The Rabbinical Congress for Peace met with the last Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to convey their feelings and the demands of Torah concerning peace negotiations and what sacrifices if any are acceptable and how the new government after the March 17, 2015 elections needs to pursue any future deals as well as any demands from the European Union, the United States or any other outside pressures. The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP), which is comprised of around three-hundred-fifty prominent Israeli Rabbis, out of a total group of one-thousand-two-hundred Rabbis from the United States, Canada and Israel, have recently stepped up their counseling and advisories to the political class of Israel pushing for any further peace propositions, offers, stipulations, arrangements, evacuations, concessions or releases be made under the governance of Torah and traditional teachings of Judaism where peace is a highly valued and precious ideal that it is to be approached with great respect and dutifully sought after with defined and exactly defined precautions and specific stipulations distinctly defined steps, allowances and permitted sacrifices well defined in traditional Jewish texts and thought. The Rabbis most recent discussion held with the past Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was of much interest as the Rabbis stated in no uncertain terms that the next government, regardless of who is chosen to form a ruling coalition, must obey the Torah and traditional Jewish teachings are essential to guide any peace negotiations and pressed that the Rabbis themselves should be consulted before taking any steps to assure they receive their blessings and are not against the teachings. So, what are the ideas, demands, sacrifices and offers these Rabbis are demanding be made and what ones are they refusing to give their blessing for is the next question and the first thing that curiously leapt into my mind.
This was where I was pleasantly surprised as initially seeing a title of the name this groups of Rabbis gave their groups of Rabbinical Congress for Peace seemed so very close to the names of so many of the extreme leftist groups which can always find some manner of twisting the realities in order to make the Palestinians blameless in any situation while finding some twisted path for laying all blame on Israel. We have seen even Jewish and Israeli leftist peace groups, who only have peace in their names and spite in their hearts, always adopt the Palestinian narrative and rush to defend their financial interests by agreeing with every European accusation against Israel largely because the vast majority of these leftist peace groups may have many Israeli leftists members, the funding is almost entirely coming from Europe and often straight from some European government or groups of governments and possibly even from the European Union while the most extreme also have been proven to receive funding from Arab nations, Muslim groups and even from Palestinian terror groups. Yet these peace first and who would willingly sacrifice all of Israel and move to Europe or the United States if that is what their European masters demanded they force on their own country and they wonder why a majority of Israelis are so frustrated at their naiveté and mindless obedience even to demanding the surrender of their nation one piece after the other. The facts that the majority of the Rabbis of this group came from the United States and other places outside of Israel my suspicions were heightened. My initial trepidations were only heightened when I read the initial commentary from Rabbinical Congress for Peace Director Rabbi Abraham S. Lewin where he said, “When dealing with Jewish Law there is no left or right.” And then commenting the upcoming March 17, 2015 elections he stated, “When entering the polling station to vote one must consider only one thing, will your vote help to prevent the establishment of a government that will continue negotiations on further withdrawals and concessions to enemies of Israel which is a danger to life.” Imagine my relief and the big breath of air I took as I almost swooned from the shock. Finally I was reading the words I have always expected to hear from Rabbis but after hearing for too many years Rabbis at so-called peace rallies in the United States over the years since the Oslo Accords go further and further into the lands of lost minds calling for Israel to heed the wisdoms coming from Europe or from the United Nations or expounding the virtues of the most recent demands made out of the White House which called on Israel to make the sacrifices everyone knew they must make in order to prove that Israel truly desired peace. I never ceased asking at what point will it be the Palestinian turn to make some gesture for peace other than demanding more from Israel with the encouragement and full support of Europe and the United Nations.
Commenting on the pitfalls and fallacy of peace negotiations with no backing or affirmations through actions from the other side Minister of the Knesset and the former Speaker wrote, “There is no doubt in my mind that empty words like ‘negotiations’ or ‘peace agreement’ that have no backing other than preparedness by Israel to concede without getting anything in return is futile.” He continued pointing out that, “certainly, from a strategic point of view such declarations can weaken our position against terror elements and extreme Islamists who refuse to accept our presence here as a sovereign nation.” This coming from a Likud member should not be as surprising at it still managed to appear to this writer. Perhaps I have become too jaundiced in my expectations after the slides taken by all so many former Likud ministers and even a Prime Minister who formed his own political party, Kadima, in order to execute his nightmare we all know as the Gaza disengagement. Then there is another former Likud Minister who also joined Kadima and then formed her own party, Hatnua, so she would head the ticket and finally be crowned Prime Minister as she obviously feels she is destined for leading Israel and reaching that magical deal making peace with the Palestinians. I have wondered if her great plan will leave Israel with more than just North Tel Aviv along the coast to Netanya. Now she has completed her slide and is running teamed with Labor and frighteningly enough, if the polls are accurate and hold their current numbers, she just might get her shot after all.
There are other former Likud politicians who have left and either joined other parties or founded their own party and usually these defecting ministers make comments such as the Likud has lost its soul and no longer cares for the little guy. What they mean when saying such drivel is that they plan to run their campaign totally on economic matters and will only talk about raising minimum wage, creating jobs, lowering the price of cottage cheese, cares, and whatever else and that they understand the sacrifices and difficulties the middle class are facing and they will do what is necessary to appreciate the difficulties of the middle class and help the poor allowing them a better life. These ministers do not know what it is like to be middle class, let alone living on a pension, and are not concerned about anything other than garnering votes on the cheap. The first rule is that the government does not create jobs as the government does not create anything, the government takes and takes and anything it ever gives to anybody it must first take that from somebody else. The government cannot create jobs in the private sector, it can only get in the way and make that more difficult. Next time one of these holier than thou makes the promise that if their party is controlling the next Knesset they will do whatever it takes to create jobs, ask them exactly what they plan to do to create jobs. If they answer anything other than remove regulations and lower corporate taxes and reduce the roll of unions, then they are lying about creating anything but their own election because whatever government does to create anything only creates paperwork and the necessity to waste time, efforts and money on meeting whatever plan the government had for creating jobs which will result in less job creation. Simply look at it logically. If the government makes some rule to create more jobs then they also have to make some reporting agency requirement to track and record these jobs in order to prove they exist which means that any employer who after these rules and regulations are enacted now needs to fill out gobs of paperwork, possibly arrange for inspections to verify the claims on the paperwork, must also fill out more forms denoting that the new hires received the appropriate salary, hours, insurance and other stipulation required by the regulations and then establish the inspections to prove these claims are true if deemed necessary. Now, if you ran a factory and needed to hire a dozen new workers for a new production line and because of these requirements on new hires in order to permit the politician who made the grand promises about jobs to have the proof that these jobs were his doing, which they very likely were not, then after taking the time and effort and investing the money to have people research the requirements and do everything to make sure beyond any doubt that all the correct forms and papers were filled out correctly and returned to the correct agency in the government, then how many new hires will this employer now hire for his new line and how many employees he already has on payroll will he simply transfer from other positions to make up the remainder of the positions when he can no longer afford to hire the entire dozen people after losing so much time and money meeting the government requirements and assuring he met the regulations before hiring even one new worker. Government does not create jobs, only unfetter businesses make jobs.
Back to the Rabbinical Congress for Peace and what they stand for and how they reached their positions. These Rabbis reached their decisions the best way possible, they sought guidance from the Torah and other writings of scholars, Prophets and Rabbis through the ages. Rabbinical Congress for Peace Chairman Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky wrote that the precept of Jewish law stated in the formative legal text Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 329), states that surrendering land increases danger to human life, thus he is advising Israel to adopt this Jewish law as the state’s guideline for peace and security. He further wished to have any future government officially state it will refrain from negotiations suggesting future withdrawals of lands by Jewish residents. Returning to Rabbinical Congress for Peace Director Rabbi Abraham S. Lewin who stated, “We will bring this basic principle to the attention of every Jew in Israel and pray that the future government will be a stronger government that will follow the instructions of the Torah; thereby we will merit the promise in the Torah ‘I will grant peace in the land.’” Researching the past rulings and commentary from the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, I found some astonishing and astounding statements and other findings which were such music to my ears and a melody for my soul. It was noted that they base their philosophy upon Jewish law, or Halacha, and much of it on the most authoritative text on contemporary Jewish law: the Shulchan Aruch. They quote particularly the passages and rules in the Orach Chaim (329:6), the section dealing primarily with the laws of the Sabbath and festivals; the Shulchan Aruch tackles the question of whether Jewish communities which find themselves under siege or attack on the Sabbath can violate the holy day to wage war. The ruling states that “If the assailants, attackers intent was financial gain, the Shabbat (Sabbath) laws should not be violated because of the attack. On the other hand, it continues; if their intent was against Jewish lives, or if they lay siege without any stated intention, or if there is a sense that they are coming for Jewish lives, then even before they come – and are only mobilizing themselves – it is a mitzvah (Torah commandment) to go out and attack them with weapons of war and violate the Shabbat laws. These requirements have to do with every inch of lands which are part of the Jewish state or even if the lands in question are part of the promised Jewish state by international treaties. Much of this and the rest of these Rabbis teachings and arguments have as their crucial tenet that the concept of pikuach nefesh: that preserving lives takes precedence over nearly all other commandments of the Torah – including the Sabbath. The sanctity of life outweighs all other consideration and if an act will by its consequence jeopardize a single life, then that act is an abomination and thus is an act against the whole of the Jewish nation. Rabbi Lewin explains that this ruling is fundamentally important because it clearly categorizes the surrendering of land or even property to enemies as by definition pikuach nefesh; something which endangers lives and is thus forbidden by the Torah.
So often it has been stated that the Rabbis and Torah do not have any place when it comes to politics in this modern age. Where with all too many Rabbis I might tend to agree, but that is solely due to the fact that the Rabbis whom I have known that I would feel uncomfortable in having them even act as advisors to people in the government is largely due to their pursuit of items not found in Torah but instead found in the precepts of liberalism and socialism which they misappropriate as being those pursuits which will repair the world and fulfill tikkun olam. These Rabbis had adopted the leftist mantras by which they had mixed a warped combination of politically correct standards with various amounts of ecological fanaticism and animal rights even to the point of claiming that only free range animals can be raised for food no matter what that would do to the supply and thus the price (most of these Rabbis were vegans and thus were not concerned with the price of meat) additionally including gender sensitive issues such as promoting acceptance and even supporting of same sex marriage, understanding of gender identity disorder (also called gender confusion), socialist collectivism, livable wage, wealth redistribution, affirmative action, racial sensitivity and a good measure of Western guilt which they claimed demanded that the industrialized Western world was obligated to make up for the sins of the past due to colonialism as well as the vandalism caused by the theft of the natural resources of the third world nations by which they inferred that the industrialized nations stole the natural resources which led to these nations being poor in the current age and that such poverty was almost exclusively due to the sins of the wealthier nations. The anti-wealth concepts of these Rabbis were simply frightening and they apparently never thought their concepts for elimination of poverty through to their inevitable ends. They would sermonize that those with wealth were to be held responsible for caring for those who were mired in poverty. They were referring to those people in the United States who lived below the poverty level being given the ‘excess’ wealth of the top ten percent or even twenty or thirty percent, whatever amount it would take until those at the lowest end of the scales of wealth were brought up to a level on par with the middle class. Never mind that most of those who qualify as poor in the United States, outside of those homeless and those unable to care for themselves who would be cared for in a hospital for the most severely mentally handicapped had the sanitariums not been driven out of business by the latest concepts that the people in such state run institutions would be better cared for as out-patients and pressed to live within society. Never mind that this resulted in many of these people who found themselves tuned out on the street never bothered to check in and receive, let alone take, their medications and too many fell through the cracks in a system not ready to care for or even account for these unfortunate people who truly required help, not to be guinea pigs in some grand social experiment gone horribly wrong. Further, if we were to honestly take from those who are part of the most wealthy and redistributed their excess monies to those who are truly needy and are at the lowest end of the financial world, we would be taking the welfare paid to the poorest Americans and sending it to somewhere in Africa, Asia or South America as almost every last American is wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of many throughout the world where true poverty exists and exists in great numbers. Many of these Rabbis misused Torah as a tool to expound on the leftist, socialist and even communist theories and often taught from their positions things which are not only not found in Torah but things which were totally against the teachings of Torah which was very disheartening to me and I am sure numerous others.
The fact that the Rabbinical Congress for Peace use Torah and its teachings about the obligations the Jewish people have to settle the lands as best as we are able and defend that land, not give it away as if it was not precious and belonging to the L0rd and we are simply those given to be the caretakers who will live with abundance from these lands permitting that we serve the L0rd and obey Torah learning to treat every man honestly and as kindly as we would wish to be treated unless that man proves to be working to destroy the Jewish people or defile the lands which belong to Hashem. If only the Rabbinical Congress for Peace were to expound on the need at this point for the Arabs to start to make concessions and sacrifice for every time they do not negotiate honestly. That is the practice whose time had come. No longer can Israel continue to backpedal eventually leading to our walking to Gibraltar across the Mediterranean Sea. The Jews of Israel must put an end to this constant flood of accusations against our people, our lands, and our destiny to liberate the lands granted us by the San Remo Conference and originally declared as our land to care for in the name of Hashem and not to fritter away our birthrights. The Arabs continuously demand that we return to the lands from where we came, to what they claim are our traditional lands. Well, it is time to exclaim to the world that we have the original deed that was filed with Hashem and is registered in Torah and we are not going to negotiate a single inch of it away and as long as the Arabs residing here accept the rulings of the San Remo Conference which calls for their being autonomous having the rights to own and till their farmlands, work their businesses and worship as they please but were not guaranteed any political rights as those were reserved for the Jewish people alone and as such they can grant such rights to others as they prove not to be a threat to the supremacy politically of the Jewish people on these lands. That is the international law as it was written in 1920 in San Remo, Italy and signed by the allied powers that had defeated the Ottoman Empire. These same victors not only drew up new borders and formed new nations in the Middle East but also did the same in Eastern Europe. All the Jewish People desire is to have their one sliver of land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and in exchange the Jewish people will continue to make great strides in numerous fields and share the bounties and advantages of their inventions and in exchange they ask simply for their rightful lands and t to be left in peace and they will not break that peace as long and the rest of the universe does not attack our lands and simply permits them their peace, nothing more, just peace.
Beyond the Cusp