Well it’s the “day after” and it’s time for some analysis. Elections were held yesterday in Israel and the results are in. Kadima won a majority of the seats but not as many as expected. Enough, however to carry out its goals. It is interesting to note, as does Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum in Cross-Currents that in total 32 seats, or a little over one-quarter of the Knesset was won by those parties that support settler goals. This means that nearly ¾ of the people of Israel either voted against the settler goals of retaining all portions of Eretz Yisroel or at least considered other things more important. In my view this is a good thing. We need to do it. We need to “cut of the cancer” of Arab hatred by cutting off their population centers from ours.
I realize that there are Chilukei Deios. There are those (my Rebbe Rav Aaron, ZTL amongst them) who believe that this is the worst action we can take... that giving up land to Arabs is not only Assur but suicidal. I know the arguments well. But as I have stated many times in the past, I agree with Charedi leadership, and some of the more considered MO leadership like Rav Aaron Lichtenstein on this one. They hold that it is not Assur to give up land when Pikuach Nefesh is involved. This is my position.
But it wasn't always my position. I used to view the settler movement as heroes, idealists who were willing to put their money and their lives where there mouths were and settle all parts of Eretz Yisroel. It was their Hesder boys who fought the hardest in wars, always volunteering for the most dangerous assignments. How proud I was of these pioneer settlers who in my view exemplified how Klal Yisroel should act in Eretz Yisroel. Heroes all... who made a Kiddush HaShem with their every action. But that was then.
Prime Minister elect, Ehud Olmert was like that then, too. In fact he was to the right of not only me, but even Menachem Begin. He was one of the few Likud party members who voted against the Camp David Accords back in the seventies.
Omlert was a man raised on the philosophy of Zev Jabotinsky. His father was a Herut MK. Olmert has been a staunch member of the political right in Israel for a long time. He is a man of conviction. So much so that for decades, he was at odds with his entire family... his wife; his children... who were all politically to his far left. His wife used to vote against him in elections as did his children. Never-the-less he stood his ground for years because he believed in the ideals of the right. Establishing settlements, he thought, was the best way to secure his country. Giving up territory he believed was suicidal, would weaken Israel’s defensive positions, and give terrorists bases closer to large Israeli population’s centers to operate out of.
What changed? What changed is a huge dose of reality... the demographic time bomb. He has a choice to either continue holding on to large and growing population centers full of Palestinian Arabs who would vote us out of existence in a few short years. He also faces the reality of a united world against Israel’s holding on to these territories.
Even Israel’s closest and most important ally, the United States would never countenance an option of annexation of these large Arab Population centers without granting them democratic voting rights. The choice seems to be clear. Israel’s only real option is to cut them off and create Israel’s new border without Palestinians outside of it. This is why PM Elect Olmert changed his view. And this is why ¾ of the Israeli electorate voted either directly for his party or for those to the left of it. They support such a move. The United States supports it. And so I do.