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.