Jewish Zionism, pro-Israel Rally in L.A.

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  1. Why is Israel at War in Lebanon?

    By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
    The Jewish Press, August 4 and 11, 2006

    Why is Israel at war in Lebanon? Instead of to focusing on the political reasons I want to offer a deeper understanding of why Israel is fighting for its survival in Lebanon, a country where Hezbollah - far from being a mere militia, has all the attributes of a state. After all, they control southern Lebanon, and have their own army, one more powerful than the Lebanese army. Hezbollah is more than a proxy of Iran. There are branches of Hezbollah in 20 states. But it is the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah that constitutes the spearhead of Iran’s ambition to be a superpower and dominate the Middle East. Israel stands in the way of that ambition. Hence Israel must be destroyed. Last week Iran’s president said, “We shall soon witness the elimination of the Zionist stain of shame.”

    Israel is at war today because Israeli prime ministers not only lacked the ambition to make Israel a superpower, but also pursued a policy of peace, which has truncated Israel by undoing the miracle of the Six-Day War. They failed to translate that miracle into public policy — which would have made Israel a superpower, the only way Israel can survive in the Middle East. Here, one can blame Israeli universities, which do not produce statesmen - men with grandiose ambitions who see history as the story of Israel. Rome recognized Israel or Judea as a superpower, but today historians regard Israel merely as an object of study.

    Let’s examine historian Michael Oren’s book, Six Days of War. He notes that on day one, in little more than half an hour, the Israel Air Force destroyed 204 planes, half of Egypt’s air force. They accomplished this while destroying six Egyptian airfields - four in Sinai and two in Egypt. Oren writes: “The Israelis were stunned. No one ever imagined that a single squadron could neutralize an entire air base.” Oren turns to day two and quotes Col. Avraham Adan who, while watching the rout of the Egyptian army, was “stupefied.” “You ride past burnt-out vehicles,” says Adan, “and suddenly you see this immense army too numerous to count, spread out of a vast area as far as your eyes can see ... It was not a pleasant feeling, seeing that gigantic enemy and realizing that you’re only a single battalion of tanks.”

    Oren quotes Moshe Dayan, who was no less “puzzled.” “Though Israel had gained command of the skies, Egypt’s cities were not bombed and the Egyptian armored units at the front could have fought even without air support.” Oren then cites the words of Gen. Avraham Yoffe: “There was no planning before the war about what the army would do beyond the al Arish-Jabal-Libni axis - not even a discussion. Nobody believed that we could have accomplished more or that the Egyptian collapse would be so swift.” So Oren sees that generals were “stunned.” “Stupefied” and had an “unpleasant feeling” about the magnitude of their victory. They saw what was happening as “mysterious”

    Surely, Oren could have remarked that religious people would regard all this as a miracle. He says nothing. Far be it for this historian to quote Leviticus 26:8: “Five of you shall chase away a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight.” History for Oren has no metaphysical significance. Nor does it have for Israeli prime ministers. Serious belief in God’s providence in the Six-Day War would have required Israel’s national unity government to declare Jewish sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai. To fully appreciate this miracle, a brief survey of contemporary events - ignored by Oren — will show that Israel’s government could have created a “Greater Israel”; indeed, a superpower.

    In June 1967 the United States was bogged down in Vietnam and was very much concerned about Soviet expansion in the Middle East, especially Soviet penetration of the oil-rich Persian Gulf on which the entire economy of the West depends. Recall that Egypt, Syria and Libya were then Soviet clients, and that Egypt had sought to gain control of strategically situated Yemen. Recall, too, that Israel employed French planes and weaponry in its stunning victory over Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

    That victory awakens Washington to Israel’s strategic value, for it resulted in the closing of the Suez Canal to the Soviet Black Sea fleet. This important arm of the Soviet navy was then compelled to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar and around the Cape of Good Hope in order to project Soviet power along the east African littoral and in the Indian Ocean, the sea-lanes of oil tankers from the Persian Gulf. Israel’s superb air force could also help protect NATO’s southern flank in the eastern Mediterranean. America needed a strong and stable ally in the volatile region of the Middle East. A miniature Israel, confined to its precarious 1949 armistice lines, could hardly serve this function. In a memorandum dated June 27, 1967, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that Israel retain control of the Judean and Samarian mountain ridges overlooking its vulnerable population centers on the coastal plain, as well as control of Gaza, the Golan Heights, and a portion of the southern Sinai to secure Israel’s access to the Red Sea through the Strait of Tiran.

    Viewed in this light, only a feckless and faithless government - it consisted of both secular and religious Jews - would trivialize the historical significance of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War by not declaring Jewish sovereignty over the land conquered by the IDF. Instead, ten days after the war, the Government transmitted a proposal to Cairo and Damascus, offering to return to the pre-war borders for a peace agreement! No wonder so many people throughout the world are oblivious of the fact that Israel has valid legal claims to this land, apart from its having been regained in a war of self-defense.

    Jordan’s annexation of Judea and Samaria in 1950 was never recognized by any state except Pakistan and Britain. Egypt had no claim to Gaza (and its claim to the Sinai was dubious). Jordan and Egypt had invested nothing in these desolate territories, which were occupied by diverse Arab clans — they’re now called “Palestinians” - which had no indigenous culture linked to this land. The presence of those Arabs would not have deterred statesmen who believed in G-d and possessed the courage of their convictions to extend Jewish law over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

    Having failed to translate the miracle of the Six-Day War into Israel’s national policy and thereby sanctify G-d’s name, it was inevitable that subsequent Israeli governments would undo that miracle. Israel can hardly be a superpower under the Oslo Agreement, which entails the surrender of Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. This defeatist policy - this betrayal by the nation of G-d has encouraged Iran to conquer Israel via Hezbollah, the “party of god”.

    Finally, let’s consider the character of the prime ministers who advocated this perfidious policy:
    (1) Yitzhak Rabin shook the bloodstained hands of Yasir Arafat.
    (2) Ehud Barak virtually licked Arafat’s boots.
    (3) Ariel Sharon embraced Arafat’s comrade and successor, Abu Mazen. Clearly, Israeli “generals-become-prime ministers” have been the world’s leading patrons at terrorism. It seems that all of them felt no abhorrence of evil (unlike America’s leaders Ronald Reagan and now GW Bush). They and their educators are very much to blame for Israel’s present plight.

    Perhaps a Commission of National Inquiry should examine the curriculum of Israel’s Command and Staff School. The late Professor Harkabi was once the head of this school. He was not only a moral relativist who advocated a Palestinian state, but he sanctioned haviaga, self-restraint, as a guiding military principle. The principle of self-restraint was employed by Rabin, Barak, and Sharon against Arab terrorists — and all of these generals advocated a Palestinian state. What is more, the principle of self-restraint underlies the failure of Israeli governments to declare Jewish sovereignty over the land conquered by the IDF in the Six-Day War. Properly understood, self-restraint — a euphemism for the cowardice or paltriness of Israeli prime ministers — has brought Israel into a proxy war with Iran, a war for which Iran has been preparing for many years, while Israel’s prime ministers were burning incense to the peace process.

    Professor Paul Eidelberg teaches at Bar Ilan University in Israel and is the director of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.