It almost makes sense to my offspring that their mama, concurrent with exuberantly celebrating our nation’s existence and growth, can’t manage to wax enthusiastic about some of its leaders. It’s not that I consider the men and women who make and who enforce Israeli policy as villains as much as that I am often flummoxed by their seemingly contradictory policies.
An anxious consumer of news, I’ve noticed that my sources often cancel each other out. Whereas, my family’s secure room is stocked and our gas masks are in position, has v’shalom, we ought never need to use either of those types of safeties. Likewise, while I sometimes vote in elections, I am often surprised by “developments” in the parties in which I had confidence. What’s more, there were certain cities and areas within cities, where I used to be a frequent motorist, but given recent removals of checkpoints, of barrier walls, and of other user-friendly precautions, where I am no longer, for that reason, comfortable traveling.
At times, I am of the opinion that the Israeli public is getting victimized. Despite the fact that our government aims to conscript nearly all of our children, up to half of our earnings, and whichever of our homes it desires, that overseeing body denies many of us the right to bear arms at the same time that it trains its “regulators” to pounce upon us. I’m not referring only to Yesha and I am angry.
Sure, one of my family’s friends was a member of Jerusalem’s City Council. Sure, one of our neighbor’s sons still proudly serves in the city’s police department. Sure, one of my own kids cites letter and verse that his rabbi instructed his students always to obey command. As well, I’ve been told that the double binds, which Israelis experience, are partially due to the multiple attempts, by the people in charge, to woo the support of “helper” nations. I’ve been advised that our sacred realm rubs its belly in the dust of international federations, sucks up clouds of Anti-Semitic humiliation, and otherwise grovels before secular, narrow-minded groups so that Israel, on chance, might receive: fiduciary benefits, access to expensive military knowledge and equipment, and other “useful” extras. As Yanki Tauber so eloquently articulates in “Jerusalem Under Siege,” even as “[t]he killers are driven by hate, the pundits and politicians [are driven] by vanity and naiveté; together, they would rip the heart of Israel from its body.”
There are at least three problems with our tolerance of this prevailing behavior, discounting the craziness that such actions bring to the lives of us Israelis. First, the world buys Israeli knowhow and technology. Second, (political) prostitution can lead to disease, to disfigurement, and to death. Third, and most important, if we are chasing heads of state, we are neglecting to put Hashem in the equation.
That Israeli is an international leader in technology, in general, and in military applications, specifically, is easily documented. That political prostitution is stupid policy, likewise, is easy to prove (click on the majority of international news articles). That we need, first and foremost, to look to G-d for protection, though, seems to need to be reiterated.
Hashem will not abandon his people. Granted, we have to make a sincere effort to do everything we can to protect ourselves. In the words of Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, “we should do something, we should start something.” We need to run toward Eretz Yisrael and we should be instrumental in creating our geulah.
Nonetheless, ultimately, The Boss runs the universe. We need to cleave, not to the latest and greatest social strategies, not to the coattails of trendy politicians, but to the sanctity of Klal Yisrael and to our maker. As Tzvi Freeman writes in “What to Do Now,” “[o]ur survival was never a matter of having the right treaties, the right friends, the right economic, or military strategy.” As we recite, several times a day, in the Shema, The Almighty will protect us.
Yet, we continue on, contenting ourselves with the verity that such metamagnetic transitions as our government imposes upon us time and again make some sort of convoluted sense. The media’s views, which are repeatedly fed to us as so much pap, force themselves into our personal epistemologies.
In light of the above, I’m still not sure how to respond to my sons and daughters. At the same time that I espouse, in their presence, and, less directly, enact through deeds that they might or might not witness, my love for this Holy Land, for this Holy People, and for my love for Hakodesh Baruch Hu, I’m stymied when it comes to answering some of their bright remarks. What does an Israeli parent say to her child, for instance, when that youth exclaims, with all due vigor, “in the next election, I’ll be legal. I can choose among the liar, the hypocrite, and the thief.”