, not Hamas. There are other things we can do. We should immediately close the Temple Mount to all Moslems until all hostages are returned. Period. Once the hostages are released, Moslems would again be allowed to pray freely at their shrine.
And every time a Jew is attacked by a Jihadi, we close the Temple Mount again.
Such a policy would send an unequivocal message in the only language they understand: we are sovereign here, not you.
And it goes without saying that offensive operations in Gaza must not stop until victory..
Lastly, the UN, EU, US and all the rest must be put on notice that we are sovereign here and will not split it in half or share control of our land with anyone. Nor will we fight our war according to their instructions.
May G-d grant us the courage to continue to walk upright IN our land.
Rabbi Mizrachi is the author Holistic Judaism: A Radical Rethinking of Our Service to Gcd and our Fellow Man in the Messianic Age. Available on Amazon.com and Kindle. He can be reached at [email protected].