Sunday, 29 May 2016

Is Peace possible with the Arabs?

The Rebbe’s letter, reply dated 25th Teves 5729 [1969]:

To the pupils of Kfar Noar-Be-er Yaakov, the Holy Land 
Peace and Blessing,.... 

With reference to your second question regarding peace: True peace can only be achieved when based on the good-will of both sides. I do not see any cause or reason why Arabs neighboring our Holy Land would make true peace. This would necessarily have to embody, from their position, an absolute relinquishing of territories conquered of late and certainly those conquered twenty years ago. Additionally, their agreement that the Jewish People have all rights to live there without any exploitation whatsoever. 

From a different point of view, the situation of lack of peace holds for the Arabs all benefits. And more; they are able to come with demands for assistance from many world powers beyond this immediate location by creating competition between one world power and a second – which power is of greater value to a specific ruling Arab country bringing a foreign power to increase her assistance and contributions etc. None of this would be happening should the pressure in the area be nullified and matters settled and should life enter upon a normal path. 

Additionally, and perhaps even more significantly, many Western powers, specifically the greatest world powers are actually interested that there should be stress and pressure and a break down of relationships between [Arab] nations because such a situation opens up the door to their gaining influence and even control in the area by offering assistance to one or other of the sides. Should there be a situation of peaceful relations between nations in the Middle East working together, there would be a reduction of any possibility of a foreign power having control and will even bring about a reduction of her influence. 

Having said that, it is obvious that no Jewish man or woman give up hope G-d forbid for peace, because the very existence of the Jewish People throughout the ages and her very presence now in our Holy Land is absolutely beyond the natural. According to all economic and political view-points, in terms of quantity, such a small and weak nation could not exist. Specifically it should be impossible for her to hold her standing as we see now, positioned at the central point of clashing interests amongst world powers; that Israel is located at the cross-roads of several continents and most powerful land masses of the international arena. 

It is incredulous that throughout history going back even to ancient times, that this area of land was one of ferment and strife between all nations and kingdoms who were the world powers each in their time: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Rome etc. The Jewish nation never ever had the benefit of peace and tranquility only with the exception of some years and relatively short periods of time when the Jewish People were true to G-d and walked in the ways of G-d, the path of the Torah and His Commandments, as in the days of King David and King Solomon. 

1581 World Map showing the Land of Israel as the Center of the World
Since the Land of Israel is the Land where the Eyes of G-d gaze upon it from the beginning of the year ‘till the end of the year; that most certainly the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. As until now, so going forward, He will guard His nation Israel from all pain and distress. The more the foundation of survival of the Jewish nation will be fortified – a ONE unique nation in the Land – the path of life for each day according to the instructions of the One Torah for all of us, given by the One G-d. In accordance with this, the security in our Holy Land will increase, leading to the fulfillment of the Divine Promise “And you will dwell securely in your Land, and I will give peace in your Land, and you will lie down without fear”. 

This is the specific role of the youth who are not afraid of hearing the straight truth, who do not search for compromise, that G-d’s power stands by them, and have no shame from those that ridicule, or what will the nations say, they will be the pioneers who step forth in front of the Jewish People wherever they may be, both in Israel and outside of Israel, to walk in the path of G-d and His Torah, to walk in security. Blessings and success in going from strength to strength on the path of Torah, the Torah of life, and Commandments of which is written “And you should live by them. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Iron and Copper shall be your locks.

  The verse ‘Iron and copper shall be your locks’ is followed by ‘As in the days of your youth, so shall be your days of your old age’. Rashi, the major Torah commentator, offers two interpretations: [1] As the days of your youth are good and illuminated, so too will be the days of your old age, which would normally be weakening and stumbling, will also be illuminated days. [2] As long as you will conduct yourselves as is the Will of G-d, all nations will pour their gold and silver into the Land of Israel. Their wealth resources will be emptied and bequeathed to Israel. In this interpretation Rashi brings the word in Old French– ‘Ashkelon’e, meaning, that they will pour out.

Walls of Jerusalem

When Jewish People follow the Will of G-d, gold will not be transferred in small increments, but will be poured out! The implications of this insight are absolutely clear: If you will follow the Will of G-d, the Code of Jewish Law, that when a nation will make its approach even for no more than for fodder for their animals, take an armed stand and do not allow them to enter. Then you will be assured [since you have fulfilled the verse ‘iron and copper [your strong ones] are your locks’ on the borders], that the days of your old age will have the fortitude and strength of your youth [first insight], and gold and silver will pour into Israel from all lands [second insight]. 

These blessings are dependent on guarding Israel! As Rashi comments: ‘Now the verse speaks of all Israel: that their strong ones should inhabit the border cities so that the enemy not enter her. A small child may ask: ’Even if we inhabit the borders, how will the open areas between the border cities be protected?’ When he will grow up he will understand that when they will stand guard with weapons [as Jewish Law commands] those areas will be protected. And if they [the weak minded] will say we have no choice, if we need to stand guard with weapons, we need money to make these purchases, and this money come from the Nations. 

This issue is also clarified by Torah. If we observe the Will of the Almighty, we will receive the funding. If there are some that will find a better interpretation in Rashi, I have no interest in taking up this argument with them. But now that we have reached a situation of a serious threat to Jewish life, we must shout until they get the message! The choice is not ‘of receiving peace by giving away land’, but ‘of getting a bit of paper for giving away land!’ 

No investigations or discoveries of what is going on behind closed doors are necessary to realize that this last year since their signing [which they call the ‘Peace Agreement’] there were many attacks [and Jewish people killed]. Since the Six Day War there has never been a year so full of attacks as this year!

Egypt has again and again negated the peace agreement; Israel is full of regrets. Admit your mistake in signing! You Israel have eaten enough stinking fish and taken sufficient whippings. The time to follow the word of G-d has arrived! As of now, stop giving! Take back what has been given! Clearly this path will bring no harm, only help, because thereby you will be walking with the power of G-d who has promised that your days will be like those of your youth. And speedily, we will arrive at the end– the true and full redemption through Moshiach our righteous one, immediately!  

Public talk 13 Tishrei, 1980

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Rebbe speaks to Mr. Moshe Katzav, Yud Shvat 1992

 When Mr. Moshe Katzav was introduced, the Rebbe shook his hand (and continued to hold on to his hand throughout the their talk) and blessed him: that he should merit in his role to gather in The People of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Holy One may He be blessed, that these three never be broken apart.

The Rebbe continued: “Of late I have heard a strange and shocking rumor regarding the negotiations and decisions of the government in Eretz Israel about conceding portions of land in Eretz Israel. Actually they are at present negotiating a five year program which they refer to as autonomy. However, it does not matter in which language this is couched and how they explain it away because the reality is that these words and discussion of these matters fall within the explicit prohibition of “Lo Tichoneim”– that it is forbidden to relinquish any portion of Eretz Israel to the nations of the world! These words will ultimately lead to actually giving away of portions of Eretz Israel. Merely talking on this issue constitutes a denial of G-d, of His Torah, of Eretz Israel and of the Holiness of Eretz Israel. These talks regarding a program of autonomy constitute the first step to giving away portions of Eretz Israel and not just of small areas but of major areas such as Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Hebron, and Jerusalem, etc. This is a severe threat to Jewish Life! As we have stated, it is irrelevant what the Jewish People think, say or how they explain it. What matters is how the Nations interpret this. Their interpretation is that this is a framework of negotiations to ultimately relinquish areas of Eretz Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

You understand Arabic; so ask the Arabs who live there and you will see for yourself that their intention in their negotiations of autonomy in five years in fact means that they are being given portions of Eretz Israel to set up a Palestinian State. It is irrelevant how the Jewish People explain this, because the main point is how the nations regard this.

The mere speaking of a program of autonomy is a desecration of G-d, and a desecration of Holiness. If there are in Eretz Israel Jews who are non-observant of Torah and Mitzvot, this is relevant to them on a personal level. But in this instance we are talking of the government of Israel declaring open warfare against G-d and His Torah!”

“Regarding their explanation, that what is under discussion is merely (Arab) self-determination– their education, farming, etc., but not foreign affairs or security; this is no more than a test case– this is diplomatic terminology. In our instance, we are not discussing diplomacy but talks, may G-d save us, of relinquishing parts of Eretz Israel. These negotiations constitute a desecration of G-d’s Name, opposing G-d and His Torah, and therefore there is no difference whichever sweet diplomatic terminology Jews use. They say that there is at present an Aliyah from Russia; they need US government guarantees etc. and that is why they take note of US government statements; in reality this constitutes the first step in relinquishing portions of Eretz Israel. The proof being that they themselves say that the reason for them doing so is because they are intimidated by the Nations and they are under pressure. So when there will be further pressure, they will be further intimidated by the world community with no end in sight, as we actually saw in the past that when they surrendered and gave in to pressure. This brought on even more pressure.

Mr. Katzav said this past year there was a letter from President George Bush stating that he is opposed to a Palestinian State and this year he wrote merely that he is not in favor of a Palestinian State, so we see here a change. 

The Rebbe: “We hereby see in which direction this change is moving. It is inconceivable that a Jew who believes in G-d and His Torah can be G-d forbid, a partner to such matters and offer his signature to this. It would be advisable that the government be dissolved– there be no Jewish government because such programs are only discussed because of international pressure (as they themselves have said). This being the case, it would be preferable to set up, may G-d save us, an International Government in Eretz Israel and that this body decide what to do with Eretz Israel. Thereby there would at least be no Jewish signatures!

You surely know Mr. Menachem Begin initially was not in agreement with the Camp David, and stood strongly against it. But finally he began to compromise, and according to what one hears, still today regrets his compromise on a part of Eretz Israel. Were it Jews who have no faith in G-d, who had done this it could have been be understood. But men who do believe in G-d who put their signature to relinquishing portions of Eretz Israel, this is a desecration of the Name of G-d.

Shamir does believe in G-d and the Sanctity of Eretz Israel, therefore it is incomprehensible that he specifically is in agreement to a program of relinquishing portions of Eretz Israel. The security of Eretz Israel is from the One G-d. If they will conduct themselves appropriately with all the expected strength then there would be nothing to fear regarding the security of Eretz Israel. Now they are speaking only of five years because they are afraid to tell the truth that they want to relinquish portions of Eretz Israel, but in my estimation Shamir himself knows of their intentions better than I do. Shamir has much merit regarding Eretz Israel, beginning from the time of the Irgun when nations ruled over Eretz Israel. Shamir battled against them. Now he is the one who is negotiating giving away portions of Eretz Israel! In my opinion it is imperative that Shamir immediately nullifies the decision and negotiations regarding autonomy. 

I consistently battled that there be a government headed by Shamir. Just as I did all that was within my power to establish a government with Shamir as Prime Minister; if they will continue talks in this direction then I, Menachem Mendel will be the first to battle with all power and with all my strength against Shamir that the government should be brought down! 

Until today it was only Mr. Shimon Peres against Shamir’s government. If Shamir will continue in this direction on talks of autonomy I also will be against Shamir’s government. If Shamir cannot withstand world pressure, let him announce this publicly that he cannot stand up to world pressure and he can no longer remain Prime Minister! About the “Shamir”, as I have spoken many times before, it is written – that it (the Shamir) can split a rock. Shamir should place a Shamir with all his strength against decisions to discuss relinquishing portions of Eretz Israel and then all decisions and thoughts on this matter will be split and totally nullified.”

Mr. Moshe Katzav: “It was the Rebbe Shlita who set up the present government and we wish for the bracha of the Rebbe to continue to bring holiness into the government.” 

The Rebbe Shlita: “When Shamir will draw holiness into Eretz Israel, then this will give him the strength to withstand pressures.” 

M. Moshe Katzav: “Shamir will surely remain strong.”  

The Rebbe Shlita: “Up till now he was strong. Now it is imperative that he immediately severs all talks on autonomy. Certainly you will carry this message to Mr. Shamir and not be annoyed that I have given you an uncomfortable mission. Convey this with all the power with which I spoke. Forgive me that I have spoken so strongly, but if the truth were to be told, much more should have been spoken on the subject, but now is not the time for extensive talks. Please G-d you should have good news to tell and we will only speak of the holiness of Eretz Israel and of the Jewish People. Good news.”

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Rebbe on cease-fires with the enemy

I asked the Rebbe about his strong opposition to the ceasefire agreed by the government of Israel with Egypt. I made use of the well known argument of the Rebbe, that on the subject of conversion, the decision should be exclusively in the hands of Rabbis; I said to the Rebbe that the non-religious also have a contention - that in matters of cease-fire, whether to agree to such or not, the decision should be in the hands of military personnel or politicians who are occupied with matters of state, not by Rabbis…

The Rebbe answered me, that as far as he knows, the opinion of the military is being withheld from most of the political echelons, because if they would truly know the views of the military, never would they be in agreement given the situation that the Egyptians are advancing their missiles and the Israel government is not giving the Israel Defence Force the order to respond.   

The Rebbe disclosed to me a certain military detail requesting of me to guard this a close secret…... this was in connection to a recommendation of a response to [the Egyptian] missile systems being moved forward into the Sinai. I kept my promise to the Rebbe and indeed kept the matter spoken of a deep secret. Years went by and I did not disclose the matter spoken of to anyone. During the course of passing years the pivotal points flew from my memory. However, what I do remember was, that this discussion took place shortly after an Israel minister disclosed to the Rebbe of a sharp difference of opinion how to respond [to this Egyptian activities]. The Rebbe revealed to me a specific line of response, yet was exceptionally careful with his words to me. Thereafter it became clear that all of the visions of the Rebbe - to our pain - became 100% the reality. More than this I cannot, neither am I permitted to tell……

I asked the Rebbe if he is aware that a major investigation is taking place against the Rebbe in Israel because of his words against the cease-fire. The Rebbe told me that he is unperturbed by these investigation taking place, because one who knows of great danger [to life] is forbidden to remain silent. The danger which has been created by the Israel government’s agreement to a cease-fire with Egypt is extreme, which will G-d forbid, lead to war.

In this connection, the Rebbe spoke to me regarding returning territories; that not only do military experts in Israel see the danger, but the Rebbe has first hand information that American military experts are of the opinion that it is forbidden for Israel to return territories conquered in the Six Day War.

The Rebbe told me that he is trying to find some sort of advocacy for those who agreed to the cease-fire but could find just one merit: that these are ministers who regard the Six Day as if forced upon them as opposed to entering the war out of military necessity, only wishing to find favor in the eyes of foreign nations; that in their eyes there is only one way forward for Israel, - to surrender to the world community……

I asked if the Rebbe is absolutely opposed to peace talks. The Rebbe replied that an agreement to hold talks with the Arabs either directly or via an intermediary need not necessarily be tied to a cease-fire. There were wars between other nations that negotiations were not held under conditions of cease-fire agreements; to the contrary, such talks are an invitation for renewed war. When the Egyptians every day are increasing their weaponry and missiles, Israel must not only act in defense but must attack for purposes of defense…..

The Rebbe repeated himself with emotion, that this cease-fire agreement is a disaster, because all signs he has in hand show that Egypt is preparing for war.         
“Why do leaders [in Israel] not learn a lesson” - asked the Rebbe - “from the results of the retreats of 1948 and 1956?! Why don’t they understand that it is forbidden to agree to any retreat from the territories?!”

When I mentioned to the Rebbe the subject of international guarantees, the Rebbe replied that no intelligent person would agree to rely on promises made by the nations, certainly not of those of Egypt or the Russians, because they are only concerned with their own interests. Only after bitter let-downs of two previous occasions were these followed the Six Day War. Then the Rebbe said, that some years ago, when Israel realized the futility of reliance on foreign nation and went to war, did G-d come to their aid. At that time everyone recognized the Hand of G-d and His wonders. Even groups aligned to the left spoke openly of this. It was only the religious who held back of speaking openly of this.       

Private interview with the newspaper reporter Mr. Yona Cohen, Sunday after Shabbat Parshat Eikev, 1970.