Hanukka demonstrates Jewish rejection of militarism and its glories in favor of Jewish domestication.
Although having won one of the great military battles of the ancient world through their defeat of the Assyrian Greek inheritors of Alexander the Great, the Maccabees decide not to stage a grand military parade, or Roman-style triumph, celebrating their victory, but to instead go with their wives and children to illuminate the Temple.
Jews do not celebrate military victories, which is why today a tourist can travel the length and breadth of both ancient and modern Israel and find not a single military arch celebrating a defeat of Jewish enemies.
Memorials to soldiers abound, but not a single equestrian statue of a conquering hero.
When Douglas MacArthur finally returned from fighting for America for decades in Asia he was showered with a military-confetti parade in the Canyon of Heroes down Broadway which was said to have been the largest of its kind in American history. No such celebration of an Israeli general has ever happened.
When Jews fight they do so merely to protect life and never for glory. Then they return home quietly to their families, a tradition practiced to this day in the IDF.
King David is the greatest of all Jewish conquerors, who forged a Jewish empire in the Middle East 3,000 years ago. How is he remembered today? Through harp and lyre rather than sword and shield.
Contrast this with Islamic State (ISIS) seeking to carve out a global Islamic caliphate by the sword. Contrast it with the call of Hamas and Hezbollah to use Islamic arms to vanquish their enemies on bloody battlefields.
Yet the Obama administration missed all this and determined that it was the Jewish state’s emphasis on family life and domestication, as evidenced in a desire to build apartments in Ma’aleh Adumim, that is the real cause of discord in the Middle East, as opposed to radical Islamic militarism.
Settlements, rather than jihad, is the true cause of Middle East conflict. The world recently watched in horror as Aleppo burned, the massacre of men, women, and children shocking the world.
The Syrian genocide reached fever pitch in December, 2016, just as the Obama administration had but days left in office.
But rather than scramble to save the children of Aleppo, President Barack Obama continued to not lift a finger to protect Arabs from being slaughtered. Turns out, he and his national security team were too busy scheming against Israel to take notice. Aleppo was ignored as the administration focused instead on condemning the Jewish state with a UN resolution that will lead to economic boycotts against Israel and the possible detention and arrests of its soldiers, like my son, and its ministers, when they travel abroad. Worst of all, the resolution will almost certainly lead to Israeli leaders and military figures being prosecuted at the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
President Obama couldn’t pass even one United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Russia, Syria and Iran for the wholesale carnage in Syria. But they passed a motion condemning Jews who build condominiums in Judea and Samaria, the ancient biblical cradle of Jewish civilization.
But the biggest failure of all was Obama’s blindness on the real causes of conflict in the region. Men who are taught they will be granted virgins for murder, sex for violence, are creating a culture where harming others is the ultimate test of masculinity and manhood. But contrast, men who are taught that fighting is never something to celebrate but rather to be used only in the defense of life are those who will ultimately sow peace.
Hence, Hamas building weapons rather than Jews building homes is the ultimate source of the conflict. Hamas could easily have used Israel’s withdrawal in 2005, and the billions it received in international aid, to build homes as well. But that would not have brought glory. Firing rockets at Israel made them into truly religious men.
But heck, at least Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who have missed all this, have finally socked it to Netanyahu and Israel.
That’ll finally teach those stubborn condo-building Jews a lesson they won’t forget, even if it did come at the expense of the Obama quartet being forever referred to as bystanders to genocide.
For the past few years President Obama watched impotently as ISIS took control over a quarter of the country, targeting Yazidis and Christians; as Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslims joined Alawites seeking to exterminate the Sunnis.
His administration has been ambivalent about stopping Syria’s largest city being turned into a kill zone, where at least 100,000 children are trapped beneath the falling barrel bombs.
A genocide has unfolded before our eyes, but rather than focusing its efforts on stopping the brutality in Aleppo, the lame-duck president and his cohorts – Kerry, Rice and Power – decided that Jews building nurseries in Beit El was a greater danger than mustard and sarin gas attacks against Arab children in Damascus.
By engineering UNSC Resolution 2334, a resolution that will live in infamy, Team Obama has emboldened Israel’s enemies and made peace much less likely.
By approving the resolution’s absurd language that Israel’s claim to the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter has “no legal validity,” and ignoring the Jewish people’s 3,000-year-old connection to Judea and Samaria, the Obama administration only encourages Palestinian jihadists to cling to their dreams of driving the Jews into the sea. No wonder Hamas and Iran-backed Islamic Jihad, who are dedicated to Israel’s destruction, have praised it.
In his speech about the resolution, Kerry said, “It is vital that we have an honest, clear-eyed conversation about the uncomfortable truths.”
Here are just a few of them: No agreement, including the Oslo Accords signed by the Palestinians, precludes Israel from building settlements in Judea and Samaria. In fact, even two-state proponents acknowledge Israel’s right to annex the major settlements as part of a land swap in the final peace agreement.
The “West Bank” territory is disputed – not occupied. It was never a sovereign Palestinian state. After the expulsion of Jews 2,000 years ago, the land was occupied by many nations, most recently by the Ottomans, British and Jordanians. Only in 1967, after Israel defeated Jordan in the Six Day War, did claims of “illegal occupation” become fashionable. After all, which legal entity did Israel illegally occupy it from? The Ottoman Empire? The British mandate? Certainly not from any state called “Palestine.”
What a tragedy for the legacy of Barack Obama, whose countless assurances of “having Israel’s back” have proven worthless.
Already tainted by the Iran deal, his legacy will be stained by this cowardly stab in Israel’s back in the fleeting days of his presidency.
The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” has just published The Israel Warrior: Standing Up for the Jewish State from Campus to Street Corner. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.