Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5766 - August 23, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Real Agenda is Elul

Our agenda these days is dominated by thoughts of Elul and the upcoming yemei hadin. But a lot of people on the public scene have different agendas that they are pursuing with vigor.

All the Israeli politicians are scrambling to promote themselves, one way or the other. Thankfully, due to the nature of the modern political system, many perceive that their personal interests are best served by promoting the public good, at least to a degree. However, often the politicians' interest and the public good are not that closely related.

There are many important lessons to be learned from the fighting of the past month, starting with the major weapons used by the Hizbullah criminal terrorists — Katyushas and other relatively simple rockets that are simple to launch and deadly in impact, as well as sophisticated antitank weapons that were lethal against tanks and even against buildings — through the equipment needs of reserve soldiers and lines of supply.

Preparations must start immediately for the next round, Rachmono litzlan. Readiness and thorough plans are the best hope for deterring further Hizbullah adventurism. Now is certainly the time to identify and make use of the information that is available about the methods of Hizbullah as well as the countermeasures that can be taken in response.

One of the key provisions of the cease-fire was that Hizbullah should not be resupplied with arms, yet this seems to be ignored in both letter and spirit. Israel is concerned with gathering proof of these violations, and sees it as a high priority. Reportedly the commando mission that resulted in the death of Colonel Emanuel Moreno Hy"d had as its goal nothing more than gathering evidence of Hizbullah military supplies. Some analysts identify this issue as the one that is most likely to cause a breakdown in the cease- fire in the very near future.

It is clear that Israel's deterrence is not only a function of its perceived military might, but is also dependent to a great extent on international support. The tolerance and encouragement of America — and in particular President George Bush — were critical all along. Israel was also content to accept a solution that calls for an international force to guarantee the peace of the Lebanese border.

Some criticized the Israeli decision to stop fighting before achieving the stated goals, but even super-hawk Avigdor Lieberman said that no Israeli prime minister would or could have continued fighting after a solid vote by the UN Security Council on a resolution formulated by the United States. Israel can pursue its agenda as long as it is compatible with the agenda of the United States.

In addition to all the practical problems on the agenda, other interests are also at work. Some ambitious Israeli political climbers are trying to arrange for various investigative bodies to study the war effort. However in some cases it seems that the real motive is less a desire to draw practical lessons and more a hope that some of the current leadership will be pushed aside as a result of their performance, making way for their own rise. As we noted above, sometimes these personal drives contribute to the public welfare, and sometimes they do not.

Regardless of all that is going on around us, we know that the most important agenda, and the only one whose pursuit is guaranteed to be beneficial for each individual on a personal level and for the Jewish community as a whole, is intensive self-examination and resolutions for improvement during the special month of Elul in preparation for the yemei hadin. Improving ourselves and our avodas Hashem is the most effective means to have a positive impact on our immediate environment and on the world as a whole.

Eretz Yisroel is not acquired only through fighting or carefully-worded diplomatic agreements. If we choose the life that the Torah holds out to us, then we and our families will truly live.

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