Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Teves 5761 - December 27, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
They're Willing to Give Up Everything

As we go to press, the diplomatic position of Israel could hardly be more opaque. Talks were held in Washington, with no official word as to their contents.

On Israel's side is a caretaker government that has had the support of only about 25 percent of the Knesset for more than six months, led by a prime minister who resigned after being deserted by all his natural allies. His resignation was a deft move that was designed to forestall opposition from within his own party that was building up, as well as to increase his chances against the Likud candidate.

According to the unofficial reports from Washington, Barak is willing to give up almost everything, and to make what he repeatedly calls "painful" concessions, in a desperate effort to keep his job. It is conventional wisdom that Barak's only chance to win the elections for prime minister lies in signing an agreement with the Palestinians and then making the elections into a referendum on the agreement, casting it as a choice between peace and war. It is a good thing that Barak is so aware that he must secure the approval of the Israeli voters and not just of Arafat, for if not it appears that there is no limit to what he will give up in order to secure the assent of the Palestinians.

Not the least of what Barak is apparently willing to give up, is our Shabbos kodesh. Last week on Shabbos Chanukah, as we marked the stubborn triumph of the cruse of pure oil over Greek might, official representatives of the Jewish State, Rachmono litzlan, conducted negotiations in Washington as usual: they met with the Palestinians, with Clinton and with the press, just like any other day. Shabbos as a Jewish day of rest did not appear on the Israeli delegation's calendar.

All governments of the State of Israel, even those who were very far from Jewish tradition, honored the Shabbos if only from a nationalistic perspective. Everyone understood that Jewish national honor itself demands respect for Shabbos since it is in the name of the Jewish nation -- and only in the name of the Jewish nation -- that the Israeli government has a claim to our land.

For this government, there is nothing left. It is not only that it attempts to secularize the country internally and to destroy the yeshivos, but it tramples even the most basic national values.

Whoever is astonished or shocked by the talk of giving up control of the Har Habayis, should understand it well when he sees the public retreat from Shabbos which is much worse. Everything is negotiable, and probably if the current government were convinced that they could win the elections with massive Arab support if they gave up the Kosel, they would not let it be an "obstacle to peace."

Our greatest distress is not from the competent or incompetent conduct of negotiations or government. This wholesale willingness to give up everything shows that they lack even the most minimal respect for any and every Jewish value. From their conduct it appears that the Jewish holy places such as Kever Rochel and even the Kosel itself are only so much real estate whose importance lies in how they affect the voting. Shabbos, Eretz Yisroel, and everything else is available to the highest bidder.

Anyone who cares not for Jewish property and treasures loses not only any trace of Torah and Jewish tradition, but also any shred of national pride.

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