In Courage Lies Our Salvation
"In Courage Lies Our Salvation"
I HAVE HEARD MEMBERS of the Labour Alignment saying that those Israelis wishing to settle in Samaria and Hebron, and those praying on the Temple Mount, as well as the judge who ruled, according to her conscience, that the Jewish people has a right to pray on the Mount of the Lord are to blame for the stone-throwing and tyre-burning by Arabs in the cities of Samaria and Judea.
This self-accusation—even in the days when the whole matter was under discussion in the Security Council—is a lesson to us that even after a generation of independence, the Galuth complex has not been rooted out. There, on foreign soil, when Jews were attacked—who were responsible? The Jews themselves! They were "provocative". Their very existence was a provocation.
There were Jews who took it upon themselves to say that although the other side was wrong, perhaps, nevertheless, Jewish conduct had led to its action…There were other Jews, free men spiritually, who rejected that demoralisation.
Everyone knows where the hostile incitement led.
Regarding the Molotov-cocktail throwing at Israeli troops in Arab villages in the Galilee, official Israel apologists have said that the Arab residents of the Little Triangle and the Galilee would, in any case, even without the Government's expropriation of land in the area, have acted as they did in Tira and Sakhnin.
If that is indeed so, that same phrase—"in any case"—can be used in connection with the cities of Judea and Samaria. Even without Jewish attempts at settlement there, and the prayers on the Temple Mount and judge's ruling, they would have thrown stones at Israeli troops and lit bonfires on tyres.
Commonsense requires one to pose the alternatives: Either the clashes on all fronts were caused by the 'direct cause'—and it was the Rabin-Ofer-Shemtov Government which caused those clashes in the Galilee; or that so-called 'direct cause' was not responsible for the situation on either front, and what did happen would have happened "in any case".
It is nonsense to claim that Jews were responsible for their enemies attacking them. Everyone remembers that before the murderers entered Ma'alot to massacre Jewish school children there, no one had tried to settle in Judea and Samaria, no one had tried to pray on the Temple Mount, no judge had issued any rule about prayer there—and yet innocent children's blood was shed like water.
Only those still deeply immersed in the Galuth complex could accuse Jews of provocation.
At the height of the Government's embarrassment, I ventured to ask what they would have said if such events had taken place in Judea, Samaria and the Galilee under a Likud Government. There was no answer.
That same question could be posed in regard to Israel's relations with the United States. What, indeed, would this Government have said if a member of the Opposition had uttered such politically irresponsible words as those which have been exploited to prevent Israel's friends in the American Congress from continuing their campaign against the provision of American arms to Egypt?
It is an admitted fact that it was Mr. Rabin who announced that Sadat had transferred one-third of his regular army to the reserves.
Certainly Sadat, who identifies himself with the terrorists' "Palestine Charter" which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian State, and who, let us recall, was an admirer of Hitler, has sufficient reason to reduce the strength of his regular army for a while.
The Egyptian people already numbers 38-million souls. Every year it grows by more than 2-million mouths clamouring for food. And there is none. Because vast sums are being expended for modern, sophisticated weapons. And that population explosion and economic crisis force the Egyptian dictator, who is afraid of being overthrown, to transfer troops to the reserves to ease his intolerable financial burden.
That is also the reason for Sadat's organising his version of a "United Egyptian Fund" not only in the Persian Gulf emirates, but also latterly in Germany, France, and above all in the United States.
He is urgently in need of financial support, because he does not wish to surrender the military option. And when he considers that the time is ripe again to use that option, what will prevent his mobilising those 300,000 reserve soldiers again?
I first heard Mr. Rabin refer to these 300,000 troops in private—and commented on his statement. I thought to myself that he was trying to justify his unhappy agreement to surrender Abu Rodeis and the Sinai passes. But his repetition of that statement in public was an amazing act of irresponsibility.
How many times had I warned him and his colleagues that his words would be read, translated and transmitted abroad and there used by whoever wished to sell Egypt arms?
The Prime Minister became angry and spoke about "ugliness, distortion and twisting" on the part of others abroad. It is doubtful whether such words will be of any benefit to the relations between Jerusalem and Washington. Anger is not a good adviser.
Even graver has been the direct clash with President Ford. Mr. Rabin has stated that President Ford's statement about the 550-million-dollar interim aid, which Mr. Rabin says Israel was promised, was not based on fact.
We all know Mr. Ford. His reply must inevitably be an angry "Is he accusing me of lying?"
The Labour Alignment, and not least of all Mr. Rabin, have in the past done their best to put Israel in fear of "confrontation" with America.
"Confrontation" is a frightening word, and I have urged that we do not frighten ourselves with words. To stand up firmly and honourably for our rights is not confrontation. There are mighty centres of influence in the United States which we can turn with the prospect of being heard. And if the American Ambassador to Israel warns that what he calls our obstinacy will lead to anti-Israeli feelings in the United States which could become anti-Jewish feelings, he should consider whether his mouth is not leading him astray.
Mr. Toon should make a note that we are not frightened Jews and whoever threatens us with anti-Semitism, whether he is a minister of Jewish origin or a Christian ambassador, will not find glory that way.
But if we are to use the term "confrontation", then one can say that the future of Jerusalem is a cause requiring confrontation. Mr. Scranton, and those whom he has publicly stated wrote his speech, have proclaimed that they do not recognise Israel's annexation of the Old City of Jerusalem. We could have retorted that there had been no annexation. A country annexes foreign territory—as Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzogovina before the First World War and Britain annexed Cyprus after Turkey entered that war.
But when the French took back Alsace-Lorraine, which had passed under German rule in 1870-71, they took care to note in the Treaty of Versailles that Alsace-Lorraine was being restored to the French motherland in order to correct the injustice done by the Germans.
If that could be said of Alsace-Lorraine, with its history dating from the time of Louis XIV to Napoleon III, what of Jerusalem with its history dating from the time of David to the present . Annexation? Nonsense. We are talking about Jerusalem. We liberated it and it will be a united city always.
The tragedy is that not only Scranton and those who dictate his speeches talk about annexation, which they say is illegal, but the Prime Minister of Israel talks about the "annexation" of Jerusalem, which he says is justified. What we are confronted with is an amazing and hurtful ignorance of basic concepts.
That is not the end of it all. According to the Israel Government's answer to Scranton, only Jerusalem is liberated, while Judea and Samaria are "conquered". What, from the point of view of our right and legality, is the difference between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Judah, and Kiryat Arba, which is Hebron?
Is it not the same soil, the same right—or, Heaven forbid, the same lack of right?
Just as the fate of liberated Jerusalem could react positively for Judea and Samaria, so, conversely, the fate of "conquered" Judea and Samaria could react negatively on that of Jerusalem.
If Jericho is conquered, Ramat Eshkol in Jerusalem could be similarly described.
There can be no distinction between them from the point of view of our right.
To return to the problem of "confrontation" with America. For Jerusalem, for Judea and Samaria, for our right, which means our security and true prospect of eventual peace, we must and can conduct and win a political struggle.
But at this atage [stage- JC] Mr. Rabin, and none other, has brought us into confrontation with the American administration. Why? Over a sum of money—or over who said what, who is reflecting the truth and who is distorting it.
Paradoxically, those who warned us against any confrontation with Washington and tried to frighten us with the word are now engaged in it. And over what?
Mr. Rabin obstinately claims at every opportunity that Israel has gained through retreating in the Sinai—one of his "proofs" being the "reduction of the Egyptian army by 300,000 men" and another the breach between Egypt and Russia and Egypt's rapprochement with the West, especially America.
I should like the Prime Minister to study that latter statement again.
Syria, Iraq, Libya and Algeria receive vast arms supplies from Russia—and France adds to that arsenal, especially in the case of Libya.
Saudia Arabia, Transjordan and the Persian Gulf States receive sophisticated American weapons in great quantities—and large quantities also from Britain, France and Italy.
Now Egypt will join this group. Added to the mighty arsenal supplied by Russia will now be arms for France, Britain—and the United States.
Dr. Kissinger repeatedly says America will not be Egypt's "principal" supplier. His words always bear study. Not the "principal" supplier—but certainly the supplier. He adds that America will soon supply "non-destructive" equipment to the Egyptian army. Yet such equipment is necessary to ensure that the army's fire-power becomes effective.
So how has Israel's situation gained in this respect?
The serious developments of the past few weeks have once again taught us the value of Government credibility and prestige. Such prestige itself is a source of strength. Undermining it is a source of weakness.
What can be done when the Government itself, with its own words and actions, destroys that credibility and prestige at home and abroad?
It is not by chance that Rabbi Schindler, chairman of the American Jewish Presidents' Organisation, observed on his recent visit to Israel that this State "has no leadership". He said that publicly—and he is no "hawk", but rather a "dove", should therefore be acceptable. But, instead, he says what no former U.S. Jewish leader has yet said.
If that is what a respected Jewish leader sees here, what should strangers say, whether they are friendly or hostile towards us? This Government's credibility has been smashed—and that is undoubtedly the decisive reason for everything that has happened in Judea, Samaria and the Galilee. That is an objective fact. A Government without a daunting prestige invites all sorts of incidents.
That is the case with the foreign policy too. Complications are not diplomacy. One must understand the essence of the struggle, and not be sidetracked. One must stand firm, but not be aggressive; must react with faith, not doubt; with quiet firmness, not anger.
History has taught us that frightened leaders have led us to disaster. Courage has sustained us. That is the lesson for today, too, when our enemies' attacks in the spheres of diplomacy and propaganda have gained them victories which we should not belittle.
By a counter-attack, which has all the prospects of success, we can overcome them. The only essential condition for that successful counter-attack is that Israel must have a leadership whose credibility and prestige will be acknowledged at home and abroad.
Such a leadership cannot be based on the "daring" decisions now being canvassed by its "doves"—the expulsion of the settlers of Kadum and an announcement of a readiness to hand over Judea and Samaria.
That is an Orwellian contradiction—with surrender being equivalent to "daring", and the imposition of that surrender on the majority of Israel, who are against it.
But long before the symbolic Orwellian date of 1984, we will prove, with God's help, that another type of daring, a true and sensible type, is not only essential, but also possible, in order to ensure the future of the nation.
(Translated from the Hebrew by Joe Kuttner)