Every year, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the Jewish people fast and mourn. This year, we are fasting, and mourning, on the tenth day of Av, because the ninth day was Shabbat – and on Shabbat, we do not fast or mourn. On this day (like on Yom Kippur), we do not wash, wear leather shoes, or use creams. Think about not showering when it is forty degrees Celsius outside. Think about how awful the pit in your stomach would have to be, for you to do it.
Ten years ago, those living in Gush Katif, and northern parts of the Shomron, were expelled from their homes. They were promised land, and houses, and help resettling; they were given caravans, that they stayed in until they could afford better. Ten years later, there are still families that have not been able to rebuild. Many of those expelled were farmers, and found it hard to integrate into the job market. They were forced out of their homes, and made to build their lives from scratch.
It is hard to imagine what being forced out of your home means. Many of the communities have stayed together, hoping to resettle together and maintain some semblance of normalcy. But imagine the police coming to force you out of your home and out of your city. You have no job, no home, no money, no schools for your children. You have nothing. They pick you up from your home in Maine, and move you to Oregon, giving you a caravan, and expecting you to start over.
Ten years later, that “be nice” experiment has proven to be an utter disaster. From the very beginning, we saw that it would not work; the first thing that the Arabs did was not to take over the existing structures, but to burn all the synagogues down to the ground. If you remember, today they are claiming that they have no homes and no infrastructure. Why is that? They were handed everything on a silver platter – places of worship to renovate, schools, community centers, pools, theaters, farms, greenhouses, hothouses – everything. Everything was burned, ransacked, or used for terror activity. This was their choice, not ours.
And from there, they used all the humanitarian aid (that they wouldn’t have needed if they were truly homeless refugees looking for permanent homes) to build tunnels and shoot rockets. Some of the expellees were expelled from Yamit, in Sinai, and went to live in Gush Katif at the direction of Ariel Sharon – the very man who later expelled them a second time. And all this, why?
So that we could fight Operation Cast Lead (Oferet Yetzuka, 2008), Operation Defensive Shield (Amud Anan, 2012), and Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan, 2014).
So that we could get thousands of rockets fired at us; towards Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Lod, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Mitzpe Ramon; Hertzliya.
So that we would have to worry about not hurting the human shields that the terrorist regime uses to protect itself, even though many of those human shields are future terrorists or wives of terrorists. Would you pity Osama bin Laden’s wife? Then why do you pity the wives of Islamic Jihad terrorists? Why is Islamic Jihad, or Hamas, different from Al Qaeda?
Now, on Tisha B’Av ten years later, we are living in the ominous shadow of an Iran deal. No matter what we do or don’t do, we are in trouble. “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” (Excuse my language, please.) If we wait, we are in trouble, because by September, Iran may be able to defend itself. If we don’t wait, we will be accused of not giving Iran a fair chance. If Congress decides against the deal, well, dontcha know, it’s Israel’s fault.
But when Saudia Arabia and Israel agree, you know that something is up, and that it’s serious.
I won’t give away any of Israel’s theoretical plans by writing them on the internet. I will just say that Yitzchak and I have full faith that Israel can deal with an Iranian nuclear threat, provided that we do not wait until they actually have nukes, and provided that we have cooperation from certain countries. I will also say, that at least two of the four countries that we would like to have helping us, will help us.
This does not mean that we have nukes, because of course we do not have nukes. But we do have an extremely smart army, and the worst person to fight is one who has nothing to lose, because if he has nothing to lose, he will fight to the death. We believe that the reason all of the recent wars have been such utter failures, is that we knew that we could scare our enemies without hurting them. We tried to be as nice and humane as possible.
But I need to tell you: If Israel is forced to deal with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah all at once, we will not have the ability to be patient or humane. We will do what needs to be done, quickly and efficiently, and spare no lives but our own. We will carpet bomb Gaza, if necessary, and take out Hezbollah’s stock of chemical weapons; we will cripple Iran’s nuclear and military infrastructure so that they have no hope of retaliation of any sort, and we will do it all in a way that ensures that World War Three does not break out with all the “civilized” Western countries coming to “innocent” Iran’s defense.
Because if it is a question of fight or die, we will fight.
The world is turning Israel into some kind of inhumane monster, responsible for all the world’s ills. We, as Jews, who have survived centuries of persecution, and have not yet forgotten the Holocaust, hear a familiar ring to these words. We, as Jews, hear Jew-blaming as a lead-up to pogroms. We, as Jews, see the rise in anti-Semitism the world over, and know that our only hope is in the Jewish army that G-d has given us, in the land that G-d has given us.
Because we know that the world cannot be counted on.
And therefore, we have been keeping up with Iran’s abilities, and have been setting them back, successfully, for as long as we could. When it comes down to it, we will finish them off. And as soon as we do, we will see another war with Gaza, in retaliation, and we will retake Gaza. We will have to fight Hezbollah, and we will cow them into putting their energies into their fights in Syria. Let the Muslims kill each other, and the world will be a better place for it. We will put a halt to the intifada that is happening at this moment, because we will simply not have the ability to ignore it or deal with it in a nice way – so, we will deal with it any way that works, no matter how brutal.
Because no matter how humane Israel is, as a people, as a nation, as a country, if we are forced into a glaringly obvious fight for our lives, we will decimate our enemies’ ranks. And when we stand up for ourselves, G-d is with us. When we are cowards and think that we can manage on our own, G-d lets us try it out.
This is not new. This is thousands of years old.
The Persian Jews thought they could make Achasverosh their friend; they were nearly killed. During the Greek rule, they thought that the closer they were to Greek culture, the better they would be treated. Under Nazi regime, the thought that assimilation was a solution, was disproven; the solution was hide, leave, or be sent to the camps. And now, the solution is either fight like we mean it, or be crushed.
All I can hope is that we will see the intifada for what it is, and fight instead of allowing ourselves to be crushed. About Iran – and Gaza, if necessary – I have no doubts. We will fight; we will not be crushed.
Today iis Tisha B’Av. Today, we mourn the loss of both Holy Temples (Batei Mikdash), the martyrs of our nation, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and the Iran deal.
Today, we pray that G-d will be with us, and Av will turn to Adar and Tisha B’Av to Purim.
Today, we pray that Israel will, very soon, deal completely and fully with all the threats surrounding us: Iran, Gaza, Hezbollah, ISIS, and (nearly worst of all) the terrorist intifada that the PA is quietly waging against us.