November 19, 2013
Sholom Ber Crombie in #903, Crossroads, shleimus ha'Aretz

During the week when the United States showed a glimmer of sanity as it decided not to support the agreement designed to give carte blanche to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, voices were heard in Eretz Yisroel, of all places, calling for cooperation on the division of Yerushalayim. Furthermore, it was specifically the ultra-Orthodox Knesset Members who seemed to forget that the Torah has something to say on this issue as well.

What would have happened if the United States of America hadn’t decided at the last minute to reject the proposed agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran? What would the government of Israel have done? Would it have accepted the established fact of a nuclear Iran? Let’s put the question another way: Is there someone so naïve to think that America will protect the residents of Eretz HaKodesh when its own government is abandoning them?

Last week’s headlines opened with the media storm surrounding the proposed agreement between the United States and Iran. According to the proposal, economic sanctions against the Iranians would be lifted in return for assurances that its uranium development program would be used for solely peaceful purposes. This agreement was about the most pathetic thing that could possibly happen here. The result would have been considerable funds flowing to this radical Islamic regime, along with an uninterrupted supply of weapons for the nuclear arms race. This was meant to be the final nail in the coffin burying the rationality of the Obama-Kerry association, which has sought to turn the Middle East into their own world vision of a little “neighborhood of make believe.”

This time, at least we’re hearing a clear position on the Israeli side. Once again, we see proof that when the leaders in Eretz Yisroel take an unyielding stance, they succeed in awakening what little sanity the Americans have left. The Obama regime was shocked by the firm reaction of the government of Israel, and at the last moment, the Americans refused to sign this ridiculous agreement with Iran. In essence, this represents a classic example of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, although no one seemed to notice it at the time. The United States wanted to follow this suicidal path with full force, but the Israelis’ well-defined and unambiguously stated opinion has changed the Americans’ tune. Instead of capitulating to the Iranians and their radical leaders, the U.S. now demands a halt to their nuclear arms program.

This is not the first time that America has tried to straighten out regional disputes in the Middle East by offering unpredictable cosmetic solutions, lasting only a few days and putting Eretz Yisroel’s security into a tailspin. The difference this time was not the Americans, but the Israelis. Now, let’s imagine what would happen if other issues regarding U.S.-Israeli relations followed the same course. For example, take the most pressing issue: the nature of the relations between successive Israeli governments and the PLO terror organization. What would have been so terrible if the government of Israel had proclaimed that it is unwilling to negotiate with those who call for its destruction – just as it said on the Iranian issue?


The commonly accepted view in Eretz Yisroel is that the Israeli establishment needs the Americans, and therefore, it is forbidden ch”v to anger them, lest they pull the plug on military assistance to the Israel Defense Forces. The truth is that while the U.S. assistance is very important, it is primarily a matter of American interests. 

In numerous discussions with Israeli policymakers and other government officials, the Rebbe asked them to change their perception of the Americans as people who are doing the Israelis a favor by maintaining Eretz Yisroel as its closest ally in the Middle East. The Rebbe explained logically that above all, this is a matter of America’s vital interests. This was the message conveyed time and time again to anyone prepared to listen. These simple facts are now being stated openly even by Israeli politicians, who have begun to understand that Eretz Yisroel is the sole island of rationality in the region. For the Americans, we are a kind of embassy for them. However, they need to see us leading the march and fighting for our own interests. We can’t be sitting on the sidelines with arms folded, or worse – negotiating with those who call for our destruction. 

The only difference between Iran and the ‘Palestinian’ Authority is the legitimacy factor. While Iran suffers from being justifiably delegitimized – the product of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s worldwide efforts over a period of several years, the ‘Palestinian’ Authority enjoys a full measure of legitimacy – thanks in part to the same prime minister. However, apart from that distinction, both of these two entities are calling for our annihilation and don’t recognize our right to exist in our own homeland.

Perhaps after we have succeeded in slightly altering America’s stance toward the Iranian regime, the Israeli leadership will now take that extra step and declare unequivocally: We are not prepared to negotiate with a-n-y-o-n-e who calls for our destruction. That also includes nice moderate Arabs like Abu Mazen (may his name be erased), who only plan terrorist attacks and kill Jews moderately, although they haven’t developed a real nuclear bomb. 


With the nuclear talks in Geneva and the return of some Israeli sanity in the background, it was very embarrassing to see the headlines on the agreement signed last week between the left-wing parties and the ultra-Orthodox factions on the latter’s support for the dismantling of more Jewish settlements in exchange for left-wing approval of budget allocations for Torah institutions. The headlines “Induction For Peace” were meant to be a warning sign to the right-wing leaders that the time had come for them to pay for betraying the chareidim. The wheels are turning, and this time it’s the settlers who are in panic over possible retribution from the ultra-Orthodox factions. The story of Yosef and his brothers has come to haunt us once again. 

The truth is that these headlines should come as no surprise. The attempt to portray this shift by the ultra-Orthodox factions as a “sharp turn to the left” is far from the reality. Heading the chareidi parties today are two politicians who had previously been full-fledged partners in uprooting settlements and giving away territory. Aryeh Deri concocted the Rabin government that gave us the Oslo Accords, and Yaakov Litzman smiled all the way to the Dead Sea to help the Sharon government implement the Gush Katif expulsion. They haven’t turned left; they’ve stood still in their usual places.

According to media reports, the opposition factions have forged an agreement between the “ultra-Orthodox” parties and the left-wing factions, leading to the establishment of a leftist-chareidi covenant to stop the wave of anti-religious legislation currently churning out of the Knesset. In return, the ultra-Orthodox will oppose government policy in Yehuda and Shomron, and support far-reaching diplomatic agreements r”l. It is reported that Shas MK Ariel Attias even declared that his party would not oppose territorial compromises in Yerushalayim.


On these two issues – American military assistance and the chareidi-leftist alliance – we face the same central point: A clear adherence to Torah is the only true way to keep a Jew from getting confused by the prevailing situation. Just as the prime minister gets confused between murderers wearing ties and murderers wearing keffiyehs, similarly, the ultra-Orthodox party leaders fail to understand that the same Torah that commands “you shall meditate therein day and night” forbids the relinquishing of territory in Eretz Yisroel. 

It is recommended that these two groups – the arrogant coalition parties and the embittered opposition parties –listen to the command of the Torah. As the Rebbe explained time after time, we’re talking about a security matter that any clear-headed individual can understand. The Torah states a simple Halacha in Shulchan Aruch, Sec. 329: When Gentiles are besieging a Jewish city – even over straw and stubble – this is a situation of pikuach nefesh, period. This gives us the strength to not negotiate with anyone who calls for our destruction, and surely not to talk about concessions on Yerushalayim.

It’s a pity that Knesset Member Litzman managed to forget so quickly about the missiles that fell just last year on the Gerer Chassidic community in Ashdod. The missiles fired from those settlements that Litzman help to uproot make no distinction between knitted kippot and black yarmulkes. For them, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.

In the face of the prime minister’s disgraceful submissions and the weak policy of opposition leaders, there can only be one answer: We must state the position of Torah proudly and without compromise, and we must declare to the world that the Torah has the best blueprint for peace and security in “the land [that] Hashem, your G-d, seeks out; the eyes of Hashem, your G-d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

(Dedicated to the new soldier in Hashem’s Army, Eyal HaKohen ben Ester Nechama Dina Hoffman, born in Beersheva, City of the Forefathers, on the 4th of Kislev 5774.)

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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