Explaining Israel and Seeking Peace in the Middle East
How can we explain and justify Israel to our gentile friends, and what is the solution to peace with the Arabs in the Middle East?
Rabbi Ari Shvat answered:
The Tanach, Chazal, history, and logic show that it’s unwise and immoral to give in to a violent person, nation, or religion. Instead, one should defend oneself when attacked and, whenever possible, preempt and prevent the attack before it’s staged (“Whoever comes to kill you, preempt and kill him,” Sanhedrin 72a). This approach benefits the victim, society, and, as the Rambam adds, even the aggressor (Moreh Nevuchim 3, 35). Evil people don’t have many friends, happy marriages, good relationships with their children, or any at all.
In addition, decisions should be based on truth and justice. Who has the right to the Land of Israel? Most of the world accepts the Tanach, which explicitly promises Israel to the Nation of Israel. Even the Quran itself (7, 137) states: “הענקנו בירושה לעם שחשב עצמו כחלש את הארץ אשר ברכנו אותה, את מזרחה ואת מערבה, באופן שאלוהים מילא בצורה מושלמת את דברו הטוב על בני ישראל, עקב האריכם רוחם.”
Historically and politically, whether one determines land ownership by who was there first (the Jews were in Israel 2,000 years before Islam even began) or by the current modern situation, the rights to Israel belong to the Jews. What logic is there in focusing solely on that temporary middle period when the Jews were forcibly exiled from our land before 1948? Since Yehoshua 3300 years ago, there have always been Jews in Israel. Even though there were also some Arabs over the last 1400 years, they never had a state here. They lived, like the Jews, as individuals and tribes, as opposed to Israel, which had a 1st, a 2nd, and now the 3rd Commonwealth and independent state.
Regarding a solution, the original and best plan for both Arabs and Jews was that of Montefiore, Baron Rothschild, and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) – to buy the land “acre after acre, dunam by dunam.” This approach fulfills the covenant of God with Avraham, Yitzchak & Yaacov to inherit the Land of Israel peacefully, benefiting both sides. What ruined the plan was when the Arabs in the early 1920s issued a “death penalty” on any Arab selling land to Jews. This racist and immoral vigilante “penalty” stands to this very day.
Even though most Arabs would be more than happy to be instant millionaires (the price is exorbitant because the Israelis really want to buy it at any price), move to a quieter country, and solve the Middle East problems, they can’t do so because of those Islamic fanatics who would kill their own brothers. There are thousands of acres left empty because they are too close to Jewish lands and pose a security risk due to the aforementioned terror towards Jews. However, the unfortunate Arabs can’t sell us the land for fear of their own brothers’ fanaticism.
Just as Islamic terror is a worldwide problem, even in Arab countries, it is in Israel as well. Only a Jew-hater would stubbornly differentiate and blame the democratic, peace-loving victim rather than the fanatic Muslim aggressors. The maps have changed several times over the last 75 years because the Arabs have tried several times to push Israel into the sea belligerently. Our only “sin” is that we successfully defend ourselves with the abundant help of the God of Israel.
I think that anyone objective, who believes in freedom and democracy and opposes terrorism and racism, realizes, especially after the Hamas attack, who is the problematic party in the Middle East and the obstacle to peace, as opposed to who is the victim and what is the mutually beneficial solution. By the way, if your friend doesn’t understand this, don’t waste any more time on him, as you don’t stand “an ice cube’s chance in hell” of changing his anti-Semitic leanings unless he’s Jewish. Eventually, there’s a good chance that logic may register even if he’s been brainwashed by the non-objective, anti-Semitic press.
With the Love of Israel,
Rabbi Ari Shvat (Chwat)