Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
Translated by Hillel Fendel

Four Conditions for Appeasement With the Arabs

f we truly love life, then given all that's happened over the past few weeks, we simply cannot allow ourselves to come to any kind of superficial resolution with them. Nearly the entire Arab sector in the State of Israel took part in the anti-Jewish violence.


Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

Sivan 17 5781
Many people have suggested that I meet with Sheikhs and Muslim clerics to make a sulha [traditional Muslim method of reconciliation] and straighten out matters so that we can live in peace. For after all, who does not want peace?

But if we truly love life, then given all that's happened over the past few weeks, we simply cannot allow ourselves to come to any kind of superficial resolution with them. Nearly the entire Arab sector in the State of Israel took part in the anti-Jewish violence. Some of them were quite proactive, while others merely participated passively or by showing their happiness and approval. The decisive majority of their leadership – Knesset Members, congregational leaders, religious clerics – expressed no disapproval of the indiscriminate anti-Jewish looting, burning of synagogues, and even murderous lynchings.

How is it possible to live in peaceful coexistence with a neighbor who directs his friends to throw a Molotov cocktail through your window while you relax at home with your little children? How is it conceivable to live in peace with a neighbor whose sons set fire to your fellow Jews' car, or take part in setting fire to synagogues and Jewish businesses?

Even if your neighbor himself was not physically involved, is it conceivable to trust him when he is part of a nation that wants to banish, if not destroy, you?

We must remember that when they chant, "With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine," they are not referring only to Judea and Samaria, but also to Tel Aviv, Ramle, Lod, Haifa, and of course, Jerusalem.

It could be that we could come to an agreement with them on a loveless coexistence. But even before that, we must remember how Muhammad made "peace" with the Jews of Khaybar, who were stronger than he was – but the moment the Jews laid down their arms, Muhammad slaughtered them and their sons, and violated their wives and daughters.

This was the prototype of behavior for Yasser Arafat and other Arab Muslim leaders who made deals with Israel and then violated them even before the ink had dried. Arafat was not ashamed to say publicly – in Arabic only, of course – that his model was the Khaybar deal, for deceiving and cheating Jews is a great honor for them.

We must learn from past experience. They love to sit and be photographed with Jewish leaders as they say (in Hebrew) how much they condemn violence "on both sides" – as if there is any comparison between our desire for peace and theirs, and their propensity to murder and ours.

Then, when the meeting ends, the Muslim spiritual leaders return to their mosques and sermonize that the Jews are sons of monkeys and pigs and how admirable and holy it is to kill them. No one will point out the contradiction between that and what they said the day before in Hebrew – because, following Muhammad, they all believe it is a great deed to lie and take advantage of Jews.

We must remember what happened just in the past two weeks: Israeli Arabs burned down ten synagogues in Lod alone, as well as dozens of Jewish-owned cars, trucks, buses, and police vehicles. They also torched schools and yeshivot, looted and burned hundreds of Jewish apartments and businesses, and threw firebombs at Jewish families in their homes. They lynched any Jew who fell into their hands, and danced in joy at every rocket that landed on an Israeli home.

In every aspect, they are as far from the Jews who defended themselves from their violence as is east from west. Who amongst us does not know that if a bully attacks a citizen and steals from him, the victim is allowed and even obligated to hit back with full force and restore the stolen property? Whoever tries to equate between the disgraceful violence of the attacker and the violence with which the victim defends himself thereby destroys the very foundations of Torah and justice.

It is critical to remember that before Arabs ever make a sulha amongst themselves, they avenge whatever blood was spilt beforehand. Only after the revenge comes the sulha. For they know themselves well: if one side was not made to pay in blood, it will kill again.

We won't lower ourselves to their level, and we won't avenge our spilt blood. Instead, we will set four unyielding conditions before we sit down to even talk with them about a sulha, as follows:

1. They must categorically and unequivocally condemn all the riots and violence perpetrated by the Arabs throughout Israel. They may not say, "We condemn all the violence on both sides," but rather, "We condemn and do not accept the Arab violence perpetrated against Jews." We will not accept any equation between one Arab who was beaten up in Bat Yam to hundreds of Jews mercilessly assaulted and even killed in other cities.

2. The Arab sector must collect money from its people in the different cities to completely cover all the damage of the recent violence. This includes the full value of burnt synagogues, cars, trucks, buildings and more. The money must be given to the Israeli authorities in cash, and not in the form of worthless promises.

3. The Arabs must turn over all the weapons they have. They may not hold guns and bullets in their homes while claiming to reach out in peace. The two do not go together.

4. They must surrender the criminals responsible for the lynching of a Jew, as well as anyone who shot live fire, threw concrete blocks on Jews, and hurled firebombs into Jewish homes.

Without the fulfillment of these four conditions, the rioters and attackers have no place in the State of Israel, and must be deported.

Only if these conditions are completely accepted and carried out, will we be willing to sit down and talk to them. Photo-ops without these preconditions will simply not happen. We have no time, nor can we afford our citizens' lives, for games.

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