August 7, 2014
Beis Moshiach in #937, Thought

A no holds barred interview with R’ Sholom Dov Wolpo, Rosh Kollel of the “HaRambam HaShaleim” project and director of the “Matteh L’Hatzalat Ha’Am V’HaAretz,” who received instructions from the Rebbe to write on the topic of shleimus ha’aretz. 

He talks about the absurdity of the present situation, why the government does not see what the people see, and why they are sacrificing the lives of our soldiers for nothing. * He also demands that the Disengagement-Expulsion perpetrators be
brought to justice and says we must
reestablish the yishuvim in Gush Katif.

Interview by Shneur Zalman Levin

You put ads in the papers this week with quotes from the Rebbe. What is the main message?

The Rebbe warned a number of times that when going to war, you have to finish the job. That is, you have to annihilate the enemy in such a way that he can no longer endanger the Jewish people. You are not allowed to permit him to recover and reestablish himself. He is supposed to be so beaten that he wouldn’t dare consider opposing us again in the foreseeable future.

Isn’t that what the government under Netanyahu is doing?

It is not doing it and it still has no intentions of doing it, sad to say. With all respect (really, not cynically) for the prime minister, the cabinet, and the entire government, for the courageous decisions made thus far, we cannot hide our criticism.

The government changed the goal of the operation a number of times already. At first they said that the soldiers are going in to completely destroy Hamas. Then they spoke only about eliminating the threat from missiles. Then they stated that the goal is to destroy the tunnels and didn’t say anything about missiles. Now they speak in general terms about ensuring quiet for a reasonable time. We are not hearing about a goal to wipe out Hamas.

The discussions about a ceasefire and agreements through an Egyptian or American intermediary make a mockery of the spilled blood of our soldiers, each of whom went to war to eradicate the enemy. What will remain in the consciousness of Hamas and the rest of our enemies is that Israel will never destroy them, because there will end up being a ceasefire that will save them and so what do they have to lose? The government leaves the entire country exposed, time and again, to thousands of rockets and to the threats of the tunnels for the next round, just as they did in the previous wars. They don’t finish the job and once every year and a half to two years they start fighting all over again.

Furthermore, a ceasefire under the present circumstances exposes the soldiers to the shooting of snipers and mortars and this endangers their lives.

But with Hashem’s help we are winning and even if there is a ceasefire, as senior political-military men say over and over: “When the Hamas commanders leave their bunkers and see the terrible destruction, they will realize that they can’t fight us anymore.”

This misleads the public. In the meantime, we are not winning the war. Hamas is powerful. Its soldiers fight bravely and confidently. They are well trained and armed with a lot of weapons. Their senior commanders hide underground and none of them have been hit. Many of the tunnels have not been exposed yet. Last Monday, one of the senior IDF commanders said that the goal of this military operation is, as defined by the civilian government command structure, the intimidation of Hamas, not its capitulation.

Just last Shabbos we read in the parsha, “If you don’t chase out those who dwell in the land before you, those that you leave over will be like pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.” This is precisely what is happening now.

You make light of the more than a thousand dead and the thousands of wounded, the thousands of terror sites that were hit as well as their weapons factories, tens of thousands of houses and buildings destroyed or damaged.

Without, G-d forbid, putting down the work of our soldiers and what they’ve accomplished thus far, with Hashem’s help, those who know the mentality of the terrorists knows that they don’t care if a thousand of their comrades are killed. On the contrary, the more people who are killed, the more sympathy and help they hope to get from the nations of the world. The destroyed houses don’t bother them either. They know that when hostilities die down, they will get financial aid from various countries to rebuild Gaza. When the money starts to flow, most of it will enter the pockets of the senior Hamas terrorists. This is the reason they want the war to continue.

We need to be aware that based on Hamas’ rate of progress, in the next war they will have double the soldiers and they will find a way to neutralize the Iron Dome and the Trophy systems, and this will once again truly endanger our soldiers. There is no other option but to destroy them completely.

Even if they make a ceasefire, it will come along with international guarantees to rid Gaza of missiles and to cease tunnel construction. So we can achieve our main goals with political agreements. Why not prevent bloodshed on both sides?

Those who make these suggestions have short memories. Just a few years ago we left Lebanon with an agreement in which the nations of the world guaranteed to rid Lebanon of missiles. But since then, not only weren’t the missiles removed from there, they smuggled in tens of thousands of new, improved ones. So what we do not accomplish now with force, will not be done for us by anyone and it will, G-d forbid, have a sad ending.


You mention in the ad, quoting the Rebbe, that means should be used that do not endanger the soldiers. What do you mean? Are there secret tools that the Rebbe knows about and the army is hiding from us?

It’s very simple. In this war, as in the wars that preceded it, we play into the hands of the enemy. Instead of wiping out terror targets, where they use civilians, women and children, as human shields, we send in young soldiers who go into booby-trapped areas or houses where terrorists wait to ambush them. They go from room to room to see whether there might be any innocent Amalekites. That is how we lose more and more soldiers.

What the Rebbe meant, which he explained himself, is to give a warning at every terror target saying they have five minutes to get out and protect themselves. Five minutes later they should destroy the area. Chazal say, if you have mercy when you should be cruel, you will be cruel when you should be merciful. We have bunker busters and we need to use them to destroy all the command centers in the underground city they created. It should be obvious on the ground that “the boss went nuts,” and let the world say what it wants.

What do you mean by an underground city?

To use an analogy, just as there is a “Yerushalayim up above,” and a “Yerushalayim down below,” so too, l’havdil, there is a “Gaza up above” and a “Gaza down below.” We enabled Hamas to build cities and fortifications under the Gaza Strip. The tunnels that we discovered are not even the tip of the iceberg. Underground Gaza must be destroyed without endangering the lives of our soldiers, but in the way the Rebbe described.

 What do you mean when you say we enabled and helped Hamas?

The Israeli government supplied Hamas with construction materials like cement and iron throughout the nine years since the expulsion from Gush Katif. That’s aside from the electricity we provide, without which they could not have built the tunnels.

I once told over that when there was a general strike across all industries eight years ago initiated by the Histadrut (Israel’s national labor union), I saw a convoy of dozens of massive trucks bringing cement from the Nesher factory in Ramla with IDF jeeps leading the way. I asked one of the soldiers in the jeep where they were going and how the factory in Ramla was breaking the strike and he told me that it was cement for Gaza, and the Histadrut gave special permission to the factory to manufacture it and to supply it to Gaza. That is how the Israeli government obsessively helps our enemy to build that which endangers the lives of its people more than any other threat.

Why do you think the tunnels are the most dangerous?

We have heard that Hamas planned on sending thousands of armed terrorists simultaneously through these tunnels on our holiday, when most soldiers are on furlough. They planned on breaking into dozens of yishuvim along the border with Gaza, with each yishuv having a tunnel opening. They planned on mass murder, heaven forbid, and mass kidnapping through the tunnels to Gaza. It could have been the greatest tragedy the state experienced since it was founded. Thank G-d, this tragedy was prevented. This happened in the merit of the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered.

I’m confused. What’s the connection?

When they kidnapped the boys, the army cleaned out Yehuda-Shomron of Hamas leaders. If they had found the boys immediately, life would have returned to normal and the terrorists in Gaza would have continued their deadly work underground. But after not finding the boys and undertaking a massive manhunt and hundreds of senior Hamas operatives were arrested including those who had been released in the Shalit deal, this caused Hamas in Gaza to step up its shooting of rockets and missiles. Not only that, they moved up their plans but made a strategic error when they sent terrorists through two tunnels. Only then did we wake up and see what was going on.


How could the army not know about the tunnels?

It was an incredible oversight on their part. If they really didn’t know, then the heads of the Mossad, Shabak and the other Intelligence units ought to be fired immediately; that is a colossal Intelligence failure. And if they knew and reported it, then a governmental investigative committee ought to examine who held up the actions that were needed to destroy the tunnels and how did the government continue to supply Hamas with cement and iron as well as hundreds of millions of dollars? Over the years, our organization warned a number of times that with the money and the cement, the iron and the electricity, that the government provides Hamas, they are building bunkers that will be a terrible threat to us.

So what are you saying, that the vaunted IDF and the government led by Netanyahu don’t see what the ordinary citizen sees?

The army and the government are still locked into the Disengagement idea. If they had openly acknowledged the tunnel threat, that would obligate them to admit their mistake in destroying Gush Katif and destroying the lives of eight thousand Jews.

Many amongst the army top brass led that unfortunate operation, as did the prime minister and some of his ministers. They are still trapped in this “bubble,” and the “bribe” of pride does not allow them to see and admit their criminal mistake, even now, when the Disengagement blew up in their faces. This is the reason they all act as though they did not know or hear about the digging of tunnels and about Hamas’ arming itself with thousands of missiles.

The army spokesman always mentions the “target bank” which the Intelligence services prepared, but if the targets were known to them, why did they wait until now? Why did they continue helping Hamas build and improve those targets including tunnels and huge factories where missiles and weapons are manufactured?


Let’s go back to the Rebbe’s instructions regarding fighting “till the end.” They say that the army does not want to conquer Gaza and annihilate Hamas entirely since then we will have to govern Gaza and its nearly two million people under military rule.

We have two choices, either we rule Gaza or they rule us and then we will have to fight them every few years, each time with greater dangers. We have to decide which choice is better.

But they say there is another choice, that Abu Mazen rules Gaza.

That’s going from the frying pan into the fire. Did dozens of soldiers pay with their lives to have this Holocaust denier and architect of the Maalot and Munich massacres rule Gaza? We see now in Yehuda-Shomron that even after the clean-up operation we did after the boys were kidnapped and murdered, they still have the ability to make an Intifada and who knows to what extent it will develop.

Just yesterday, they miraculously caught a guy with a car full of explosives near Beitar Ilit. Even if Abu Mazen wants to accept Gaza, how is he better than Hamas? Both of them want to destroy us and the difference between them is only technical, how to achieve this goal (with or without a suit and tie). Aside from that, within a short time, Hamas will overpower him again and what will we do then? Start fighting again and sacrifice more soldiers on the altar of stupidity?

So what is the solution that will guarantee quiet on the southern border?

The best solution is the hisgalus of Moshiach, but in these final moments of galus we must conduct ourselves according to Torah. That is what it says in short, quoting the Rebbe, in the flyer, that we must finish the war in the most forceful way and with the most advanced methods with minimum exposure of the soldiers to danger.

At the same time that we eradicate Hamas, we must rebuild all the yishuvim of Gush Katif and establish military bases throughout the Gaza Strip. And we need to keep a close watch on any threat that develops so we can eliminate it in its infancy.

In your opinion, how will this war affect the plan of “two states for two nations?”

Leaders on the Left are trying to direct the war with Hamas as a means to bolster Abu Mazen, but if there will, G-d forbid, be a Palestinian state in Yehuda-Shomron, it will immediately turn into a Hamas state and what we have now in Gaza will repeat itself, but much worse, in the heart of Eretz Yisroel. The prime minister never had a better opportunity to express regret for his unfortunate Bar Ilan speech and the entire world will understand him now. In Peres’ parting speech the other week, he emotionally said that he did not imagine that in his final days as president he would have to console the bereaved for soldiers that were killed. He is forgetting that he himself with his pal Ariel Sharon, together with all the guys from the “ranch” and the Supreme Court, along with the military commanders of the time, are personally responsible for the blood of these soldiers, for the wounded, and the broken families. This is the new Middle East that Peres and his cronies brought upon us with his Oslo Accords and the destruction of Gush Katif.

The truth is that if we had a properly functioning government, they would hold criminal trials for all those responsible for the expulsion, with Peres leading the pack. For sure they cannot serve in any role whatsoever. If only the leaders realized that the jig is up and we need to protect our lives wisely and determinedly without false belief in imaginary peace with the Amalekites among us, those who inherited the Nazi legacy.

Forgive me for asking, but is your calling for the rebuilding of the yishuvim of Gush Katif serious or meant to be provocative? After all, there doesn’t seem to be a chance that Netanyahu would do it.

After the three murdered boys were found, I spoke to the Housing Minister and asked him to send a recommendation to the government to immediately establish three yishuvim in the Chevron – Gush Etzyon area to be named for them. I believe that shortly this idea will take shape and we will lay the cornerstone.

You have to understand that this isn’t just a “cynical response” to terror but a strategic move for our security. The terrorists want to throw us out of our land and when they see that with every attack, G-d forbid, a new yishuv is established, that will undermine their desire to keep on attacking us.

So too with Gush Katif. If the prime minister wants to really win the Hamas terrorists, if he wants to be remembered in the history of the Jewish people as a visionary who took positive action, he has to reestablish those settlements. 

What about world pressure?

The Rebbe said several times that deep down the nations of the world want us to eradicate terrorism. Even when they exert pressure for a ceasefire, they should be asked whether they would stop fighting terror affecting their country and what would they do if thousands of rockets were launched at their citizens. In any case, “Hashem gives strength to His people,” and only in this way does “Hashem bless His people with peace.” Israeli citizens need to exert stronger pressure on the government not to cave in to worldwide pressure.

To end on a good note, what can you tell us to encourage us?

Everyone can plainly see that things are moving along by divine providence despite our failures. We are seeing open miracles; first, that over 2000 missiles have been launched with hardly any casualties and without the damage one would have expected. Second, the enemy still has not agreed to a ceasefire, Hashem hardened their hearts, and this enables us to crush them. Third, the nations of the world are, more or less, quiet for the meantime. Fourth, Egypt knows what Hamas is and also wants it eliminated.

With Hashem’s help we will have the biggest miracle in history, the hisgalus of Moshiach when we and the entire world will have salvation.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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