Disposing of delusions on all sides
You forgot to mention the delusion of thinking deep seated delusions of millions of people the world over will be solved by a blog post.
You do realize this reads like a Purim spiel, don't you? The left is delusional in thinking the Palestinians will do this, the right is delusional in thinking the Palestinians will do that, the West is delusional in thinking the Israelis will do somesuch and that Palestinians will do whatnot.
So my solution is that the Palestinians should do that the Israelis should do this, the West should believe whatchamacallit, and the UN should disband. Ok? Everybody snap to it now.
Dude, get used it it. You don't have a solution, and neither does anybody else. The Israelis are in an absolutely impossible situation al pi derech haTeva. They are living surrounded by millions who DON'T WANT A SOLUTION. And millions more of the same are embedded in the State itself. And the "West" - the institutions, intelligentsia, and media that runs it - don't seriously want to work for a solution either. Lose your delusions and come to terms with the fact that this is a problem with no solution. We're stuck forever in maintenance and damage control mode, and hope for rachamei shamayim.
This is a reality lost on those who post delusional statements like "I went into a fruit store in Machaneh Yehuda yesterday and saw a ripe pomegranate. If this is galut then I don't know what geulah looks like". But the rest of us just have to come to terms with reality.
The issues (delusions) are very well presented, and the solution is what absolutely need to happen. But effectively, there are so many variables that are unfortunately completely unrealistic. Deradicalizing Palestinians is actually like 'deradicalizing' chareidim - people with sincere religious beliefs. (I only say that in this context; in just about any other context I'd say this about religious Jews in general...) We can keep trying to figure this stuff out at it shabbos tables and hope for the best.
But if we're being brutally honest, the only true solution is for all of us to do teshuva. I promise that will help...
Wow, an entire article to solve the problem of Israel's enemies without a single mention of God or Torah. And you think you are going to solve it be radically changing the entire Palestinian culture. Before that happens, time machines will have been invented, and we will be able to come back and laugh at your post. You listed all the delusions except one: The Slifkin Delusion.
Rabbi Slifkin, as others are pointing out, your plan seems the most unrealistic. I have a better plan. In Canada, they had a method of "de-savaging" the indigenous population by forcing them to send children to "residential schools", which were basically boarding schools where the children were taught English, dressed in Western clothes, and educated in Western values and knowledge, and their savage Indian culture was burned out of them by immersion in a superior culture. Despite their current complaints about "cultural genocide", this was actually a great boon for them and for Canada. We can do the same with Palestinian children. We can even make them Jewish converts, as the halacha allows.
I seriously suggest you start the reform from within your own community:
1) Remove the Ben-Gvir and Smotrich (and Noam) RZ parties from the govt. They are the Islamist of Israel in reverse. That appears to align with your aims but is left out of your recommendations despite being the easiest of all these goals to achieve.
2) Reform the RZ community so that they no longer support Islamist-like desires to push out or dominate Arabs from the river the sea. The don't need to be going up to Har Habayit to daven. They don't need to be doing the flag march through Yerushalayim yelling "death to Arabs". RZ Rabbis should disclaim any affiliation with these parties, aims and tactics.
I think it is much more productive to make a list of things to buy when winning the lottery.
First, I will run off to the local car dealer and get myself a car that tickles my fancy. It has to be an SUV, I can't handle climbing into a Sedan or a sports car. As many bells and whistles as possible, and off we drive.
Second, write and send a check to ten Kollelim. This is just to poke NS in the eye.
Third, write and send a check to another ten Kollelim. But this is because it is a wonderful thing to do.
Fourth, buy the supplies needed for a two week vacation, with a grill/barbecue, insulation box for the meat/milk, and an easy set of tools to cook and eat that which we will be taking along.
Fifth, pay the neighbors, family and friends to take in my children for the two-week vacation that I will take.
Sixth, get into the brand new Suv and start driving. Make sure the trip takes us to the Blue Mountain Ridge, and book the Presidential Suite in the fanciest hotel wherever the trip takes us.
Seventh, buy two new hats.
Eretz Yisrael is are ancestral home. Invasion of Israel in the 7th century by the Saudi Arabs doesn't eliminate our claim to the land. Neither does Ottoman control until 1917.Jordan is a Palestinian state which was created in violation of the Balfour Declaration.
As you indicated, "Palestinian statehood" is a relatively new idea which should never have taken place. The chances of an Arab change of mentality is next to possible. If possible we should take over all of the territories. The Arabs have their countries and we should have ours. The fact that the British gave us a tiny piece of land for a State- don't do us any favors with our land. Who made them the boss. It's all politics and power. So I suggest continued settlement. The Arabs are not making peace any time soon. We will have to play it by ear.
R' Slifkin was kind enough to ask my opinion and even incorporate some of it. I "threatened" him that I would post the whole megillah of a response here, so here it is:
Let me start by saying that I am an apologist for no one here. I have never voted for Bibi and voted for no party in his coalition. This despite one left-wing protester a couple of weeks ago, having covered me in my own blood, telling me my hands were covered in blood just like Bibi's. But I have a lot less sympathy for those baying for his head, not the least because they've been keeping me awake for four years, and because I see their current protests- yes, even the ones with the families of the kidnapped, for whom I pray, God help them- as the height of cynicism. So maybe that colors my views a bit (that, and my pre-existing politics), but I think I, at least, am entitled.
"…many others have lived in Israel/Palestine for many centuries. Accordingly, they also have a legitimate claim to statehood (albeit not everyone with a claim to statehood actually gets one)."
There is a great leap between those two statements. Merely existing in a place for many centuries (even if that were true) does not mean one has a "legitimate claim to statehood." Indeed, it's not clear that everyone, or even anyone has a "legitimate claim to statehood." And even if there was such a concept as a "legitimate claim," it would mean nothing. Israel had to fight- still has to fight- for that "right." So did most, maybe all, countries.
And, indeed, you acknowledge that in your parenthetical statement at the end. Not everyone gets a state. I could give you a long, long list of peoples who don't get a state, a lot of them a lot more established and peaceful than the Palestinians. Is that fair? Maybe, but I don't care. More on that, and all of this, below.
"The Palestinians are not going anywhere. There is no way to transfer them out of the country."
And yet nothing else can really be done, and yet something must be done, as you immediately go on to say. And so something "impossible" and even distasteful must be tried. We're not a dumb people; we can think long and hard and maybe we can think of something creative. I know I can. How can it be implemented? I can think of ways, or at least seeds of ways. But there are far smarter people who can do better than I, if only they are allowed to or told to do so.
One good start, though, is to lay down the law that there will never be another independent state between the river and the sea. Again, more on that in a bit.
"Ben Gvir and extremist settlers yelling and waving guns do not bring security."
That's quite the caricature. They may not bring security in an ultimate national sense, but they may bring other things. I know it's all fashionable to yell "Ben Gvir!" these days, but he's actually acting rationally and responsibly at the moment. Certainly more so than many of those above him. And "settler" is a word we should stop using immediately. It is, frankly, racist. Or something like that. I'm not up on all that lingo.
"This past government was the most right-wing government ever, and yet Oct. 6th happened."
Contrary to the myths circulating ("moving soldiers to the West Bank" and nonsense like that, the attack- I think you mean the 7th, by the way- was not a result of any "right-wing" aspect. It's not like, say, Meron, where Deri got exemptions and people died. I wouldn't say the Yom Kippur War happened because Golda Meir was a Labor member. Did people mess up? I imagine. (Although I have increasing distaste for this Israeli fashion to always find people to blame.) But of course We Must Never mention the much more obvious faults, which lies with the three most recent prime ministers who didn't serve out their terms, one assassinated, one felled by a stroke, and one sent to jail, and another prime minister who has…skeletons. The last times I suggested that I was literally assaulted.
"And the two million Israeli Arabs are also a ticking time-bomb."
Hmm, I seem to recall someone else who focused on that. And he was screamed down. Still is, albeit by a lot less people than before. Interesting how things work out.
"and especially the US"
True. But I think that at a certain point we're just going to have to live with the fact that some people have it in for Jews and Israel, and we're not going to change their minds. And yes, the differences are heavily partisan. Joe Biden is a man very much of two minds himself, as his record shows, and he's got different people pulling him both ways as well. Should we work on one half of those equations? Sure. Should we be realistic about the other? Just as much.
Regarding Section 4, I have a more general comment to make: No, I do not agree that creating a Palestinian state should be an Israeli task, and indeed I think that it should be made clear that there will never be one, even if every single Israeli and Palestinian Arab wholeheartedly converts to Buddhism. Call me "messianic" if you must- not that every Orthodox Jew shouldn't be, and not that the Left is far, far more "messianic" than even your average Kahanist- but this is our land, ours by right, ours by Divine gift, and it's not that big, and in any event giving up parts of it sends exactly the wrong signal, that even Israel proper is transient. (Why do you think charedim are so OK with the idea?) You write, "as long as it is made clear that this is not a sign of weakness to be exploited". But of course it will be seen as such, and indeed it is.
(A side point about Section 4: I'm not as optimistic about Ra'am as you are. But it's the right idea. I just think there are other Arabs who may be more of a hope. It will take a long, long time, but I think we have that. R' Schachter once said we were in galut 2,000 years and it will take that long to get out of it. I'm a cock-eyed optimist, sure, but I think it will be a lot less than that, at least in this aspect.)
Here's my main point, though: We have to take our own side in arguments. What you've presented here- and believe it or not, I actually agree with much of what you wrote, even in Sections 3 and 4- are a few incompatible, no-win scenarios. OK, granted. But we're the Jews and Israelis here. So we can concentrate less on the problems of the Palestinians, and the Arabs, and the "international community," and the tiny, tiny Jewish Left (I mean, even Merav Michaeli is breathing fire now), and deal with the "right-wing" (or standard Israeli) delusions. And that might mean seeing them not so much as "delusions" as "problems to be solved." Once we get past that hurdle, who knows what can happen? If only it didn't have to take so much tragedy for people to start thinking about it.
Thank you for making me think about this more than I usually do. 🙂
I then added:
If you really want to know, my idea is citizenship for those abroad. Like making Palestinians Jordanian citizens. It's actually done in other contexts, but of course it's no good for Jews. Obviously Jordan would refuse. But like I said, some good thinking and you never know. France comes to mind: They actually have constituencies for overseas citizens. Eventually, the problem arises- if there's peace- of why some Arabs are citizens and some aren't. But on the other hand, lots of countries have non-citizens among them. I guess my main point is that there are out-of-the-box options, and maybe if Israel and "friends of Israel' just stop talking about "two states" people can start thinking about them.
Excellent piece. My father, R' Nachman Bulman zt'l, made a speech over 25 years ago in which he said that those who say peace with the Arabs is impossible and who want to expel all Arabs from Eretz Yisrael (like Meir Kahane) are right, and those who say such expulsion is impossible and we have to find a way to live with them (like Peace Now) are also right. His conclusion was that bederech hateva there is no solution. The only solution is learning Torah, doing mitzvos, doing chessed, davening, teshuva. If our army exists so we can have a country and our country exists so we can have an army, the whole Medina is pointless. As Saadya Gaon famously wrote, ein umaseinu umah elah baTorah. This does not preclude hishtadlus -- we still need statesmen, soldiers and police and may Hashem bless, help and protect them -- but the Arab problem will never be solved in any rationalistic way. May Hashem help and guard His people.
"Furthermore, there are those among the two million Israeli Arabs who are also hostile to Israel, which could turn into violence (as happened in the Lod riots), and for which there is no perfect security solution. The extreme right-wing professes to want to give them less government money, but this does not help them become loyal citizens."
Wait, wait, WHAT????
"Tragically, the only thing that really seems to work is hitting rock-bottom. According to a report in The Times of Israel, as a result of the budget cuts, "for the first time in years, the number of Haredi students enrolling full-time in yeshiva study dropped by a whopping 4,400." Far from trying to "exterminate" charedim, the goal of the government is to encourage charedim to work for a living and to follow Chazal's eminently sensible directive that a person should teach his child a profession."
Why are you so opposed to helping Palestinian Israelis hit rock bottom? Isn't it in their *own* interests?
As decisive and aggressive Israel is at the moment, this must be applied to a peace plan. Israel can put forward a detailed scenario , something that could take time to implement but is agreed upon .At the moment the worlds attention is on the Mideast conflict. This is the perfect time for Israel to declare exactly what it wants. Personally, because of the War, I have educated myself in ways that were not possible before. I don't believe I alone. This declaration is to be proposed rationally and thoughtfully, in a way that will once for all time acknowledge the State of Israel and its sophisticated understanding of it's place in the world. At this juncture it would not be necessary to ask Palestinians what they want. Israel will come up with a plan to treat all people fairly, as democracies do and let the Israel document serve as the chief document for future peace. As observant Jews, we know Israel's true mission to serve as a "Light" unto the world. Reading such well written strategy will be the first of lighting the world. As Jews we have been disproportionately successful by would standards. Our disproportionate ability to defend ourselves is also well known. If we are 'chosen', it is not insurmountable to make peace. Hashem has given us this purpose. Military might all recognize, but about a doctrine that is realistic and at the same time, a document towards an increase of holiness will also take place. This is our highest moment. However, we start such a challenge, we must get did of Netanyahu and his government. because of their colossal failure they cannot be part of this process. Every thing they will touch and advocate for since October 7th will be tainted and never be beneficial. To create a very very detailed and complex declaration the enemies within Israel must first be defeated. Now, in addition to IDF action , a new front of reasonable and accurate future will be made to the world. At the moment, in a climate of WW3, we can state and propose a reality that will do as much good in the world, more so than the evils of World War
Rabbi Slifkin, that was a courageous effort on your part, and you deserve praise for it.
There are many points in the development with which I disagree, but having a vision for the future, something else than the usual cycle of violence, that's the most important part.
The clarity of thoughts expressed in this writing must be shared with all political factions in America and beyond. Iran's role has been defined and America should be supportive of Rationalist Judaism thinking related to Hamas and other terrorist thinking.
Little Tip: posts like this, in which NS claims, again, to have the SOLE correct view, whilst and everyone else's is based on "delusions" that only he himself alone is smart enough to apprehend - simply cannot be taken seriously. Your arrogance, which once might have been amusingly charming, is starting to grow tedious.
Since the correctly stated delusions of the Palestinians are innate and embedded in their culture, religion, and national identity, there is no realistic way that they can be dispelled, despite the claim that this can be done, the obviously flawed comparisons to Germany and Japan notwithstanding. Thus, proposing that we remove these delusions is pointless and fruitless. Given this, there is *no* realistic plan to resolve the conflict in a fundamental way. The very virtues of the post in their correct description of the delusions that exist are what makes the title ("a realistic plan") ironically completely incorrect.