Learning from Putin

I’ve been thinking about status quos (stati quo?) lately.

There’s the one on the Temple Mount, the absurd one that says that Jews may visit but may not pray. Lately Muslims have been trying to prevent Jews from visiting altogether. When you consider that this is and always has been the holiest site in Judaism, that Muslim colonialists built a triumphal shrine atop the ruins of the Jewish Temple – which those Muslims now say wasn’t really there anyway – the absurdity is even more manifest.

I went up to the Mount around 1981, together with my cousin and her husband. Nobody asked if they were Jewish, and they even entered the Dome of the Rock. Nobody paid attention to whether any of us moved our lips, and needless to say nobody screamed curses at us from close range. Little by little, threats and violence have changed the status quo unfavorably for us.

Another status quo is the one the Left keeps calling “unsustainable,” the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. There’s no time left, they say, we’d better hurry up and surrender to our enemies who want to kill us before the European Union boycotts our products. It should be instructive that the EU is already working up its boycott of at least some of our products.

Here too, the balance is changing unfavorably for us as the Arabs build wherever they want (often with EU support) while Obama gives us ultimatums to freeze Jewish construction.

Finally, there is the status quo in which Israel’s government continues to support the Palestinian Authority financially and militarily, even though it incites murderous terrorism against Jews, operates a terrorist militia that kills Jews, runs a diplomatic and legal war against our state, and pays salaries to both Fatah and Hamas terrorists in Israel’s prisons. Our government even encourages the donation of billions of dollars by the US and European countries to the PA and to UNRWA, on the grounds that a Palestinian collapse would be worse than the present situation.

The PA runs an educational and media system originally set up by Yasser Arafat whose function is to indoctrinate young people to hate Jews and Israel and to prepare themselves to fight us. UNRWA, which operates schools in refugee camps both in Gaza and Judea/Samaria, does the same, often with teachers who are members of Hamas.

Today’s wave of terrorism and murder, especially the so-called “individual operations” in which a jihadist just gets up and kills Jews with knives or cars without any organizational support, can be traced directly to the incitement by the PA and UNRWA. But we prop this structure up because we are afraid of the alternative.

The Prime Minister’s reaction to the escalating terrorism of the last few months is an example. On the one hand, he wants to get tough with the stone- and firebomb-throwers. But on the other, he rejects the idea of changing the status quo with the PA, either by increased building or cutting off subsides. This is an attempt to treat the symptoms while feeding and stimulating the disease.

In all of these situations Israel is being forced to give up its sovereignty bit by bit. In each case, the government chooses to give in to blackmail. Our ‘strategy’, if you can call it that, is to walk between the raindrops. Unfortunately, as time goes on it rains harder and there is less and less room. We may have reached the point in all three of these cases that the old non-strategy no longer works.

We have allowed our fear of international reactions to keep us from exercising our rights in Judea and Samaria, and our fear of terrorism to limit actions against the PA. But at the same time, the US and EU keep increasing the pressure, and the PA keeps inciting and financing terror. So what have we gained?

As America abandons the Middle East, the various players – Iran, Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia – all maneuver to improve their own positions and damage those of their enemies. All wish to change the situation in their favor. Only Israel continues to stand pat without challenging any of the status quos that are becoming less and less acceptable.

I’m not going to try to provide a detailed prescription for solving these difficult problems. But in all of them we are moving in the wrong direction, from strength to weakness, from more to less independence and sovereignty.

There is a reason for this: it is because we haven’t articulated a clear picture of the desired end result. Lacking clear objectives, we are passive. Everything we do is a reaction to our enemies’ actions. No wonder we get boxed in – they are writing the screenplay, and we are performing our role in it.

For example, is the desired end result in Judea and Samaria a peaceful Arab state – something which is geopolitically impossible – or is it Jewish sovereignty? If the latter, the government should say so and work toward achieving it, even if it is a long-term project.

Do we think that all faiths should be able to worship on the Temple Mount, including Jews? If so, we should insist on it. Rav Shlomo Goren wanted to build a synagogue on the Mount (not a third Temple, a synagogue). Why should this be an impossible goal?

And isn’t it past time that the PLO, the organization that has murdered more Jews because they are Jews than any other since the Nazis, joined their Nazi role models in oblivion?

I am not a fan of Vladimir Putin, but we could learn from him. The chaos of recent times is also an opportunity.

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2 Responses to Learning from Putin

  1. Keefe Goldfisher says:

    On a prior occasion I might have mentioned that my wife is from The Netherlands. She is having trouble sleeping lately because the movement of peoples from various countries (Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan) into the EU has resulted in a pecking order of desirable places where an asylum-seeker might want to alight that puts Holland near the top, and she sees the Holland of her youth turned into something else unrecognizable and without the assent of the average Dutch citizen. Hungary had the fortitude to close its borders and resist the EU’s prescriptions for settling the mostly Muslim interlopers, but Holland is frozen by its politics and the leading coalition which is willing to take its orders docilely from the EU. How does this compare with Israel’s plight?

    Despite being a small country, the Dutch are being maneuvered by circumstances, bad policies and very weak local leadership to allow their country to become a dumping ground for the Middle East’s latest refugees. As the process goes, it mimics over 40 years of essentially allowing the more savvy Muslims who entered The Netherlands after the war as guest workers to use their numbers to make political inroads on the ‘Dutch’ culture and dictate what is tolerable in public discourse, in legal practice, in definitions of crime, in standards of behavior of the non-Muslim Dutch and, as a lasting insult, to have this last group, the non-Muslim Dutch underwrite, via state support, the very practices that are inimical to a continuing and thriving ‘Dutch’ culture.

    In the name of an almost mandated tolerance, the leaders are forcing the public to accept the rules of the new immigrants, to pay for their housing, to accommodate their behavior and are urged to keep their Christian values foremost by tolerating this invasion. There are large numbers of people in Holland who are adamantly opposed to following this prescription and the country is at a tipping point, one that Sweden has crossed into in its own suicide pact with its Muslim immigrants, to avoid being swamped by an invasion of people who are extremely unlikely to assimilate… Geert Wilders has pointed out for years that the Muslims who came to Holland after the war have not assimilated and represent a large welfare-dependent class, a drain on the fortunes of the country. Not all, but a majority.

    Holland has luxuries that Israel does not, including relatively good relations with its neighbors and a seeming lack of a need of a military. Events are bearing down on Holland in the same way that they are on Israel where the society will either be transformed by an elite’s willingness to bargain away the soul of the country, in the teeth of great public protest, or stand against the forces that counsel forbearance as a slow incremental harm occurs and takes over.

    Netanyahu has indeed a great opportunity to set the record straight and undo every bad assumption about what Israel has to endure to survive. The game of being vilified for exercising common sense in support of your own culture’s survival needs to be turned on the finger-pointers themselves. If a country will not stand up for itself, history will record, no matter how peaceful the transition, that the group gave up its desire to be a country. Israel is Jewish for the Jews, not for the US, or so-called Palestinians. Holland is Dutch for the Dutch, not for an invasion that tells the host how to behave or a minority of the population to call the shots. The end is the same for those who will not stand up for their country, whether it’s one that is in the crucible of world disfavor like Israel, or merely in the sights of a manipulative EU.

    In the end, it will be about survival. It should have been obvious already… for over 70 years.

    • AJ Raalte says:

      Yep! Lately, I often think of my own visit with a group of mostly Dutch volunteers to Har ha-Bayit in 1972. We walked around freely, even entered the mosque itzelf as well as the the Dome of the Rock.

      @ Keefe
      Excellent summary of the Dutch situation! Say “Hoi” to your wife for me.

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