Sunday, March 13, 2011

Should We Carpet Bomb Gaza?

The images are horrific! They are gruesome. Last Friday night there was a brutal massacre of a Jewish family by some Arab terrorists who broke into their home. The family lived in Itamar - a settlement near Nablus in Israel.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for a young girl to walk into her home and discover her parents, 2 of her brothers, and baby sister with bloodied bodies and slit throats. The word heinous doesn’t even begin describe this monstrous crime. The people who did this are animals that should receive no mercy when they are caught. If ever there were a reason to have the death penalty in Israel this is it.

And yet the emotion I feel most here is anger.

Yes - I’m angry! I am angry that there is not enough security to have prevented this. Angry that there are savages in the world that could do anything like this. Angry that the Muslim mindset that preaches hatred of the Jewish people is a cardinal tenet of their religion. Angry that the rhetoric coming out of mosques and schools makes a Jew hater out of every child from their earliest ages. Angry that virtually all the news and entertainment media in the Arab world constantly disparages the Jewish people. Angry that this kind of indoctrination has caused the Arab street to celebrate an ‘achievement’ such as this!

My gut wants to carpet bomb Gaza. But fortunately my head rules over my heart. Carpet bombing Gaza would be a most immoral response to what happened in Itamar.

It should come as no surprise that something like this has happened. Again.

For the Arabs who perpetrated this crime it was a heroic act. They see it as a fulfillment of God’s will - a ‘Mitzvah’ they believe will earn them eternal reward. They consider it a Yehoreg V’Al Yaavor to rid Palestine of the Jews by any means necessary. That has created monsters who murder Jews with a hatred that surpasses even that of Nazi Germany.

There are those who in a larger sense seek to blame Obama administration for opposition to Israeli settlements and the Israeli government for caving into American pressure. They say that this ‘tilt’ towards the Palestinian point of view has encouraged and emboldened Palestinian towards more terrorism. I reject that kind of thinking completely. The Arab mindset against the Jewish people needs no excuse to act. This was certainly not the first time something like this has happened. Obama was not President the last time this happened. Terrorist attacks were far more frequent then.

I can’t help thinking that the opposite might be true. Isn’t it just possible to say that the religious Zionist imperative to settle all parts of biblical Israel might have put this family in harm’s way? Isn’t it also possible that throwing a Molotov cocktail into an innocent Arab’s home during a settler rampage last week might have precipitated a random act of revenge?

I also must ask whether the Mitzvah Yishuv Ha’aretz - to settle all parts of Israel - is indeed the religious imperative that religious Zionists say it is. They constantly encourage settling in the territories. And they use religious arguments in doing so. The people who settle in these areas are the most motivated idealists among us. Every sacrifice is made to fulfill the Mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz. But is Yishuv Ha’aretz the most important Mitzvah in the Torah? Is putting oneself and one’s family in harm’s way the proper fulfillment of this Mitzvah? And yet religious Zionism encourages living in what amounts to a jungle full of wild savages in that cause. I find it difficult to understand why we must to have such Korbanos at this point in our history.

I say these words with a heavy heart. In no way would I ever want to say anything hurtful to the families and friends of the victims. We are all in a state of mourning for them. This post is in no way directed at them and should not be read by them. It would be too painful. I ask that it not be forwarded to them or mentioned in any way.

I also realize that my thoughts here will make a lot of people who usually agree with me very angry. How can I blame religious Zionism for a brutal murder of innocent high caliber Jews who were courageous enough to put their lives on the line for this Mitzvah?

I don’t blame religious Zionism. It is the Arab mindset of Jew hatred that produces mass murders like this. A hatred that most Muslim Arabs are weaned on. Aside from the perpetrators themselves, I blame Muslim clerics and educators for this. They have been teahcing generations of hatred which is constantly being reinforced and sustained by their culture.

But at the same time, I have to ask whether the religious Zionist theological imperative of settling dangerous parts of Eretz Yisroel hasn’t in some way contributed to it.

And I have to ask whether Arab hatred that is constantly exacerbated by rampages against innocent Arabs like what recently happened in another part of the West Bank hasn’t in some way contributed to it as well.

I also can’t help thinking that this family would now be alive had they been living in Tel Aviv. Or anywhere inside the green line. Or at least not near a hotbed of Arab radicalism like Nablus.

How many more Karbonos are we going to have before we realize that putting oneself in a Makom Sakana like that for the purpose of Yishuv Ha’aretz is not a good idea?