The Jewish War
Michael Ellias Dallen
One of the leading conflicts of the modern age directly concerns those who care about God and Torah. You deserve a look at the facts:
People call Israel "the promised land" because God promised the land to the people of Israel, to be theirs forever. He made the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, and 17:18); to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4); to Jacob (Genesis 28:13, 35:12, and 48:4); and to Moses (Exodus 6:4, 6:8, Numbers 13:1, 33:53, 34:2; Deuteronomy 1:8, 12:1, 12:10, 19:8, 26:1, 32:52, and 34:4).
It's interesting just how small this land is. Including the "Occupied Arab Territories" of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), Gaza and the Golan Heights, the whole of Israel today amounts to fewer than 11,000 square miles. So Israel isn't even one-fifth the size of the state of Michigan. California, by contrast, is more than 15 times larger than Israel. Syria, Israel's jealous neighbor, is more than nine times bigger than Israel, and Jordan - which was cut away from Jewish Palestine in 1922 and given, by the British, to a Saudi Arabian family, to serve as the Arab Palestinian homeland - is more than four times larger.
This, too, is fact: for more than 50 years now, very nearly the whole of the Arab world and by far the greater part of the Muslim world have been trying to obliterate Israel.
After the Nazis and their collaborators in Europe murdered most of Europe's Jews - or approximately one out of every three of all Jews in the world - between 1942 and 1945, most of the survivors tried to come to Jewish Israel, so-called Palestine. Before 1948 and the founding of the modern State of Israel, the Jews who lived in that land were called Palestinians. In contrast, most of the Arabs who lived there at the time identified themselves as Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, or Lebanese.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the Arab people who came to dwell in Palestine came there only fairly recently, in the 20th century, AFTER Jewish immigrants began to make the barren land bloom again.
Those Arabs who, beginning in the 1960's, first began calling themselves Palestinians ("Filistin"), have no national connection at all to the Bible's ancient Philistines (the belligerent idol-worshippers known, in Hebrew, as the "Peleshet," or "dividers," "penetrators" or "invaders," who inhabited the land in Samson's time), nor to the Canaanites. The truth about the land of Israel, from the time of the Romans' destruction of Jewish life in the land (when Rome changed the name of the country from Judea to Philistia, or Palestina) around the year 160 of the common era, to the late 19th century, when the Jews first began returning in large numbers, is that it was desolate and ruined. Just as God Himself had promised the Jews, in the Bible:
"And I will bring the land into desolation. . . and you will I scatter among the nations. . . and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. Then shall the land be paid her sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate. . . as long as it lies desolate it shall have rest." (Leviticus 26:32-34)
In fact, the land did rest. Visitors to the area found it shocking. "We saw no living object, heard no living sound. . . as we should have expected before the entombed gates of Pompeii or Herculaneam. . . a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, on the highways, in the country. . . the tomb of a whole people." (Alphonse de Lamartine, 1835, in Recollections of the East, Vol. 1, London, 1845). Mark Twain visited in 1867. "Can the curse of the Deity beautify a county? he asked. He described it: "Desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds - a silent mournful expanse. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. . . Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes." (The Innocents Abroad, Harper & Bros., New York, 1871)
Of course the Bible promises that the Jews will finally return to the promised land, and that it will be desolate no more. Much the same prediction is in both the Christian and the Muslim scriptures. In the Christian Bible, Romans 11, Paul defends the wisdom of God concerning Israel's restoration in the future. In the Koran, Islam's Muhammed speaks of Allah's promise of the land to the people Israel, His command to the Jews, to dwell in the land, and the certainty that, in the end days, they will resettle the land that Allah Himself has given them. ("The Children of Israel," Sura 17:104).
Despite all this, those religious believers who hate Jewish Israel hate Israel fiercely. It's a remarkable phenomenon. The following piece, by the West's leading expert on Arab history and culture, was written many years ago, before Egypt under Anwar Sadat grudgingly formally "recognized" Israel, but the spirit of the thing is still true:
"Even the bitterest of conflicts - between France and Germany over Alsace and Lorraine, between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus and the Aegean, between China and Japan, India and Pakistan, or Iraq and Iran have never involved total nonrecognition of one side by the other, the total refusal of dialogue, the declared intention not merely to defeat but utterly destroy the adversary state and wipe it off the map." (Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites (New York, 1968, p. 237)
Today, instead of the Arab-Israeli conflict, people have started calling it the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - just as though all the rest of the Arab world has already decided to live in peace with Israel! But whatever people call this conflict, it continues, and it's still roiling up most of the Muslims in the world, and hundreds of millions of others.
Well-meaning persons have advanced the idea that the problem today - the reason for the conflict - is that Israel is too large. The comic Dennis Miller remarked about this: the Arab world is like a football field and Israel is like a pack of matches lying at the 50-yard line, with the Arab side demanding at least half the matches - before it will even talk about beginning peace negotiatians!
In fact, Jews lived throughout the territory known today as the Arab world, and elsewhere in the Muslim world, in Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries, right up to Israel's declaration of independence in 1948. Their communities, including synagogues, cemeteries, business and schools, had been there for thousands of years, since long before the coming of Islam. Then, in the same decade as the Holocaust in Europe, most of their Jews were forced out, violently. Almost a million of them came as refugees, robbed and penniless, to Israel. They joined the refugees who had come to Israel from Hitler's Europe - and, naturally, Israel became their home.
United Nations experts spoke despairingly in those years about the refusal of the Arab governments and peoples to make an accomodation for their own people. In fact, many of the Arabs in Israel simply stayed in Israel, but more left voluntarily - in response to the calls of their own leaders, who were telling them to get away so their armies (supplied and officered, in many cases, by British, French and German experts) could better "drive the Jews into the sea."
Between 600,000 to 900,000 Jews fled Arab persecution to come to Israel, in those years; approximately 600,000 Arabs fled Jewish Israel. But of all the Arabs who left Israel, NONE were invited to settle as citizens with full rights of citizenship anywhere else in the Arab world. Rather, Arab leaders insisted that the UN put their fellow Arabs - their own brethren, related to them by language, religion, customs, history, and blood - into refugee camps, to live of relief payments coming from the UN. And there, after more than 50 years, scores of millions of their descendants - the Arab Palestinians' rate of natural increase, abetted by Arab League and United Nations' subsidies, is almost the highest in the world, although many other Arabs from other places, attracted by the UN dole, have joined them - remain today.
Such cynicism and meanness doesn't deserve to be rewarded. How can people act like that towards their own people? In fact, these people are being sacrificed - keeping in mind the religious nature inherent in the act of sacrifice. For most of the Arab world, the crusade against Israel has never been other than a holy war. Israel must be destroyed entirely. As many an Arabic book, newspaper, and website proclaims, the "Palestinians," as they've become known, will be the tool by which the Jews of Israel, women, children, babies, and men, are driven into the sea.
God spoke to Israel of just such a thing. If the Jews in the land of Israel failed to keep all the laws that God has given them, especially including the laws commanding the Jews to remove unholy foreign influences from their midst, He would send against them a non-nation, "a vile nation that is no nation." (Deuteronomy 32:21)
One of the Bible's psalms predicts much the same thing: a great conspiracy by the Arabs (or Ishmaelites) and others, not just to "cut them [the Jews] off from being a nation," but to erase the very name and even the memory of Israel! (Psalm 83:5)
"If you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you," the Torah promises, "then it shall come to pass that those that you let remain shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides [emphasis added], and shall vex you in the land wherein you dwell. And it shall come to pass that I [God] shall do unto you as I thought to do unto them." (Numbers 33:55-6)
This seems clear enough, but if if you still feel that it's ambiguous, consider that this very great scholar in Jewish history, Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (d. 1747), the Or HaChayim, insists absolutely that this prohibition is eternal - that it doesn't just include the enemy aliens of Moses' (or Joshua's) time.
Israel, the Jews, whose mission it is to challenge their gentile neighbors to be greater than they are, cannot share the one tiny land of Israel, as small as it is - as holy as it is, as vulnerable and delicate as it is - with fierce and hostile gentile neighbors, ever.)
Despite this instruction, and despite all the Biblical prohibitions on making any kind of covenant with foreign enemies - that is, with non-Jewish enemies - in the land of Israel, the people of Israel have kept proclaiming their willingness to make such a covenant and surrender large parts of the land.
Our foundation, the First Covenant Foundation, was established, in part, to warn against that. Appeasement of evil is no route to peace. In fact, appeasement has been tried exhaustively, ad nauseum, over more than 50 years: leading Israelis have come up with program after program to pacify or appease the Arab world, to "square the circle," somehow. The inventiveness and cleverness of these schemes has been wonderful - but none of them ever got off the ground: not because of Jewish opposition to them, but because the only thing that would satisfy the Arab side was the total destruction of Israel. Indeed, these "peacemaking" efforts only further inflamed the other side. As a general rule, the more that the Jews proclaim their willingness to compromise, the more convinced the Arabs are that all their claims are justified. The more Israel tries to accomodate their viciousness, the more they, and their non-Arab allies in the world, act like human monsters, like Nazis, or Cossaks, or the people known as Amalek (See Exodus 7:8-13, 17:13-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; Psalm 83)
"Palestine belongs to the Jews. We must build a fence around it and move the Arabs out." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
"For peace's sake, remove the sources of conflict. Transfer the populations, and cut the ulcer clear." - Fridtjof Nansen (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for arranging the massive but peaceful population exchange, between Greece and Turkey in the 1920's)
One begins with the premise that nothing on the surface of this planet belongs unconditionally or eternally to anyone. The Earth is the Lord's. No nation on earth has the right to assert an absolute claim against any part of it. So it's time to stop referring to all the land that's claimed for people of Arab descent or Arab language as "Arab lands." The land is God's.
Nevertheless, it appears that important parts of historic Palestine, although they were part of the original League of Nations/United Nations mandate to create a Jewish national home there, are now lost to Israel. These include the whole of southern Lebanon, where the tribes Naftali, Zebulon and Asher lived; and all the land, including Gilead, on the eastern side of the Jordan, belonging now to the country of Jordan, where Manasseh, Gad and Reuben lived. Israel doesn't even have an armed presence in any part of these areas anymore.
The rest of Israel, including Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights, are different. In truth, they too belonged to the people of Israel in ancient times, and made up part of the League of Nations' mandate. But now, besides Israel's armed presence there, thousands of Jews have returned to this land, cultivating and improving it, making it holier - as well as greener, and more productive - by their loving presence. Areas that would otherwise be degraded or, at best, left fallow by the bad habits and indifference of the local Arabs, are thriving again. To surrender them to the Arab enemy - with the certainty that they'll go from a higher level of holiness to a lesser - would be criminal.
Still, Israel faces a burgeoning population of remarkably vicious and hostile Arab people, not just in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, but even in "Israel proper," in areas that no Jew would ever even think of surrendering. Just about 20% of the voters in Israel are Arabs with full legal citizenship - even though they have never been asked, and probably mostly never would, pledge allegiance to the Jewish State of Israel. Many of them belong to parties, the Communists and Arab and Muslim nationalists, that call for the end of Jewish sovereignty in the land.
This, too, is true: living in the land of Israel, the holy land, is a privilege. The Torah - God's principal, most extensive revelation to mankind, through Moses to the people of Israel at Sinai - tells us that we all need to respect that fact. A Jew who lives in the land is subject to special obligations, as well as certain spiritual privileges; a non-Jew who wishes to dwell in the land also has responsibilities.
These responsibilities center around the Rainbow Covenant itself. The basic obligation of a non-Jew who lives in the land is to accept the system that God has given us, His holy Way. That means, specifically, that he must: 1) accept the fact that God has given the land of Israel, and sovereignty over the land, to the people of Israel, the Jews; 2) obey the laws and rules of the national authority; 3) accept the Rainbow Covenant, the Universal Law, and live according to its precepts. (See Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim (Laws of Kings) 6:1)
Are these obligations unreasonable? To pledge one's acknowledgment and support for the indisputable (if you accept the Bible) plan of God Himself, as specifically and repeatedly expressed in the Bible, and to live in conformance with the Noahide laws, the basic laws of human decency?
Naturally, people who come seeking residence in the United States, whose beliefs make them unwilling or unable to submit to the fundamental laws of the country, may be legally barred from entry, residence and citizenship. Every new citizen, coming from another country, must, of course, pledge allegiance to the United States. Every single law officer and attorney must pledge his loyalty - usually by oath - to the country and its constitution. Most countries, of course, have similar mechanisms for testing and ensuring loyalty.
Another important fact: the people who call themselves Arab are just one people, in popular as well as official Arab parlance. They are, as the Arab broadcasting services keep saying, one nation: "the Arab nation." Things like passport and legal citizenship are merely technical; ultimately, supposedly, they do not matter: if one is an Arab, whether one hails from Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Syria, Bahrain or Lebanon, one is first of all an Arab, kin to every other Arab. At least, that is what the Arabs themselves say.
At the same time, the people of the Arab world currently claim no fewer than 22 countries as their own - not including the late Yasser Arafat's "Palestine." They are all "Arab nations." Most or all of these countries are underpopulated, by world standards, with land to spare and other important resources woefully underutilized. Indeed, most of the Arab world makes even a relatively unprepossessing American state - like Mississippi, say - look like an earthly paradise. Different apologists advance different reasons for this. One reason, surely, is that, in the Arab countries, hundreds of millions of men spend most of their waking hours - while other people in the world are working - sitting around in tea and coffee and hashish houses, talking, playing cards, and complaining about the world's unfairness to the Arabs.
People speak respectfully of the so-called Palestinians' special attachment to the land of Israel, "Palestine." Even thought the very word Arab connotes and comes from a root meaning "wanderer." Indeed, at least in stereotype, the people who call themelves Arabs have always been famously footloose, remarkable for their proud willingness to "fold their tents and silently slip away." Strangely, only when it comes to the land of Israel - which they never showed much attachment to over the last 20 centuries, never even giving it a name, or a capital, or trying to establish an independent country there - has any Arab community expressed such remarkable loyalty to place.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs today claim that their families used to own beachfront property in Israel. Beachfront property is, of course, particularly desirable property in Israel, as it is in most of the western world, and very much in demand. "Do you know how rich we'd be if the Jews hadn't robbed us?" they ask. But, even assuming that their claims are perfectly truthful, they would still need Jewish Israel to make those properties valuable. In Syria, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, Arab countries where the Mediterranean beaches are pristine and wonderful, it's mostly only very poor people who live near the ocean. The old colonial-era cities built close to the sea are decaying, turning into ghost towns; without the Jews or other people there to give the land its value, the Arab residents there firmly believe that beachfront living is uncomfortable - salty, cold and wet and windy - and only for people who can't afford any better.
It's time, at any rate, to bring the farce of Arab claims against Israel to an end. It's time to end the conflict, to "remove the sources of friction," and separate the warring parties. Between Pakistan and India, tens of millions of people made the long hard journey from one country to another, to live with their brethren and away from their former neighbors-turned-enemies, in 1948-1949; the same sort of population transfer, only on a somewhat smaller scale, happened when the Germans who had long lived in Poland and other Slavic countries were expelled from those countries, at the end of World War II. That is the way of the world, in fact, the way that history has always worked: people move. Everybody moves. As the Jews have always moved. As the Arabs used to move, before they became so attached to this one tiny patch of real estate. People leave one place, especially when they refuse to live in peace there, and go to live with their own people, who make them live in peace.
Now, we believe, it's time to say "enough" - instead of encouraging the Arab masses in their belief that the rest of the world sympathizes with their evil, and that the world will eventually force the Jews to give in to it. It's time to begin persuading - or forcing - the world's Arabs to finally begin acting responsibly toward their own people. It's time to stop encouraging - by rewarding - the cynicism and cruelty of the Arab leaders who created this completely unnecessary conflict, and Palestinian and Arab and Islamic terrorism generally.
"He who is merciful to the cruel will end by being cruel to the merciful," the Torah teaches. Israel can't clean up their mess for them - but so long as the Arab peoples believe that the world will eventually deliver Israel up to them, their cruelty won't stop and they'll never clean up their own mess. The Arabs, generally speaking, have been very cruel; it's time now for the world to say to them, "Enough!" It's time for the world to tell the Arab Nation and the people and leaders who make it up that they need to begin treating their own fellow Arabs like actual human beings instead of pawns - pawns in an evil and godless war.
No larger war against Arab/Islamic terrorism will succeed unless it takes this Jewish War, the Muslim and Arab war against Israel, into account. It won't succeed strategically and it won't succeed morally until it tells the terrorists and their supporters, "Enough! Stop blaming others for your own self-made problems." Go take care of your own people.