Published by the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
VOLUME 14             B"H   May 2007             NUMBER 4

"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest"

May 2007





  • JUDAISM AND MEMORY IN A WORLD OF FORGETTING..............Eugene Narrett, PhD


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    How NOT to Combat Palestinian Terrorism
    by Yoram Ettinger

    Makor Rishon Daily, May 27, 2007

    The more entrenched is the defensive state of Israeli mind – as has been the case since the 1993 Oslo Accord – the more intensified is Palestinian terrorism.

    The defensive world view on one hand and the "No Military Solution to Terrorism" on the other hand, have eroded Israel’s steadfastness, have revolutionized the potential of Palestinian terrorism and have advanced its step-by-step strategy to annihilate the Jewish State:

    1. To weaken Israelis’ confidence in their government's capability to safeguard personal/national security;

    2. To transform terrorism into a routine cost-of-living in Israel;

    3. To establish war of attrition as an acceptable mode of Israeli-Palestinian relations – terrorists’ "wet dream" and western democracies’ nightmare;

    4. To undermine Israel's conviction in its cause;

    5. To entice Israelis to accept the concepts of "moral equivalence" and shared-responsibility for the "cycle of violence";

    6. To exacerbate Israeli battle fatigue, resulting in sweeping Israeli concessions and rewarding/fueling Palestinian terrorism, which is driven by hope for further concessions;

    7. The collapse and the abandonment of the Jewish State.

    The "Oslo Legacy" and its derivatives – from the Hebron Accord through Wye Accord, the flight from South Lebanon, Camp David II, "Disengagement", Lebanon War II and "Convergence" – have transformed "fortifications and defense", "Separation", "Containment", "Low Intensity Warfare", "Back to 1949 Lines" and the recruitment of counter-terrorism subcontractors (Egypt, Jordan, Arafat/Abu Mazen, international forces) into key battle tactics against Palestinian terrorism. Such tactics dismiss the option of bringing the enemy to submission, and therefore add fuel – not water – to the fire of terrorism.

    Instead of defending Israeli citizens, the "defense-fortification-separation" tactic has been employed, in order to rescue the "Oslo-Separation" theory from an extremely costly collapse: Over 2,000 Israelis murdered since 1993, compared with 250 murdered during 15 years preceding Oslo; a multi-billion dollar cost of homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israel’s confidence in its cause and in its capability to confront its enemies; undermining Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East and in the US.

    The sealing of windows with sand sacks and the erection of a series of protective walls, did not stop the 2000-1 Palestinian sniping at Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. In fact, it energized Palestinian terrorists and enabled them to improve their terrorist capabilities. The sniping was totally aborted – and overall Palestinian terrorism was curtailed by 90% - when Israel's military took over the Palestinian breeding ground of terrorism in Beit Jallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and other major towns in Judea & Samaria. Israeli military re-engagement with these areas – rather than the Fence or the Wall – reasserted Israel's initiative in the battle against Palestinian terrorism.

    Upgrading the defensive/security features of bus stops, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogues, kindergartens, schools and residential areas in the Kassam-plagued Sderot, Ashqelon and the West Negev Kibbutzim – and tomorrow probably in Ashdod, Kfar Saba, Hadera and Ben Gurion Airport – provides a short term false sense of security, but plays into the hands of terrorists.

    The focus on defense, fortifications and retreat has signaled Israel's abandonment of the victory option. Rather than destroying the infrastructure and capabilities of Palestinian terrorism, the focus on defense has reflected co-existence with terrorism. The addiction to defense, the belief that "Restrain Is Strength", and the subordination of the war on terrorism to international public opinion, have been by-products of the false assumptions that "we've tried everything" and that "There's no military solution to terrorism". Such false assumptions mirror battle fatigue, which is non-existent among other countries fighting terrorism: India, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, etc.

    Fourteen years of unprecedented terrorism – since Oslo – have made it clear that there is no political solution to Palestinian terrorism, that the Palestinian Authority is a non-compromising enemy and not a partner for peace, that "Disengagement/Separation" upgrades terrorist capabilities, that an effective military action must be comprehensive, decisive and disproportionate and that international public opinion is never saturated with Israeli concessions. Instead of relying on defense, deterrence, retaliation and on surgical, sporadic and limited offensive initiatives, Israel should adopt the tactics of pre-emption, prevention and comprehensive/sustained offense, aimed at uprooting terrorist infrastructure and capabilities (ideologically, educationally, politically, logistically and operationally). Rather than retreating toward the 1949 Green Lines, Israel should take charge of the breeding ground and the home-base of terrorism, which would enhance Israel's power of deterrence, human-intelligence and interception capabilities. It would reduce Palestinian capabilities to conduct hate-education, to incite, to recruit, to train, to manufacture and smuggle terrorist and military hardware, to plan, to maneuver and to perpetrate terrorist activities. Thus, it would chop Palestinian terrorism by 90%!

    Rather than defend against Palestinian terrorists, Israel should decimate the potential and actual capabilities of Palestinian terrorists.

    Will Israel’s military operations in Gaza constitute another derivative of the suicidal Oslo State Of Mind, or will it be a milestone on the road to reclaim the pre-Oslo Israeli posture as the role-model of deterrence, defiance of odds, determination, gumption and counter-terrorism, which paved the road to the 1948 Declaration of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, the 1976 Entebbe Jonathan Operation and the 1981 bombing of Saddam’s nuclear reactor?



    Judaism and Memory in a World of Forgetting

    by Eugene Narrett, Ph.D.



    In his great novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Czech writer Milan Kundera meditates on the problem of modern times via a memorable metaphoric question: "can a nation cross a desert of organized forgetting" and survive? No, it cannot.


    Those with some Scripture know that the metaphor is borrowed from the history of the Jewish people and the holy days of Pesach that celebrate their liberation. In the unified way of life that is Judaism, liberation and remembering are inseparable. The problem of the West is that it is in flight from its past, the Jewish root it appropriated only to despise, and thus lusts for the future, for the green light at the end of the dock, for the fantasy image, the digitalized virtual ‘reality’ not the living presence of life simple and abundant. "But the future is empty, a void" Kundera notes correctly. It does not, cannot, will not exist without a present firmly rooted in remembrance of the past, -- the essence of identity.


    A sense of history and, thus, of firmly rooted identity is unique to and distinctive of Judaism, when it is healthy. The very essence of the Eternal One's faithfulness and love is that “He eternally remembers His covenant” that He made with the forefathers of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “This is My Name forever, and this is My remembrance from generation to generation” he instructs Moshe (Exodus 3:15; 2:23-5). “I have remembered My covenant…and I shall bring you to the Land about which I raised My hand to give it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and I shall give it to you as a heritage,” the place of your freedom and service (ibid 6:5-8). Even after the most terrible traumas and fallings away He states, “I will remember My covenant with Abraham, and My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Jacob I will remember, -- and I will remember the Land.” This remembrance is the very name and essence of the Eternal One as attested in the first prayer of Israel’s daily liturgy: “Blessed art Thou, G-d… Who remembers the kindnesses of our forefathers.” A similar weight is put on the commandment to “remember Amalek” (Exodus 17; Deut. 26; 1 Samuel 15) who attacked Israel as it journeyed away from the Reed Sea and Egypt toward Sinai. Maimonides, the Rambam directly links the commands to remember and never forget the attack of Amalek to the commandments to wipe them out and rebuild the Temple.


    Freedom and remembrance, dedication and identity...


    The emphasis that Judaism puts on remembrance as the foundation of being, -- of identity, love, right living in every phase of life -- is shown in its many key words for remembering. Chief among these are zakhor (as in “zakhor et Amalek”) and as in G-d's Name itself, "l'Zakher Kadsho" (Psalm 96, and see the Zohar on portion Vayakel in referencing Malachi 3:16 and “the book of remembrance”) which “is the Name of the Holy One and place of the covenant.” There is also shomer, to guard, observe, keep, watch and protect: it can be practical ethics as in “observance” or in a military sense; Judaism connects them and relates them to the sacred testimony that the Sabbath gives to the Creator, His works and ways. The shomrim l'boker are the watchman on the walls at night and in the night of time, “from the depths” of times like these, alert for enemies and watching for the dawn of redemption (cf. psalm 130) and the Moshe of our generation, those who keep faith and hope alive by literally standing on the ramparts of the nation. There is also pakod, to reckon, count, make an accounting, set in order, or give an order. It means Torah commandments, specifically those pertaining to the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and all its holy implements and the garments of the Kohanim and high Priest. Critically, it is the root used in the code of remembrance that Joseph teaches his brothers (Genesis 50), pakod yifkod (“He will surely remember you”) that the Eternal One teaches Moshe to announce to the Children of Israel pakod pakadti etkhem (“I have surely remembered you,” Exodus 3:16).


    The powers and interests that rule the world East and West want to destroy Israel for many reasons and have attempted and continue to attempt to do this in brutal synchronicity. As they gather against and war over Jerusalem (Zechariah 12-14; Zohar 32a on Exodus, portion Vaeira) it becomes more and more clear that the war against the Jews is a war on remembrance as the essence of genuine freedom, continuity, honor and faith which is buried by “security measures” as well as bombers. The bonds of the generations that the Modern West has done so many things to trivialize, damage and break reflects its war on Judaism and the Jews, -- and its suicidal tendencies.


    Remembrance, the sages emphasize is the foundation in holiness, yesod haTiferet, holiness in and through the generations that Esau and Ishmael each in their way corrupt and destroy, the way of peace and joy in a world lost and lusting for war and terror (ibid 200, 203b), lost in pursuit “of the fantasies of its own heart (Proverbs 18:2); and so the earth fills with Hamas (Genesis 6:1-13). 

    The bonds between the generations and the intertwining of grace-education (chinuch from chein the root of Chanukah, “dedication,” also intrinsic to freedom and remembrance) with freedom and memory are at the heart of Passover when fathers are commanded to teach their children the story of metzias Mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt as the primary manifestation of the Eternal One's faithfulness, remembrance, and desire for ordered liberty, dignity and responsibility as the human state of freedom with teaching and grace through the generations entwining it in a threefold cord.

    But the modern world wants to go “beyond freedom and dignity.” Their progressive cult is profoundly regressive, a dead-end street, a lust for chaos and the abyss.


    As this Passover approaches it looks very dark, for “the earth has become full of the habitations of Hamas” (psalm 74:20), thanks to the rage of jihad and machinations of the western powers and their clients. All the more is it a time to be mindful that remembrance is the essential weapon and health in the struggle with everything at war with the humanity in man that recognizes the Eternity and design of our world for abundance, grace and the dominion of Israel in its entire land. Then “the world will yield its produce…” (Psalm 67, the psalm engraved on the Menorah, Israel’s symbol and witness to the Creator’s gift of true freedom).