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The Aftermath


Rabbi Berel Wein

Much debate rages as to who won the latest Israeli Hamas encounter. Only time will tell what lasting effects, if any, came from this violent struggle. Yet I think certain things are clear. One is that in spite of negative international pressures Israel is still independent and powerful enough to respond to violent aggression.
The world has a difficult time realizing that Jewish blood is somehow no longer free for the taking. One can always question the tactics employed by the leadership of the State of Israel. But only the blind, the deaf and the stupid (of which there is no shortage) can no longer question the strategic sea change in the Jewish world that the State of Israel has brought about.
Israel's response to the Hamas rocket barrage was measured, precise and hopefully successful at least for the immediate duration. But it should be clear to all, our open enemies and erstwhile friends, that Israel is not about to go quietly into the night in order to gain sympathetic points from the deluded and perhaps anti-Semitic do-gooders of the world. It is not that Israel is Sparta, it is that Israel spells the survival of an ancient faith and people that has brought blessing to all of humanity over millennia.
So this latest episode of violence is merely another footnote in this long thesis of Jewish survival. The overall picture of the Jewish future has always been weak and foreboding. But, here we are, here we will be, and we have the right and duty to act accordingly.
Our enemies are never wrong and even when they are, they will never admit it. They also are never able to recognize their errors and defeats. Egypt still celebrates the Yom Kippur war as a victory for Arab arms. The reality of the War of Independence that took place over 55 years ago somehow has not sunk in to the Arab psyche.
The wreckage that Islamic fundamentalism has wreaked in the Middle East and throughout the world is ignored by the very people who have been most harmed by its presence, rule and ideology. The Arab Spring has evaporated into the usual Middle Eastern chaos, bloodletting, anarchy, and renewed dictatorships. How naïve it was for anyone to expect it to be otherwise.
The society is built by education, posterity, idealism and vision. It can never be predicated and constructed on the basis of fanaticism and the destruction of others. Until that fundamental lesson is learned and assimilated in the Moslem world, it is going to be a rough ride for all of us for a long time to come. Who would have thought that the world would have longed for a Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak, and Hafez El Asad? But compared to what we now have, they look to be pretty good.
The inability of the Arab world to really get its act together creates all of the instability that haunts the region and reaches all other parts of the world as well. Terrorism may be a tactic but it is never a strategy. Without strategy and vision, the current situation will certainly persist.
I entitled this article "The Aftermath" but to a great extent this is a misnomer. Churchill once said after an Allied victory over Germany: "This is not yet the beginning of the end. Hopefully this is the end of the beginning ." It is not clear to me at what stage of our redemption and rebirth we are currently in. But it certainly is too soon to be called an aftermath. Patience and fortitude, faith and hope are our main weapons-the permanent Iron Dome that will be the source of our protection and defense.
As difficult as it is to counsel patience and the status quo, it is in my opinion even more difficult to counsel further unilateral concessions and to formulate starry-eyed peace proposals that lead nowhere. I would hope that we are certainly at the end of the beginning. Our strength and faith will lead us to the beginning of the end and a true peaceful and secure aftermath to our century's long struggle.
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