Israel's war for independence is far from over - opinion

I’m tired of this. I’m tired of seeing our so-called leaders taking our flag, washing out the blue and only leaving the white of surrender.

 SOLDIERS DANCE at the 74th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, at Mount Herzl, Wednesday night. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
SOLDIERS DANCE at the 74th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, at Mount Herzl, Wednesday night.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

I am privileged this year to celebrate our Independence Day as a free person in the Land of Israel. After enduring 35 years of prison and house arrest due to my actions as an Israeli agent, my love for this country and its wonderful citizens has only increased with each and every day that passes. More than anything else, though, I am deeply grateful to God for all our brave soldiers, who in their devotion to the survival of our country allow the miracle of our national rebirth to reoccur every day of the year.

But at the same time, alongside my joy and gratitude, I can’t forget, even for a moment, that the war for our independence is far from over.

During the 30 years I was in prison, I lived with incredible fear and concern for my life. I had to have eyes in the back of my head. I couldn’t sleep at night, concerned that someone would enter my room and stab me or my roommate to death. I needed to always carry a knife and be prepared to use it without hesitation.

I constantly had to witness the horrible deaths of other people - especially my friends - that occurred suddenly and without warning. In prison, the most frustrating thing of all had to do with the fact that the officials in charge of protecting us were basically scared of the violent prisoners and accommodated them as much as possible.

Put plainly, our administrators wanted peace at any cost, even if it meant that innocent people were murdered without serious consequences to those who attacked them. We couldn’t even rely upon the guards to protect us, because they didn’t want an inmate injured by them taking them to court.

 Israeli soldiers march during the reheasals for the 74th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, on May 2, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israeli soldiers march during the reheasals for the 74th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, on May 2, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

I quickly learned that we didn’t have a right to self-defense under any circumstances. People can’t believe me when I tell them that we were always wrong if we tried to defend ourselves. And those who did were always punished excessively in order to make the point that they were no better than their assailants. It was total insanity.

I prayed that when I came home, I wouldn’t have to live this way. I was wrong. Indeed, given what I’ve seen over the past year, it’s even worse now for me, because this time it’s not about one or two people getting randomly killed, but about an entire nation being traumatized by an army of cold-blooded antisemitic psychopaths, who the authorities are afraid of provoking. I’ve seen this movie before, and it never ends well.

In prison, I had one or two good friends who watched my back and I watched theirs. I lived under God’s grace and tried to remember that you fear no one but God, and to strike first. Here, incredibly, I’m living with a whole country that is either scared to death or in denial.

WE ARE all suffering on account of a group of intellectually challenged political and judicial elites, who have an infinite capacity to tolerate the suffering of our citizens, all the while insinuating that we are somehow responsible for all the violence we are experiencing.

I’m tired of this. I’m tired of seeing our so-called leaders taking our flag, washing out the blue and only leaving the white of surrender.

I’m waiting for somebody, a leader, a true Jewish leader, to come forward and put the blue stripes and the Magen David back on our flag.

I’m waiting for a leader that will put the fear of God into our enemies. Better yet, I’m waiting for a leader who will wipe our enemies off the face of the earth once and for all.

I’m waiting for a leader who will act without any concern about what anybody else outside our country thinks – whether it be the United States or the European Union, the UN, or anybody else who believes they can tell us where we can live or how we are to defend ourselves.

We know why we are here. God gave us this land, not the British Empire, the League of Nations, Washington or the UN. But despite this fact, it’s sad for me to realize that our holy mission of reestablishing the Third Jewish Commonwealth is not even halfway done. And this is because of our own fear and trepidation, not the result of our enemies’ actions.

We still don’t have our land back. We don’t have our self-respect back, we don’t have our independence back the way we should have after 2,000 years of pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and genocidal attempts to eliminate our people.

I’ve spent 30 years in prison hoping and praying that I would come home to a state that would defend me. Was I wrong? It certainly feels that way.

A STORY my father z”l often told me comes to mind. He said that a soldier’s principal duty is to protect the lives of his comrades, not to let them down because some high-ranking officer was too scared to order a necessary, but politically incorrect, action.

As I see it, our lives have essentially been reduced to such a battlefield, where our citizens, my brothers and sisters, are forced to defend themselves and those around them, not only from the enemy but from our own government, which is too scared to do what is required to eradicate the terrorist threat. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable!

We desperately need to get rid of this galut (exile) mentality that prioritizes the need to understand our enemies over the security of our people. We simply can’t think like the ten spies, who attributed to others what they felt about themselves – namely, that they were like grasshoppers. Well, I’m not a grasshopper, and neither are my brothers or sisters in this country.

We are the descendants of proud and noble warriors, who feared only God and never hesitated to defend our land from some of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. But over many years, our leaders have relentlessly tried to have us forget this fact in favor of our adopting a more liberal post-modernism, where we share our land with those who openly seek to destroy us. No more! We must reject this type of cynical defeatism before it kills us.

On this Independence Day, it’s time for us to regain both our individual and collective self-respect. It’s time for our nation to demand that our leaders care about us rather than their foreign masters. It’s time for our elected representatives to finally eliminate once and for all those groups and countries who seek to destroy us.

Lastly, we want the army high command to wake up and stop pretending that managing the enemy is an acceptable strategic doctrine. It isn’t. It’s a form of appeasement that preserves our opponents while making us look weak and stupid.

I know we can enact these essential reforms – and if we actually want to be an independent country, we have no other choice. Indeed, these goals should be seen as sacred obligations we must embrace not only for our sake, but also for the sake of our future generations. May God grant us the wisdom and strength to do so.

Amen.