Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Tammuz 5766 - July 12, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Opinion & Comment
The Chareidi Plan for Peace in the Middle East

After the poor soldier (Gilad ben Avivah) was captured by Hamas and Israel responded by launching a major ground operation in Gaza, the first thing the pundits analyzed was how the developments affected what was originally known in English as the "convergence" plan, but then became known as "consolidation" and finally is currently known as the "realignment" plan of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. (The Hebrew name has not changed: Tochnit Hitkansut.)

Olmert's plan is following a new approach pioneered by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with his Disengagement Plan from Gaza. That plan brutalized the 8,000 Jewish former residents of various Gaza areas in order to break off Israeli interference in the Gaza areas. The only problem is that even if Israel has disengaged from Gaza, Gaza has not disengaged from Israel. Instead of minding its own business and building a Palestinian state, the Gazans fire Kassam missiles steadily. According to the polls and according to the behavior one sees in the Gazan street, the general population supports this aggressive activity, at least passively.

Sharon managed to get almost everyone outside the Middle East to back his Disengagement Plan and even, it seems, most of Israel. Olmert's proposed Plan to apply a similar approach to Yehuda and Shomron has so far not fared as well. Many oppose a solution that Israel applies on its own, without an agreement with the Palestinians.

According to this view, unilateral action taken by Israel will never bring quiet to the Palestinian side. Until and unless the Palestinians agree to the actions that Israel takes, there will certainly be no peace.

We have seen the plans come and go. There was the Mitchell Plan and the Tenet plan. There was the Road Map, the Geneva Agreement — not to mention the Oslo Agreements.

Everyone feels that they must come up with a Plan, and it must be a full and final solution to the political problems of the Middle East.

There is an old yeshiva witticism to explain why some maggidei shiur find certain approaches compelling, even though the talmidim do not. If one of the talmidim asks another what did the maggid shiur see in that approach, the friend answers, "He had a big compulsion (hechreich) — he had to say a shiur!

Similarly, it sometimes seems that anyone who wants to be a player on the Israeli political scene has to have a Plan to produce an End to the Conflict. It seems to be understood by all that there must be some way to do this, and it is only a question of finding that way.

This period of Bein Hametzorim, between Shiva Ossor BeTammuz and Tisha B'Av, should serve as a reminder that this is not the Jewish approach. We have suffered a terrible Churban, and continue to suffer it. Nothing will be solved until we solve our most fundamental problem: the lack of the Beis Hamikdosh and the kind of society that its presence implied.

Now we are preoccupied with this loss. It is the theme of the period. But the lesson we have to learn from this period for the rest of the year is that restoring it is the path to true Redemption.

Insofar as we participate in the political process, whether as voters or more than that, we must certainly favor those policy choices that appear practically best.

Nonetheless we must always realize that we do not need a plan. We do not need a "story" to follow that leads to some permanent improvement in our political situation alone. For us, it is enough to react to the situations as they present themselves, and do the best we can.

We do not need the comfort of a political "solution" that we are convinced will work. We have no need to argue or decide which approach is better, the Right or the Left.

Those who are in control have to do one thing or the other. But we know Who is really in control.

We know that our derech hayoshor is the derech Hashem. If we follow that way, it will lead us to where we want to be. It will lead us out of the Golus which we know that, in the meantime, we are in.

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