WE NEED HEROES TODAY Let Us Be Like Maccabees
By Bernard J. Shapiro
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
December 13, 2009
The year is 70 C.E. and a young Roman legionnaire stands on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. While he watches it burn, he says to his comrades in Latin, "Judea Capta Est" (Judea is conquered).Yet like the legendary phoenix, rising from the ashes of its own destruction, Israel burst onto the world's stage 2000 years later, with the cry of a lusty infant yearning to breathe free. Five Arab armies tried to destroy that new life before it could take hold. With blood and fire, including the sacrifice of one per cent of its population (6000 of its best young people), besieged Israel secured its independence.
Just nine short years earlier, European Jewry faced its most devastating experience, the Holocaust. In the areas under Nazi occupation, the Jewish death rate was 90%. Despite revolts in dozens of camps, and heroic resistance with the partisans of free Europe, the Jews were unorganized, unarmed and ultimately became victims. During both the Holocaust and Israel's War of Independence, the world and its leaders were indifferent, if not hostile, to the fate of the Jews.
Jews in their own land, with their G-d, have great power, much more than the sum of arms and men. During Chanukah we should recall the legacy of the Maccabees. Remember how two "Hellenized Jews," Jason and Menelaus tried to destroy Judaism and force assimilation on the Jewish population. For generations we have taught our children about the evil Antiochus and his attempt to suppress the Jews. In reality, there were traitors among our own people who led the way for Antiochus.
There arose in Israel an almost similar situation when Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin led a leftwing coalition that was blatantly hostile to everything Jewish. They forced Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to go along with their nefarious schemes. They pushed through the Oslo Accords in the Knesset which surrendered the heartland of Eretz Yisrael, promised in perpetuity to Abraham and his descendants by G-d. The educational system in Israel was then revamped to eliminate the study of Jewish sources like the bible. They cultivated hatred of all things Jewish and especially religious Jews. Units of the Israel Defense Forces were recruited from the non-religious population for the sole purpose of suppressing and possibly destroying the religious villages of YESHA.
Peres, Yossi Beilin, Avraham Burg and other extreme leftists, anxious to win favor with the Arabs, much like Jason and the Greeks, planned to give away Israel's strategic assets. Territory is not important if your new god is economics. While the Israeli government renounced anything Jewish, including Holy Sites, the Arabs sought strength and comfort in a revived Islam. Nothing portrays the difference better between the Arabs and the Jews than how each views his religion. Young Arab men, promised paradise, cry "ali Akbar" (G-d is Great), then sacrifice their lives to kill Jews in one great jihad. Jewish soldiers filed to respond to the enemy, uncertain about their open-fire instructions, demoralized by a government, which lies to them about the advent of peace.
Unfortunately there seems to be no passion for Zionism in Israel today. It is true there are many good Zionists, both religious and secular. But where is the passion, the action. I hear a lot of excuses for non-action. I am told:
1. The Secret Service, the police, the IDF and the courts are too strong. They will suppress any action.
2. Building settlements is better than any other form of action.
3. We need more Jews to come on aliya to solve the problem
While all of the above are true, they are still excuses.
I have heard all of the above for 16 years. In that period Israelís political and strategic situation has declined dramatically. Its deterrence level is so low now that we are close to an existential defeat.
HOW TO RECOVER FROM THIS DEVASTATING SITUATION
1. Annex all of Eretz Yisrael from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, from the Golan to Gaza.
2. Return all JNF land to the Jewish people and allow free Jewish development without government controls. The land should be sold at fair price to Jews and the money should go into a fund for national water, environmental and park development.
3. Loyalty oath and national service for all citizens of Israel, including Arabs.
4. Change the courts, police, secret service to be pro-Jewish instead of pro-Arab
5. Fully take over the Temple Mount, ousting the Moslem quasi-rulers, but allowing peaceful Moslem prayer. Jewish prayer in all appropriate areas without restriction.
6. Turn the IDF back into a feared force in the Middle East. Create a correct Jewish ethics that protects Jewish soldiers even when terrorists operate in civilian areas. As this applies to Gaza, the Hamas terrorist state should be subject to massive artillery fire and aerial bombardment followed by invasion to totally annihilate the terrorist infrastructure.
HOW TO FORCE THE ABOVE CHANGES
1. Demonstrations -- the larger the better. Demonstrations will not in and of themselves to change government policy. Good media coverage is essential to give the population a feeling that the tide of history is turning against the regime.
2. Civil disobedience -- the key to success. There is one essential requirement for forcing a government to change policy. That is for a determined group of people willing to go to jail, be beaten by police, and possibly be killed in the pursuit of their political aims. More will follow later on organizing civil disobedience.
3. The Wrench In The Machinery Of Government
A Physical -- roads and bridges can be blocked by slow or stalled cars.
B. Electronic -- computer networks, telecommunications can be adversely affected [10,000 people calling government offices at the same time can paralyze the system].
C. Psychological -- photos can be taken of police and military personnel who become involved in violent action against peaceful demonstrators. Available now are miniature video cameras that can be worn inconspicuously and send live feed to distant computers. At a time and place of your choosing their names can be revealed - you can compromise those security officers involved in non-democratic violence against demonstrators. Their names and photos can be publicized, leading to fear and a sense of insecurity.
4. Self Defense - ONLY TO DEFEND ONE'S LIFE
A. Armed resistence to non-democratic police and military actions is not the best course of action since the military, police and security services will always be stronger and better equipped.
B. Open revolt against authority - Democracies are primarily based on voluntary compliance with the legal system. When that democracy ceases to govern in the best interests of its citizenry, with its security and survival, then it is lawful and justified to resist authority. This includes refusing to pay taxes, following illegal orders of the non-democratic army, traffic regulations etc.
C. Mass demonstrations, including the right of self-defense, are meant to intimidate the police and the government. The horrible vision of civil war will restrain the government. Knowing that the Zionist/Right will not physically resist, gives the government strength to pursue suicidal policies. The policy of not striking back at the Left (as experienced during the "season") begun in the pre-state days by Menachem Begin has had the effect of emasculating the Right in its relations with the Left.
While it is preferable to wage a non-violent campaign, there are certain lessons one can learn from the Israel Defense Forces.
1. Most important: Do not give the enemy time to rest and re-group. The IDF always advances in one massive push to victory, never allowing the enemy a respite. The same must be true of the demonstrations against Netanyahu. It is a mistake to agree to a truce. This time will be used to organize special police units including female police officers to handle demonstrators. The government has already learned that reservists do not like this heartrending undemocratic task.
2. Attack in many places at once, causing physical and psychological stress on the enemy. Demonstrators should not just take over hills in YESHA, but should take over government offices from Eilat to Metulla. Roads should be blocked all over the country. In Jerusalem, with its many government offices and a supportive religious population, you should be able to create and sustain chaos.
Half measures will not work. Either we want to save Eretz Yisrael or we don't. You can not be both meat and milk. It was the IDF's failure to destroy the intifada that led to much of our trouble. Remember the principle of vaccinations: a tiny doze of the disease that allows the body to build its immune system. Half-measures allowed the tyranny of previous Israeli govenments to crush the Zionist forces. This alloed them time to develop a resistance to the demonstrations. We must take the momentum and build continuously to the day of victory. The decision is ours.
Let us be Maccabees again. Let us go into battle with the Maccabee cry, "All who are with G-d, follow me!" With the words: "Who is like untoThee O G-d (the acronym of which spells out he word Maccabee in Hebrew) inscribed on their flags, the G-d inspired Jewish army swept the much larger enemy from the field in a great victory. It is this victory for which we celebrate Chanukah and not just the miracle of the oil burning eight days.
There is a simple but crucial lesson for us all in the above events. If we as Jews turn our backs on our religion and our G-d, we can expect disaster. The current government of Israel has brought down the wrath of G-d on the Israeli people for turning its back on our heritage. Like Judah Maccabee, angered by the treason of Jason and Menelaus, and outraged by Antiochus, we must revolt against Olmert, Livni and Barak.. The nationalist opposition in Israel must unite behind one Zionist banner. They must fill the streets and jails with protesters. City after city must be shut down.
Victory will not fall into our lap. It must be fought for and won. We must demonstrate that the strength of our will and the power of our belief can not be defeated. Don't just believe in miracles. BE THE MIRACLE. Only then will victory come.
========== Bernard J. Shapiro is the Chairman of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies www.freeman.org and the Editor of its publications.