Jewry and Israel are in desperate need of a paradigm shift that moves toward a model placing Jewish interests at the forefront of national activity. There is concurrently too much emphasis on explaining to the world the State of Israel's actions and too few actions taken by Israel in the national interest.
Israel is the homeland of the Jewish People, not some slick PR firm. Messaging is a sidelight, not an essential. The message is not the message that matters; action is the message that matters.
The exiguous monies earmarked by Israel for its public relations would earn a greater ROI by being canalized into the IDF, Border Police, Shin Bet, or Mossad. Redirecting those shekels to civilians for bulletproof vehicles and knife-proof vests would also make much more sense just at the moment.
There will be intelligent and well-meaning proponents who will argue that good public relations is indispensable. PR has its place, but its locus is subsumed beneath determinative action. What is incontrovertible, and should be acknowledged as a cynosure, is that actions must antecede apologetics.
Not only do actions speak louder than words, they speak more articulately and eloquently than the most rehearsed spokesperson. Let anterior activities transpire, and only then send in the talking heads post factum for perfunctory mopping-up operations, mitigating any afterclap. The value of decisive measures cannot be overstated: they redefine reality and change the terms of reference for stakeholders and observers alike. Actions are adamant and emphatic: they communicate with rivalless clarity, precision, and concision.
In recent years a cadre of unofficial Israel advocates - selectively abstracting the aspect of Zionism from Judaism - has burgeoned into a veritable mini-industry consisting of a motley crew of novelty individuals. We may need all the help we can get but, by nature, even professional pundits will only ever be helpful in a manner more nominal than actual. In actuality, all the sloganeering and attitudinizing of colorful personae amounts to nil; only official and formal actions by the Judaic clergy and Israeli apparat will ever alter the equation for Jewry and the Jewish state. Action, not vapor, effects meaningful melioration.Let us therefore consider concrete exempla of practical actions and the unmistakable messages that they would convey without resorting to a single bullhorn, megaphone, talking point, or sound bite:
Action: Reconstituting the Great Sanhedrin - By reconvening the central religious judiciary with our most accomplished and revered sages and scholars, Jewry would afford itself an institution for national unity and cohesion, and a mechanism for interpreting and updating Jewish law for our times. As the upper house in a bicameral legislature, the Great Sanhedrin could serve as a senate assenting to or amending the bills introduced by the Knesset chamber below, providing legislators with a sober second thought for proposed statutes and ordinances, ensuring their alignment with normative Jewish law. It would also replace the unrepresentative Chief Rabbinate, too often afflicted with corruption and scandal.
Message: "We, the Jewish People, are a nation revived and we are restoring one of our central historical institutions of judicial and legislative importance rendered defunct millennia ago by foreign occupiers. We are organized and committed as a people to revitalizing and marshaling our council of sages and elders who will offer us, and the world, the benefit of their combined wisdom, knowledge, and experience. We are a secular and democratic state informed by our rich tradition and benefiting from its humane spirit and sagacity."
Action: Eradicating Terrorist Groups - By eschewing endless rounds and limited, time-sensitive operations against unrelenting and unrepentant murderers, Israel might act with determination, decision, and finality instead of excessive self-restraint that only guarantees future warfare. With Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the PFLP, etc. on and in its borders, Israel will only know rest and put an end to organized Muslim terrorism by breaking out the incisive spade instead of the rusty lawnmower and recalibrating for more permanent triumphs against its remorseless aggressors. Terminating terrorist entities would deliver a welcome breather to Israel and a stunning body blow to Jihad everywhere, empowering other terrorized nations to do likewise.
Message: "Enough is enough. We, the Jewish People, will defend ourselves against murderous thugs who exist to destroy us with any and all means available to them. We recognize that the best defense is a strong offense and will take proactive measures to eliminate the dire threat posed to our lives and wellbeing. We will uproot, not merely denude, those who are preparing to attack us. We will not wait for them to assail us but will take pre-emptive measures against avowed evil-doers brainwashed from birth, to safeguard our lives. We are not stuck in "response mode". When our lives are endangered, we will strike forcefully and relentlessly at those who would harm us and we will not be restrained by the shrill noise of 'world opinion' which begrudges us our safety and security. We mean business when we say we are here to stay. Now you know, so pass it on."
Action: Exercising Sovereignty over Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and western Menashe - By formally incorporating the heartland of the homeland into the State of Israel, the Jewish state will solidify its integrity of identity and assert its fidelity to its heritage and futurity. By building freely throughout the tribal territories, and especially in key cities including Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho, Shiloh, Shechem, Samaria, Bet El, Bet Zur, Betar, Givon, Tekoa, and Mizpah, Jewry will cement its commitment to revivify and replenish the land of promise apportioned to its forebears and preserve its sites and terrain for generations to come.
Message: "We, the Jewish People, are intimate with our heritage and history. We know where we belong and we know what belongs to us. We will not cede seminal areas of our ancestral homeland to anyone for any reason, because that means yielding a crucial element of our identity, resulting in an identity deficit, and eventuating in our disintegration. Identity is bedrock, not a bargaining chip. No opponent sincere about peacemaking would demand our national suicide. Land-for-peace is a faulty and failed premise; only peace-for-peace will succeed and be sustainable. As the indigenous people of this land, we claim the Land of Israel as our rightful patrimony and posterity, and will populate and govern it with equity and resolve (and no apologies)."
Action: Imposing a Resolution upon the Arab-Israeli Conflict - By offering Arabs living in the Land of Israel in Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and western Menashe the choice of permanent residency with guaranteed human and civil rights and political rights at the municipal and regional levels, or of emigration with compensation, Israel will table two dignified options for resolving the status quo. By negotiating their citizenship rights with neighboring Jordan (Palestine), Israel could arrange for its Arab residents in Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and western Menashe to gain national voting rights in Jordan even as they stay put and enjoy Israel's higher standard of living. Israel could supply utilities and public services to them and tax them on Jordan's behalf, forwarding to Jordan these finances minus the costs of service delivery. By dismantling the malignant and corrupt Palestinian Authority and shuttering all media, mosques, and schools that violate Israel's anti-hate speech/incitement laws, Israel will greatly reduce the funding and incitement of terrorism while simultaneously dispensing with the impenitent malfeasance of inveterate kleptocrats.
Message: "We, the Jewish People, cannot unilaterally remedy 1,400 years of deep-seated religious animosity on the part of Muslims towards Jews, but we can to a large degree bring to a close a half-century of superficially political conflict concerning Arabs living in Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and western Menashe. We hereby reject Muslim rejectionism, the endless rounds of negotiations with disingenuous Arab leaders, and the interminable impasses resulting from the Arabs' refusal to accept a Jewish state of any size within any borders. Stale talk of two-state solutions is increasingly inane, since the two-state solution came and went in 1922 when Transjordan (the first Arab state in the region of Palestine) was established, and even the three-state solution came and went when Israel withdrew in 2005 from the Gaza Strip (the second Arab state in the region of Palestine). The two-state solution is really the four-state solution, and we outright refuse the establishment of a third Arab state in the region of Palestine (!) in the very heartland of our homeland, the Land of Israel. Without further ado, we are independently establishing and enforcing a reasonable resolution that, while imperfect, nonetheless represents a major improvement over the universally unsatisfactory status quo. We are implementing new laws accordingly and we are moving on. Foreign 'recognition' thereof is unsolicited and not required."
Action: Building the Third Temple - The Jewish People did not await the Messiah to re-establish its state, nor should it necessarily await an anticipated deliverer to reconstruct the national religious sanctuary, a house of prayer for all peoples. A reconvened Great Sanhedrin could deliberate and rule on the matter in consultation with learned Kohanim and Levi'im worldwide. Erecting the edifice with its outer courts and the Temple Mount plaza open to worshipers from every corner of the globe would be the pinnacle of Jewry's redemption and renewal, an action whose import would indelibly impress itself on hearts and minds the world over as a singular event for the ages.
Message: "We're back. The people of Israel lives."
Hopefully we are collectively prepared to put the days of inherently defensive 'hasbara' behind us once and for all. Let the Arabs' brutal monocracies preoccupy themselves (and drain their treasuries) with obsequiously rendering account and tendering regrets to the so-called 'international community', which has entrenched itself as the International Community Against Israel. People-to-people and business-to-business interactions will prove vastly more efficacious with regards to bridge-building and combating isolation than scores of pro-Israel mouthpieces inevitably and indefinitely on the defensive, hopelessly vying for airtime on the airwaves of foreign media and at the pleasure of usually openly antagonistic news anchors. Such fora are rigged traps, and pro-Israel advocates only ever emerge triumphant by prudently avoiding them.
Neither can silver-tongued diplomats on television or in embassies nor statesmen delivering philippics from the floor of the UN General Assembly provide the value inhering in strategic action that reorients the de facto scenario on the ground through tactical means and in tangible fashion. There is no stronger statement than decisive action.
In sum, it should not be Israel's priority to 'massage its message'; Israel is not a masseuse. Rather, Israel's method should be to advance its national interest by taking momentous actions which speak for themselves in no uncertain terms.