|Updated August 31, 2001|
I. Fulfillment of Mission
Operation "Peace for the Galilee" has been highly successful, with G-d showing open miracles to the Jewish soldiers fighting to assure peace for Eretz Yisroel. But for complete victory, the operation must be brought to its full, avowed conclusion. We cannot repeat past mistakes of halting the campaign before it is fully completed, or surrendering land vital for Eretz Yisroels security.
hand of the L-rd has done this
raise our banner in the name of our G-d
the nations of the earth shall see that the Name of the L-rd
is called upon you and they shall fear you.
Eretz Yisroel is currently engaged in Operation "Peace for the Galilee." As its name indicates, the purpose of this operation is to assure peace for the Jews in Galilee by removing the terrorists, who, entrenched in Lebanon, have been menacing the entire region. The operation has been highly successful, with G-d once again showing open miracles. The Israel Defense Forces have been victorious far beyond expectation, and the operation has proceeded with stunning rapidity actions which were expected to take two days were executed in one day or less. Individual soldiers have related the miracles they have witnessed; and all agree that "the hand of the L-rd has done this."
Same mistake again?
Yet, not all have been to measure up to the occasion. The avowed intention of this campaign was the complete eradication of the terrorist menace. But some political "leaders," employing the most irrational of reasoning have protested, insisting that the campaign be halted and not brought to its necessary conclusion. Unfortunately, their influence succeeded in obstructing the progress of the operation; and therefore the campaign has not, as yet, completely fulfilled its goal.
Likewise, there are those who, blind to past experience, wish to repeat the mistake made in previous wars. Although the territories which Eretz Yisroel now controls are vital for the safety of its citizens, territories which G-d has miraculously delivered into its hands, there are those who wish to immediately surrender them. This same error was made after previous wars, and each time the result was the necessity to engage in yet another war. After previous wars, the government literally begged the Arabs to take back the land it had captured from them and in the next war, the Jewish army had to fight to recapture the same land. Such reckless magnanimity has resulted not in peace, but greater bloodshed.
Shulchan Aruch, the Jewish Code of Law, prohibits the surrender of lands necessary for security. This applies not only to Eretz Yisroel itself, but also to lands outside Eretz Yisroel. Until now, Jews in the Galilee could not live peacefully, and were forced to hide in shelters from terrorist shellings from Lebanon. The aim of Operation "Peace for the Galilee" was to remove the terrorists from Lebanon once and for all, thus allowing Jews to live peacefully and securely. Yet, despite the results seen from previous submission to pressure, there are those willing to repeat this mistake and surrender the now terrorist-free area.
Our Sages say that had the Jewish people merited it, the redemption from Egypt would have been final, with no exile following it. So too today. If, after victory in previous wars, Jews would have followed the directive of Shulchan Aruch and been steadfast in their refusal to surrender lands necessary for their very security, this present war in Lebanon would have been completely unnecessary.
The golus mentality
Why are Jews willing to surrender these territories? They are possessed by fear of gentile reaction, the age-old fear of "what will the non-Jew say." A "golus mentality" has become integrated into their very character; and embedded within them is the belief that a Jew must always cringe and cower before non-Jews, and always, always, take their opinion into account.
The source for this mentality? When a Jew loses his own self-respect, when he no longer knows how a Jew thinks, speaks or acts, he adopts non-Jewish attitudes. When a Jew no longer knows what it means to truly fear G-d, he becomes subservient to the "strange god that is within you." That "strange god" is the antithesis of the true Jewish attitude of submission to G-ds Torah, the Halachah; but rather how the non-Jewish world expects him to act.
This irrational fear of non-Jews and public opinion results in submission to all sorts of pressure even while one knows that to do so is to act against the best interests of Jews and Eretz Yisroel. Thus the pathetic eagerness to surrender lands vital for security, and thus the hesitancy in carrying out the present operation to its logical, avowed conclusion. All for fear of what the gentile will say, what the gentile will think of us.
In this instance, the golus mentality worked its influence even without outside pressure. It had been announced beforehand that the President of the U.S.A. was leaving Washington for a ten day trip, and would have an extremely full itinerary in Europe. This was a clear indication that Eretz Yisroel could mount this operation without fear of any real pressure from the U.S.A. Indeed, although the President could have communicated with Eretz Yisroel from overseas and applied some pressure from there, there was no real attempt to do so. This was a clear signal that Eretz Yisroel had a full ten days in which to complete the operation without political hindrance.
Moreover other nations are now too occupied with their own wars to concern themselves with other matters. Certainly then, it was the proper time to begin and fully complete the campaign. Yet, because of their golus mentality, some Jews imagined pressure which did not even exist! Fearing, as usual, world opinion, they succeeded in hindering the progress of the campaign.
Full completion of operation
Although this ten day period of grace has passed, it is nevertheless not too late to rectify the mistakes of the past for repentance helps in all instances and at all times. A true desire to fulfill Torah law will see the campaign successfully and fully completed. Moreover, the enemy has broken the cease-fire agreement; and thus by Divine Providence Eretz Yisroel has been given another opportunity to resume its task and completely attain its goal. The operation could and should have been completed in the ten days. But since it was not, G-d has granted another opportunity to make good. And since the enemy has broken the cease-fire, Eretz Yisroel not only may, but must break it. To sit by passively will be construed as a sign of weakness and fear on Eretz Yisroels part exactly the opposite of this campaigns purpose.
But still, in the face of all logic, there are those Jews who caution against publicizing the enemys breach of the cease-fire, maintaining the Eretz Yisroel must continue to honor its side of the agreement. They cite instances of similar conduct in past years, including the disastrous Camp David treaty, where, even when the other side immediately broke the terms of the treaty, Eretz Yisroel announced they would continue to honor it.
We have tasted the fruits of such an attitude, and they have been bitter indeed. Let us make sure that this time the error is not repeated. It is imperative that all Jews be able to live safely in all parts of Eretz Yisroel in the north and in the south, in the east and in the west. No other considerations can be taken into account. In matters of security, the opinion of the military must prevail, for they are the experts; and they are of the unanimous opinion that Operation "Peace for the Galilee" must be fully completed. Since this is the consensus of military opinion, it becomes the Halachah and must be fully adhered to.
In addition, only the full completion of this undertaking can justify the casualties which have occurred. Every Jew is a "complete world," and every soldier killed is an incalculable loss. The purpose of this campaign was to assure the well-being of Jews living in Eretz Yisroel. If this goal is not attained, the casualties incurred will have been in vain. Only the full realization of the operations avowed aim will justify the deaths and injuries. And it is only by completing the operation that future casualties will be prevented.
In the name of G-d
May it be G-ds will that all Jews, united "as one man with one heart," resolve to conduct themselves according to the directives of G-d, the L-rd of Hosts, as recorded in His Torah, the Torah of truth and life.
The soldier, who have the great merit of protecting Jewish settlements with self-sacrifice, should continue to fulfill their goal and mission of assuring the well-being and safety of Jews. And this should be done with the knowledge that victory comes not because of ones own strength, but because "we rely upon and invoke the Name of the L-rd our G-d" and "we raise our banner in the name of our G-d."
It is thus necessary for the soldiers to have absolute trust in "the L-rd, G-d of Hosts." This trust is achieved by strengthening their bond with Judaism, to the extent of full observance of Torah and mitzvos in daily life. Moreover, each soldier in the Israel Defense Forces should possess a letter inscribed in his merit in one of the Sifrei Torah currently being written to unite all Jewry. There are 304,805 letters in a Sefer Torah; and when a Jewish soldier has a letter inscribed in a Sefer Torah in his merit, an eternal bond is formed between him and the other Jews in the Sefer Torah, Thus, when a Jewish soldier goes into battle, he does not go alone, but together with 304,804 Jews. Naturally, this assures complete victory.
Today, in the time of exile, it is G-ds will that we must resort to natural means physical weapons to ensure the safety of Jews in our Holy Land. But when we fight in the name of G-d, when we act as true Jews in our daily lives, we will not even need to use them, for then "all the nations of the earth shall see that the Name of the L-rd is called upon you and they shall fear you."
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