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An Alternative Plan

We must focus our concern upon the very issue for which the state of Israel was established - we must return to Israel's scroll of independence. We have to think about how to create a bond between the Jews of the Diaspora and the land of Israel.
Dedicated to the memory of
Asher Ben Haim
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The present situation which calls upon us to "put out fires" (i.e., to prevent the dismantling of outpost settlements, the evacuation of the Gaza settlement bloc, etc.) on a near-daily basis is frustrating for all of us. Obviously, these problems aught to be dealt with in an altogether different, more fundamental manner. What follows, then, is a fresh and new-spirited plan, capable of winning broad acceptance, especially among Likud members and the political right wing in general.

The real difficulty when it comes to dealing with the problem of terrorism is that, as everybody knows, there is no foolproof solution which can be employed at present. The reason for this is that Arab terror stems from religious-nationalist sources. In a sense, the same is true regarding the aspirations of the Jewish people. We find ourselves in a situation wherein the struggle between these two nations can be settled neither through a semi-war nor through dialogue. It is this predicament that has driven PM Sharon to choose a path which essentially sidesteps the Arabs all together. He has chosen, however, the path of a man who has lost hope: suicide. Sharon sought a way to exit a no-win situation, simply because of the public's sense that we must find a solution to terrorism. In fact, there is no solution.

The Palestinian question has got the attention of the entire state of Israel. It is like a kind of illness. What's more, it succeeds, day by day, in kindling disagreements and deepening schisms within the nation. The time has come to stop this obsession and to start addressing the issue of how to advance the state of Israel through positive and constructive channels. We unfortunately have a lot of problems which we have learned to "live with" and continuously avoid facing. For example, traffic accidents (which are responsible for more deaths In Israel than terrorism), a variety of diseases, drugs, and more. While it is true that there are groups dealing with each of these problems, they receive inadequate public attention because everybody knows that there are no foolproof solutions to them.

In the same manner that automobile accidents are dealt with by the Department of Transportation, so the approach and character of Israel’s war on terrorism must be left in the hands of the IDF.

We must focus our concern upon the very issue for which the state of Israel was established - we must return to Israel's scroll of independence. We have to think about how to create a bond between the Jews of the Diaspora and the land of Israel. How can we encourage immigration to Israel? How do we plan to absorb the great and imminent flow of immigration, and how can we strengthen ties with expatriate Israelis ("Yordim")?

Broad public discussion of these and other issues along with appropriate legislation have the potential infuse the nation with a new spirit, a spirit of progress and unity. The Arab problem will be solved on its own by the very fact of our being mighty and strong in numbers and spirit. We must refer to Israel as the home of all of the Jews. We must cause the Jews of the Diaspora will feel that Israel is their home. This will come about as a result of legislation in the spirit of the ideals we have mentioned thus far. For example, Israeli citizenship should be extended to every Jew in the world, voting rights should be granted to regular visitors to Israel and to those who possess an apartment in Israel, etc. The national pride of Diaspora Jewry would be fostered, intermarriage would be slowed, and the road to immigration would be shortened.

The Prime Minister and his minister cabinet ministers should invest maximum energy in this direction. They should travel abroad to meet with Diaspora Jews, encourage them to invest in Israel and broadcast the message that all Jews, no matter where they live, are important to us. In order to strengthen the unity of the nation it is necessary to privatize as many state-controlled areas as possible, for example, education, media, etc. This will help to put an end to the need of various sectors of the nation to be dependant upon others and will prevent unnecessary friction.

Likud members are also likely to accept and embrace this idea if we succeed in convincing them that this is in fact the true and essential message of the Likud. Enough following the lead of the Israeli left, here is a true right-wing plan. On a practical level too, such a plan ought to be well-received. After all, one government after another falls as a result of constant focus on the issues of peace and terrorism. This approach, then, should be welcomed as an opportunity to finally change the public agenda.

True, what we have here is a general, long-term plan which still needs to be refined and elucidated, but, with God’s help, if it is initiated immediately it will succeed in being applied quickly.

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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