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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

June 01, 2003

Arik Sharon, the Lion Of Judah?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to write about Israel these days as the news seems to get progressively worse each day and the very survival of the Jewish state is no longer certain or even likely. One’s mind becomes increasingly numb as the betrayals continue to mount. While it comes as no great surprise, it is nonetheless very disheartening that George W. Bush has made it clear that he intends to sacrifice Israel for his dream of a “New Middle East.” The outrageous hypocrisy of his actions when taken in the context of the “War on Terrorism” is so obvious that it needs no further discussion. Bush’s plan for a Judenfrei Middle East is particularly ironic given that it comes at the same time that the anti-Semites are frothing at the mouth claiming the US is controlled by the “Zionists”. Once again we are being blamed for our own destruction by the world. Perhaps even more disheartening is the betrayal by the liberal Jewish left who apparently have decided that by shoveling their fellow Jews into the fire that the will somehow buy themselves some more time like a modern day Sonderkommando.

Of course betrayals by the left and the Bush clan are only surprising to people who have absolutely no grasp of history prior to five minutes ago (remember Oslo?). The real shock came on Sunday when the Likud dominated Israeli cabinet voted to accept the US plan for the destruction of Israel and on Monday when Sharon gave a speech declaring that “the land must be divided” and the “occupation must end.” Surely G-d himself must have been stunned by these words coming from the mouth of the man people once called “the King of the Jews,” the man who more than any other single person is responsible for the survival of the Israel and the settlement of Eretz Israel. His words have so stunned those of us who love Israel that one commentator wrote that it was raining in Hebron on Monday because “G-d was crying.” It is now firmly believed by most in the settlement community that Arik has decided to abandon Judea and Samaria for the sake of continued US aid.

Perhaps even worse, by surrendering to the PLO (again), there are certain to be hundreds if not thousands of Jewish deaths as a consequence of a fully militarized terrorist state within a few miles of Tel Aviv. The consequences of this disaster seem so dire as to make a sane person wonder if this is the beginning of the end.

I have spent much time in the past defending the polices of Arik Sharon to people who felt that he was betraying the dream of Eretz Israel and was putting us on a path of surrender to the PLO terrorists. This task becomes increasingly difficult in light of the seemingly catastrophic events of the past week.

Unfortunately the events of this week must be judged in the context of larger events and historical truths. When viewed in that context what seems like a betrayal by Sharon is actually basic military strategy. The primary strategic threat to Israel’s survival is a fully US equipped Egypt (and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia and Syria) as well as a nuclear powered Iran along with their puppets Hezbollah. Compared to these threats the PLO is a minor player in the region. In order to maintain a strategic superiority over these nations, Israel is dependent on continued US aid. This will be true as long as the US continues to actively arm Egypt and Saudi Arabia and turn a blind eye to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Without a single reliable ally in the whole world, Israel’s strategic situation is always tenuous at best. Within the context of the larger struggle for survival, a tactical retreat from some of Judea and Samaria for the purposes of generating goodwill with the US might be a wise strategic move. Of course no one doubts that this will inevitably lead to massive civilian causalities in Israel and that eventually the area will have to be retaken to stop the bloodbath. Arik Sharon, the general, understands these things and is willing to make the sacrifice for the tactical advantage that is gained in context of the larger war. It is common for a general to sacrifice some territory or troops in an attempt to gain a long term tactical advantage.

This of course will provide little comfort to the thousands of grieving widows, orphans and parents grieving the loss of a loved one from the latest terrorist atrocity. In the real world lives must be sacrificed for the survival of the whole, but this is not easy to explain to a 10 year old who’s Father is never coming home again or a Mother who has lost all of her children. The loss of so many civilians is a heavy burden for Arik Sharon to bear and I have no doubt that he feels each one personally.

For those who would call him a traitor please consider what is at stake, not just the survival of the State of Israel, but the survival of the Jewish people. This war is not about the survival of “the only Democracy in the Middle East.” This war is about Treblinka, Belzec and Birkenau because that is what awaits us if Israel is destroyed by her enemies. The burden of the decision to sacrifice the few for the survival of the whole is massive and I for one would only entrust it to someone who has done so much for the survival of the Jewish people. While I personally weep for the loss of a single inch of sacred ground or a single Jewish child, someone must have the strength to see the big picture and while I disagree with his most recent decisions, Arik Sharon is that person. He has proven it time and again throughout the history of the Jewish state. Let us pray that he is right again this time.