Are we winning or winning? Part 2


As I wrote in Part 1 of this message, Jews everywhere instinctively support “Israel” whenever we are under attack, and rightly so. But at the same time, to understand how and where to direct our support, I believe that we must also consider what we need to learn from the seemingly intractable situation in which we find ourselves.

Culture clash

The specter of medieval Islamic fundamentalism – complete with its hatred of all aspects of western civilization (except the amenities) and endless Jihad – is now a reality not only in strongholds like Iran, Afghanistan and the like, but is today menacing the existing non-Moslem populations across Britain, Europe, America and elsewhere. The galloping influence of Moslem sectors of their populations has led to extensive no-go areas for the police in which Sharia law purportedly reigns, widespread adoption of traditional dress by men and especially women and girls, mass public prayer services in the streets, parks and public places, increasing permeation of the public education systems with Islamic culture, and persecution of other faiths. Worst of all for the existing populations is the steep rise in the incidence of rape, violent assaults, theft, burglaries, armed robberies and other crimes perpetrated against them by Moslem migrants.

The rise of Islam in the west is in direct contrast to the decline of Christianity and traditional faith in the existing populations, and it comes after around three hundred years in which large sections of the Jewish populations throughout the Diaspora and in Israel have become ever-more assimilated into the surrounding gentile secular culture. With the flight from traditional belief, observance and values among so many Jews, the rabbis and Torah educators found it impossible to compel people to practice the tradition and instead had to “reach out” to the alienated with every kind of enticement and gimmick in the hope of tempting them back.

On the other side, for many secular, alienated Jews, even the mere sight of traditionally-clad religious Jews going about their business is seen as threatening and “coercive”. Jews praying in a public place in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur 2023 were physically attacked by secular Israelis. Ever since the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel, the anti-religious Israeli left have done everything possible to undermine the original “Status Quo” that was intended to guarantee a balance between the Jewish religious and secular sectors of the population. The left, who control Israel’s television, radio and mainstream media, relentlessly demonize traditional Judaism as being retrogressive and intrinsically coercive. [This is quite untrue and nothing but a product of their deep-seated paranoia, because it is a fundamental tenet of Torah belief that man is given free will and the power to choose.]

The common denominator

It is far from insignificant that the common denominator between Israel’s current enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah & Co and their patron, Iran, is fanatical Islamic fundamentalism, which not only cannot tolerate followers of any religion other than Islam except as subservient dhimmis, but perceives all Jews, religious, traditional or secular, Zionist, Marxist or other, as kefirs whom they are commanded to wipe off the face of the earth. Moreover, this radical Islamic ideology is diametrically opposed to everything most valued by the hardcore secular Israelis who largely control and steer the country: material wealth and success, total freedom of belief and moral choice, strict separation of religion and state, religious pluralism (i.e. Jews, Christians, Moslems, Druze, etc. all have equal status), integration of the sexes in education, the army and public life, support for LGBTQ, etc. etc. For the Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah global terror axis, all this makes Israel the “little Satan” while her alleged “protector”, Uncle Sam USA, is the “big Satan”.

I discussed in Part 1 why it is by no means clear that Israel is “winning” the many-fronted current war on the military plane, and if we want to believe Israel is “winning”, we may be missing important messages that God Almighty is sending us through His proxies. For whether we acknowledge it or not, the Mullahs of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, no less than the likes of George Soros, Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, Jo Biden, Barak Obama, Vladimir Putin, and all the other villains of the day, are at root God’s rod of chastisement designed to awaken us, humble our hearts and bring us back to Him.

With thanks to G-d we have witnessed many miracles in the past eight months of war, and many more are unrecorded. But can we really expect the Almighty to work open, visible miracles and grant quick, easy, overwhelming victories over Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon when the State of Israel, her government, judiciary, police and army, are largely under the control of “Jewish” heretics who flagrantly desecrate the Sabbaths and festivals, despise traditional family life and values, eat unkosher by choice, etc. while supporting gay marriage and other Torah abominations?

Secular Israel

In the entire government, only a minority of male members cover their heads in accordance with traditional Jewish custom. At the present time both the head of the Supreme Court (BaGaTz) and the Attorney General are women who hold radical leftist views and have undisguised contempt for Zionist ideals and Torah tradition. There is not a single Hareidi judge on the bench of the Supreme Court, nor a single Hareidi in the top echelons of the Israeli army. The higher levels are dominated by secular, left-leaning officers, who systematically stall the promotion of Torah observant soldiers despite their being among the most highly motivated and dedicated. The Supreme Court is now demanding that more Hareidi youth must be drafted into the Israeli army in order to “share the burden” (some officers seem to view these pawns as compliant cannon-fodder) but there are no calls for secular Jews to “share the burden” of the people of Israel’s service of God Almighty through daily prayer and Torah study, the observance of Shabbat, festivals, and fulfillment of the other commandments.

When thinking about practical matters of state, war and peace, nothing could be further from the minds of many Israelis in positions of power and influence, as well as in the minds of large sectors of the public, than the Torah prophetic perspective on events in God’s chosen land. Even in political commentary in the so-called religious media, lip-service may be paid to God’s providence, but the bulk of the “serious” discussions center on essentially pragmatic political, military, strategic and economic factors. with little focus on what God wants of you and me now other than increasing our prayers and performance of charity and good deeds. In the secular media, all meaningful reference to God, Torah and Emunah and the place they should have in the daily lives of Israelis at home, at work, at leisure, in military service or anywhere else are entirely absent.

The political arena, the media and public forums are rife with vulgar languge, mutual denigration, accusations and counter-accusations. Continual heavily-financed anti-government demonstrations and media campaigns create the impression of deep disunity in the country, and the ruling coalition is disintegrating at a time when military leaders disagree about how to face the surrounding threats. Those who cherish the Torah watch with consternation the routine desecration of the Sabbath and festivals and all that is holy in Judaism. And in no way can we afford to be complacent when our own Torah-observant communities themselves are all too often lacking in fervor, while people’s preoccupation with lifestyle enhancement, fashion, leisure activities and foreign vacations tends to displace intense devotion to the Almighty.

Yes, it’s a war of religions

For the Mullahs of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and their fellow-travelers, this multi-front war against Israel and Jews everywhere is unquestionably religious. And if Jews fail to acknowledge this, we will find no solution. For thirty years since the start of the Oslo “peace” nightmare, the Israeli strategy was founded on the belief that Arab resistance to the State of Israel would be dissipated through their economic betterment. But this has proved to be a vain illusion. Despite all claims to the contrary, the Arabs both in Israel and Gaza enjoyed very favorable economic conditions, but this did not prevent their increasing radicalization and the growth of religion-based hatred among the wealthiest and most educated. For the truth is that secular Israel lacks the one commodity that can offer Moslems and people everywhere genuine hope and a way out of the current impasse: Faith in the God of Israel and His Torah. Economic prosperity and hi-tech just will not do it.

It is time for Israel’s defenders against the libels of the Jew-hating, Zion-hating, Israel-hating enemies across the world to go on the offensive. Yes, this is a religious war, and it is time for the true leaders of Israel – the genuine Torah scholars – to stand up and speak out fearlessly against the lies and deceptions that the promotors of radical, terror-supporting Islam are today perpetrating throughout the world, just as they must stand up and speak out against the lies and deceptions of the World Economic Forum, the promotors of the New World Order and complicit governments and other forces that are riddled with corruption, exploitation of the weak and needy, compromised systems of “justice”, rampant crime, child-trafficking, drug abuse and many other evils.

The vision of present-day secular Israel as a beacon of western “civilization”, “democracy”, “freedom” and “license” is in truth far from the prophetic vision of God’s holy land, from which the word of the Lord will go forth to all the world.

It is the prophetic vision of the future Holy Land with the restored Temple, Priesthood and Sanhedrin under the kingship of Mashiach ben David that Torah believers must constantly keep at the forefront of our minds and as the focus of all our prayers, efforts and aspirations at this time. Indeed, everything for which we hope and pray or is already included and formulated precisely in the blessings of our daily Shmoneh Esray Amidah prayers and in King David’s Psalms. We must pray earnestly for understanding, repentance, forgiveness, redemption, healing, blessing, ingathering of our exiles, restoration of our judges, overthrow of the heretics, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of Mashiach…

All who believe in prophecy will understand that in the end, the secular State of Israel, its government, judges, police and officers, must inevitably morph into the Torah kingdom which the prophets foresaw. How this “morphing” will be accomplished is God’s hidden secret.

“These houses, these apartments”

Perhaps some people may dream of the future land of Israel as an idyllic paradise of spiritual elevation, prayer, song, devotion, prophecy, love of God and one another… But how do we get there? The way must and can only be from here, in the very situation where we are now. Thus, when Rabbi Nachman spoke about “the Land of Israel”, he said he meant not some faraway, fantasy spiritual realm, but rather, “the actual country of Israel with its houses and apartments” (Chayey Moharan #15).

Indeed, it is the innocent people living in these houses and apartments up and down the country – ordinary mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters – that Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran intentionally target. May the Almighty hear our pain and anguish and have mercy upon us all and put into the heart of each and every one of us to understand what we must do now.

Avraham Ben Yaakov

About the author

Avraham ben Yaakov

Avraham ben Yaakov is a Torah teacher based in Safed Israel & author of translations and commentaries on Bible, Hassidut, Kabbalah, Spiritual Growth, Health & Healing.

By Avraham ben Yaakov

Avraham Ben Yaakov

Avraham ben Yaakov Greenbaum is a Torah teacher in Tz’fat (Safed) in Israel’s Galilee, and author of translations and commentaries on Bible, Hassidut, Kabbalah, Spiritual Growth, Health, Healing and the Environment.

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