Advice to My Fellow Jews
By Vic Rosenthal
November 17, 2017
Right now, today, is a critical point in Jewish history.
Maybe you don’t think so, because it’s easy to be distracted by the small
stuff. But we need to step back and look at the forest instead of the trees.
Israel, a Jewish state reborn after almost two millennia,
is facing a real threat to its survival – perhaps as great or greater than at
any time since 1948. The threat is from Iran, which a) has taken control of
Lebanon and built a massive rocket and missile installation aimed at our
critical infrastructure, b) has achieved strategic dominance of critical
territory in Iraq and Syria, will soon have its own troops and proxy militias on
our Syrian border as well (with the acquiescence of the US and Russia), and c)
either already has or could presently have nuclear weapons.
Iran’s enmity to Israel is a result of religious dogma,
and of Iran’s determination to dominate the Mideast and become a world
superpower by defeating the US. In the past few years it has moved steadily
toward its strategic goals, which include eliminating the Jewish state that it
sees as both an outpost of the US and the major obstacle to its local ambitions.
Some day historians will ask why an American president,
Barack Obama, did so much to help one of America’s most dangerous enemies –
and also to hurt the Jewish people. But that’s not my subject today.
At the same time that the Iranian threat grows, there is a
pandemic of Jew-hatred spreading throughout the world. Europe at times seems to
have regressed to pre-WWII conditions or worse, with Jews caught between
re-empowered right-wing Jew-baiting, fierce Islamic hatred, and left-wing
“intersectional” antisemitism. Similar phenomena exist in the US, although
less severe so far – except possibly on university campuses.
But while some European Jews are starting to worry about
their future, in America and in Israel – where they absolutely should
know better – they are acting irrationally, busying themselves with
trivia or even doing exactly the opposite of what’s needed to ensure their
survival and that of the Jewish state and people.
To European Jews – and here I include the UK – I have a
simple message: get out. The natives don’t like you (they never did, as Herzl
noticed), and Islamification is proceeding apace. It can’t get better, only
worse. I would like to see you make aliyah, but I understand the economic
realities, and also the risk from the coming Mideast war. This is a decision you
will have to make yourselves.
The US and Canada together have about half the world’s
Jews, 90% of these are non-Orthodox, and the majority of them don’t have a
clue about Jewish history or the Jewish state and the conflicts and issues
surrounding it. They are geographically far from the Middle East, and can’t
read Jewish texts or anything else in Hebrew. For most of them, their Judaism
has become attenuated and even replaced
by a form of liberal humanism that makes them blind to the dangers they face
and drives them away from the Jewish state. For these Jews I have several
messages, depending on which of several groups they fall into.
To the supporters of J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, If
Not Now, the New Israel Fund, and so on: if you still have positive feelings
about the Jewish people, please believe me that you are not doing it any favors,
and find some other cause – helping the homeless in your own country is a good
one – that will allow you to feel good about yourself without hurting your
To those who think that it is their duty to make Israel a
better place by activism on behalf of Jewish pluralism, improving the treatment
of our Arab citizens, protecting the rights of illegal immigrants or
Palestinians, or even promoting the (impossible) “two-state solution:”
please understand that you know less than nothing about these issues; and the
fact that your parents were Jewish does not give you the right to intervene in
our affairs. If you want to change things here, then make aliyah, vote, and send
your kids to the army. Otherwise leave us alone.
To those that think that they are making things better by
engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims, fighting “Islamophobia,” and
favoring increased immigration from Muslim countries, you are being used.
Don’t complain when the US and Canada have the same problems as Europe.
And now some suggestions for my fellow Israelis, for whom
ignorance is not an excuse.
If you are the Prime Minister you should be meeting
with the Chief of Staff and insisting that he develop a plan and a timetable to
fight and win the inevitable war with Iran and its proxies. Waiting to see what
will happen and then responding is not a strategy for victory: preemption is.
If you are the Minister of Defense, in addition to
assisting in planning for the unavoidable war, you should be directing massive
resources toward strengthening the home front, especially in the north of the
country, which will bear the brunt of Hezbollah’s 130,000 rockets when war
If you are the police commissioner, you should investigate
the seditious publisher of Ha’aretz Amos
Schocken, his poison-pen writer Gideon
Levy, or the arguably treasonous Breaking
the Silence organization, rather than engaging in politically-motivated
harassment of the Prime Minister and his wife.
If you are a Member of the Knesset, you should ask yourself
whether the “status quo” concerning whether markets should be open on
Shabbat in Tel Aviv is really a question that is worthy of your time right now.
The world and especially the region that we live in is
undergoing great strategic shifts, and their direction is not to our advantage.
It seems as though events are driven according to the plans of Iran and Russia,
and we are playing defense.
Israel is a powerful country, but one with little strategic
depth or capacity to absorb a surprise attack. The coming war promises to be
extremely destructive, both for us and for our opponents. In addition to
conventional warfare, it will see cyber attacks and possibly the use of
electromagnetic pulse weapons. Even the employment of nuclear weapons by
one or both sides is not unimaginable.
Israel must be ready to win the “kinetic” war, the
cyber battles, and the psychological warfare that will come along with them,
while protecting her population and infrastructure. Not an easy task – but one
that requires focus and unity of purpose. There are few obvious signs of this.
Of course I don’t know what’s going on behind the
scenes. Maybe the PM is sitting with the Chief of Staff every day (after his
regular police interrogation). Maybe they are working to ensure adequate
shelters for the population in the north of the country. Maybe Schocken is
planning to close his “newspaper” and move to Germany.
Most importantly, maybe the courageous decision has finally
been made to launch a preemptive attack and not wait for thousands of rockets to