Posted by Orit Arfa
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has a tradition of issuing blistering critiques of any American administration when it undermines Israel's best interest and, of course, no exception was made for President Obama's. If we can judge from Obama's record, his administration will continue to advance policies, appointments, and ideals that may not serve Israel's sovereignty and strength.
These have included:
We at the ZOA understand that fierce Zionists may feel upset and nervous. What will this mean for Israel? Only time will tell for sure, but we can be prepared. We can be vigilant. We can regroup and come up with new strategies to ensure a pro-Zionist administration, Senate and Congress. We can implement creative ways to educate the public and elected officials about Zionism and the importance of an unapologetic defense of Israel.
But we can also be there for Israel--as a united community--no matter who is in office in the US. We can let Israel know that Americans Jews of all political stripes have Israel's back--and front. Should Israel attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program, we can expect Iran's Islamist proxies to attack Israel back. We can be in Israel to support her when she needs us most. Join us and a host of pro-Israel organizations for an evening in which you can learn how to volunteer in Israel in time of crisis. On December 3, 7 pm, we're hosting Adi Zahavi, CEO of Emergency Volunteer Project for Israel (www.evp.org.il), who will discuss concrete steps that we as individuals and a community can take to fly to Israel in case of war and assist on the homefront. The Los Angeles location will be announced soon. To sign up, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also write to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to let him know that we will stand behind Israel and will work to increase support for Israel in the US, but that, ultimately, Israel is a sovereign country that must act in its own self-interest, American support notwithstanding. His e-mail addresses are: Memshala@pmo.gov.il and email@example.com.
The Jewish nation will prevail!
11.12.12 at 2:55 pm | Learn how to volunteer in Israel in times of war. . .
10.19.12 at 9:40 am | Yoram Hazony's new book "The Philosophy of Hebrew. . .
8.20.12 at 7:59 pm |
8.3.12 at 10:36 am | ZOA San Diego chapter conducts peaceful protest. . .
8.1.12 at 6:11 pm | *And Sex Appeal
7.18.12 at 7:07 pm | Don't be shy! Embrace the findings of the Levy. . .
4.24.12 at 3:49 pm | Allen Shamblin's "The House That Built Me" could. . . (12)
1.10.12 at 4:13 pm | There's something very serene and right with. . . (9)
3.5.12 at 9:51 pm | He often uses lofty words—like “dignity,”. . . (6)
October 19, 2012 | 9:40 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
A country's domestic and foreign policies are often shaped by the philosophical foundations of its system of government. America is a free and prosperous country because the Declaration of Independence holds dear life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness subsumes the freedoms guarded in the Bill of Rights. On the other hand, Islamic states whose ideas are rooted in obedience to Allah and the strict laws of the Koran are often rife with chauvinism and lack of individual rights. The Jewish state has no constitution and no bill of rights, and perhaps this is one reason why the Israeli system of government is, if anything, mixed: part secular, part religious; part capitalistic, part socialist; part individualistic, part collectivist.
Some argue that the Founding Fathers of the United States were influenced by Hebrew Scriptures, although academia often attributes the flowering of Western Civilization to the Greek philosophic tradition. The apparent dichotomy between “Athens” (reason) and Jerusalem (revelation) is one that is explored and debunked in scholar Yoram Hazony’s incredible new book, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, which I had the privilege of reading before it was published by Cambridge University Press this year. Hazony, who is also Provost of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, will be talking about his new book in Los Angeles on Monday, October 22, 7:30 pm at Stephen S. Wise Temple. (DVR the presidential debate or listen to it on the radio. This is a talk not to be missed.)
Hazony successfully makes the case for reading the Hebrew Bible as a book of reason, not revelation. “If we want to understand the ideas the Hebrew Scriptures were written to advance,” he writes in the first chapter, “we should read the texts much as we read the writings of Plato or Hobbes – as works of reasons or philosophy composed to assist individuals and nations looking to discover the true and the good in accordance with man’s natural abilities.”
This book is a watershed for academia, which has largely rejected the Hebrew Bible from inclusion into the pantheon of great philosophical documents, but the book also has the potential to transform our understanding of the role that Hebrew Scriptures, or Torah, should and could have in shaping the philosophical and hence political foundations of the Jewish State.
The Torah is dismissed all too often by secular Jews as an antiquated relic containing little value to the development of the Jewish state. Orthodox Jews often elevate the ritual aspects of law contained therein over the broad philosophic principles. Indeed, the secular founders adopted much of Britain’s parliamentary system and codes of law. Some Orthodox Jews seek to impose laws relating to halachic observance upon the citizens of Israel. This is what causes secular Jews to believe that any invocation of the Bible to guide the governance of the state smacks of theocracy.
In reading the Torah as a book of reason, Hazony argues, we find that a major theme and even virtue of the Torah is non-conformity and rebellion against unjust authority, whether it be family, government, and even God himself. Abel, Abraham, and Moses were all free thinkers, seeking to live the best lives they could according to ethics flowing from rational observation, finding better ways of living and being, and heeding the call to perfect the world according to the values they ultimately deemed best for advancing humanity.
Hazony re-introduces Jeremiah as the Bible's champion of reason, with Jeremiah telling the Israelites: “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, and see, if you can, and know, and search its broad places: If you can find a man, if there is one who does justice and seeks truth, and I will forgive her.”
Hazony sets up the archetype of the shepherd (the wandering free thinker) against that of the farmer (the toiler bound to the land). To understand these archetypes in modern terms, I’d like to think of the shepherd as the hi-tech entrepreneur who could wander anywhere with his brain power and create prosperity. In that sense Israel, with its economy indebted to the hi-tech industry, is the land of shepherds. The farmers are those dependent on their immediate natural resources for subsistence. In that sense, the oil rich nations of the Middle East are the lands of farmers. And it is an immediate dependency on natural resources, or colloquially “making a living,” that often compel individuals and nations such as Israel to sacrifice their long-term rational and ethical self-interest for immediate practical concerns. (Watch the video trailer below!)
It is precisely Hazony’s reading of the Torah that can guide Israel toward writing a constitution that ensures the Jewish State remains democratic, rational and free because, ultimately, the founding document of the Jewish people is about reason and an ethical system flowing from reason. And it is the call toward independent thought and anti-authoritarianism—the qualities of the shepherd--that Israel must embrace to defy world opinion and do what is ultimately just and true for her survival.
August 20, 2012 | 7:59 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
ZOA board members are among the sixty-five American Jewish leaders who signed a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to adopt the findings of the Levy Report, which asserts that the “settlements” in Judea and Samaria are legal in accordance with international law. Click here to read the ZOA statement in support of the Levy Report.
The report, which was authored by a panel of renowned Israeli jurists comprised of Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker, and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tehiya Shapira, recommends against the future demolition of communities that had been deemed to be “illegal outposts.”
The letter endorsing the Levy Report, which was spearheaded by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel, is signed by dozens of prominent Jewish leaders from across the United States, with additional people joining in support of the letter daily. The Shomron Liaison Office has initiated a petition to back this effort.
“As the Levy Report correctly notes, Israel is not engaged in ‘military occupation’ in relation to the communities in Judea and Samaria,” the American Jewish leaders wrote in their letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“We believe that this conclusion vindicates the Israeli government, which has been unjustifiably vilified by many in the international community, simply because there are Jews living in this particular area of the Jewish State.”
“Like you, we recognize and respect the fact that the Jewish people have inalienable rights to the land of Israel which stem from the Bible, and we are familiar with the historic legacy of the movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, and Herut/Likud, which you now lead, that has long endorsed Jewish rights in the entirety of the land of Israel,” continued the Jewish leaders.
“Viewing it from this perspective, the Levy Report confirms what we all know to be true and just, and it certainly warrants your support and endorsement.”
In addition to expressing their staunch support of the Levy Report, the American Jewish leaders urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to reject the claims about the report that were set forth in a recent letter organized by the Israel Policy Forum.
“In our opinion, the individuals who have urged you not to accept the findings of the Levy Report under the pretext that Israel’s status as a Jewish and democratic state could somehow be compromised by its adoption are doing a disservice to the State of Israel,” the American Jewish leaders wrote in their letter to the Prime Minister. “Despite assertions to the contrary, the conclusions of the Levy Report do not ‘place…the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.’ We categorically reject this absurd declaration and sincerely hope and pray that you do the same.”
Click here to read the letter and sign the petition.
Learn more about Judea & Samaria, and have a lot of fun in the process, by joining the ZOA at its Sept. 10 mega event “A Taste of Judea & Samaria” featuring wine tastings from the region and guest speakers offering an insider’s view into one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented regions in Israel.
August 3, 2012 | 10:36 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
When the ZOA heard the news that J Street was organizing a launch reception in San Diego for their new branch there, the ZOA San Diego chapter quickly mobilized to ensure no false advertising. J Street poses as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” political home for American Jews when its record and actions actually show it to be a pro-Arab, anti-Israel group. For example, J Street opposed Israel’s defensive Operation Cast Lead military operation to stem rocket attacks from Gaza; it refused to condemn the libelous Goldstone report—which Goldstone himself later retracted; it endorses Congressmen with poor records on Israel while working to unseat pro-Israel Congressmen; and it receives financial contributions from Arab sources that are hostile to Israel.
Members of the local San Diego chapter were on hand with posters and J Street fact sheets to make sure no one who attended the event was fooled by its snazzy marketing and cheery messages of a “peace” that essentially means giving into genocidal terrorist demands. Here’s an except from Donald Harrison’s coverage about the event in the San Diego Jewish World:
What percentage in the overflow audience of more than 100 persons at the historic temple in Heritage Park agreed that the Israeli government’s policies are analogous to the intentions of a would-be drunk driver could not be assessed, For the most part, the audience remained silent and respectful during the speeches, and that was true even of those audience members who before the start of the meeting had been picketing outside with such signs as “J Street; the street to Israel’s destruction;” J Street and Hamas, B.F.F;” “Negotiate with ?;” and another signifying that peace is not equal to Jihad.
Howard Dyckman, president of the San Diego chapter of ZOA, said before the meeting that he considers J Street to be “anti-Israel.” He said that J Street wants “the U.S. to put pressure on Israel and they want to appease Hamas.” Furthermore, Dyckman said, the Palestinians have not given up the idea of destroying Israel.
Buhai said all the members of the House and the Senate supported by J Street are pro Israel, mentioning in particular U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, the latter of whom spoke at the J Street meeting.
Orit Arfa, ZOA executive director in its Western Region, before the meeting decried the two-state solution as an “illusion, because it would only lead to compromising Israel’s security and ultimately the dissolution of Israel.” She added that until the Muslim threat against Israel is neutralized, there is no possibility for a solution. “Whenever you have a trade of value for the cessation of violence, it is not a fair trade. You are compromising your security and your ethical principles.”
August 1, 2012 | 6:11 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
*And Sex Appeal
Being a confident Zionist isn’t merely an expression of a political worldview or Jewish values. It’s an approach to life that can permeate and improve all aspects of our lives, especially our relationships: with our bosses, our family members—and especially our romantic partners.
In honor of Tu B’Av on August 3, the Jewish Valentine’s Day celebrating the beginning of the grape harvest in Temple times, when the single girls of Jerusalem would dance in the vineyards dressed in white, I present a brief common-sense guide on how the principles involved in being a proud, confident Zionist are also involved in singles finding their beshert.
1. Self-respect and self-knowledge
A good relationship is based on the union of two people who have a positive sense of who they are. Self-esteem and self-respect is predicated on self-actualization, which is rewarding but difficult work. It involves understanding and discovering your values and goals, interests and likes, strengths and weaknesses. It involves overcoming past hurts to face the future, particularly relationships, from a non-reactive place of self-knowledge. Self-contained people are more concerned with sharing the bounty of their intellect, kindness, strength and love, rather than merely taking or exploiting another’s virtue to fulfill their own voids, whether personal, emotional, financial, intellectual, or social.
When it comes to defending Israel, Zionists must first and foremost understand and promote Israel’s essence: liberator and protectorate of the land of Israel. Israel’s enemies attack Israel where she is most sensitive: her identity as a Jewish state. They call Israel an “occupier” and “aggressor,” making her doubt her moral foundation. True, Israel has many other virtues, and Israel advocates proudly parade them: Israel built a modern country in 50 years and became a leader in hi-tech, science, education, and world philanthropy despite adversity. Pro-Israel activists should of course be proud of Israel’s economic and cultural accomplishments, but flashing them is like a guy broadcasting his wealth or a woman focusing on her beauty to lure a partner. It’s what pick-up artists call “outer game.” Confident Zionists have “inner game.” They defend Israel from a deep sense of her moral value and her essence as the historic homeland of the Jewish people which Israel miraculously conquered and expanded in several wars of self-defense.
2. Reason as the motivating force in relationships
At the risk of sounding unromantic, healthy relationships are like rational “trades” of mind, body, and soul between two independent people. A great achievement of the modern world is that we can choose our partners based on real love and not on the need for financial security or social status. And the hallmark of a rational relationship is civil communication.
Applied to Israel, confident Zionists encourage Israel to develop rational relationships with other countries. As an overall rational state governed by rule of law, promoting civil liberties, and advancing science and trade, Israel is ill-suited to develop alliances or peace treaties with Arab states, monarchies and dictatorships, including the Palestinian Authority. Yet Israel is being pressured to develop a relationship with Palestinian Arabs not because they share values, but because Israel needs “peace” to be accepted by others. The “peace process” forces a relationship based on fear, not reason. Relationships not built on shared values naturally degenerate into emotional blackmail, misery, and, in worst cases, violence.
3. Don’t settle or compromise on essentials
Well-meaning people, especially Jewish mothers, often tell Jewish singles to “settle!” Contrary to conventional wisdom, no one should settle in the most important relationship of his or her life. People will self-respect and self-knowledge generally can’t or don’t have to settle because they are at peace with themselves. A partner expands the joy they already feel. Knowing who they are, they can identify qualities in others that would increase their happiness.
All too often, other countries act like pushy mothers when they push Israel to make “difficult compromises for the sake of peace.” This pressure undermines Israel’s self-esteem and decision-making power. A more important emotion than peace in a relationship is joy. It’s easy to live in “peace” with another person—simply don’t talk to each other or avoid conflict. Compromises never really have to be made to achieve happiness because in a good relationship the trade is always win-win.
4. Embrace independence
Hastily going into a relationship mainly to ease loneliness, please parents, achieve social status, or fill an emotional void usually leads to choosing the wrong partner. Any divorcee will attest that being single is infinitely better than being in a relationship with the wrong person, or worse, an abusive relationship. No one should have to suffer in an abusive relationship.
Similarly, confident Zionists should prefer that Israel remains “single” rather than be involved in alliances with countries that don’t understand her or, worse, put her down. As for the Palestinians, the “peace process” is nothing more than a severely abusive relationship since the Palestinians use brutal violence against Israelis and Jews as a bargaining tool. If anything, Israel needs a restraining order from Arabs or the courage to fight back and defend herself from attack.
5. Have faith!
Even when it gets lonely, single men and women must have faith that their beloved is around the bend and continue to develop themselves as individuals until their soulmate arrives. Israel must have faith that so long as she acts in the world with integrity based on self-respect, her conflict with her neighbors will be resolved in an honorable way and that she will magnetize world approval and admiration.
It’s widely known that the sexiest quality in a man or a woman is confidence. Just as singles must have confidence in their virtues and ability to find and keep love, so should Israel and the Zionists that love her.
July 18, 2012 | 7:07 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
We at the ZOA praise and endorse the Levy Report that has affirmed the legality of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (and in Gaza, from which Jewish communities were forcibly uprooted in 2005, which the ZOA, alone among major American Jewish organizations, warned against and opposed). The ZOA urges the Knesset to adopt the Levy Report and hence assert Israel’s legal, historical, and ethical rights to Judea & Samaria.
Here are some of the main conclusions of the Levy Report:
“...from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of ‘occupation’ as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”
“ ...the provisions of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding transfer of populations, cannot be considered to be applicable and were never intended to apply to the type of settlement activity carried out by Israel in Judea and Samaria.”
“Therefore, according to International law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered to be illegal.”
“With regard to settlements established in Judea and Samaria on state lands or on land purchased by Israelis with the assistance of official authorities such as the World Zionist Organization Settlements Division and the Ministry of Housing, and which have been defined as “unauthorized” or “illegal” due to the fact that they were established without any formal government decision, our conclusion is that the establishment of such settlements was carried out with the knowledge, encouragement and tacit agreement of the most senior political level - government ministers and the Prime Minister, and therefore such conduct is to be seen as implied agreement.”
The ZOA urges Prime Minister Netanyahu not to be bullied into not adopting the report, which was prepared by a highly regarded commission, by groups and individuals who are more concerned with world opinion rather than what is right and true. World opinion will actually sway in Israel’s favor should Israel remain steadfast and consistent in standing up for her rights and in the truth: the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria are legal.
As ZOA National President Mort Klein stated on the ZOA press release: “It is important that a respected legal commission under the chairmanship of one of the Supreme Court’s retired justices has both reaffirmed this truth as well as making recommendations for avoiding in the future the complications and arbitrary procedures whereby Jewish life and construction in Judea and Samaria have become unnecessarily fraught. This situation has helped contribute to the utterly false notion that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are both illegal and an obstacle to peace.
“Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem has a fundamental legitimacy and poses no obstacle to a true peace if Palestinians are ready for one, so the repeated, periodic international calls for a Jewish construction freeze, or even the removal of Jewish communities, would remain inappropriate even if the prospect of genuine peace negotiations with a truly peaceful Palestinian partner were possible.”
“Why may not 300,000 Jews live among 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria while 1.2 million Arabs live among 6 million Jews in Israel? No peace can be built on the notion that the biblical, historical and religious heartland of the Jewish people, or any territory for that matter, must be judenrein. For anyone to say that no Jews should live in these territories simply because they are Jews is to endorse a racist, anti-Semitic policy.”
So what (and where?) is all of this about? Come see for yourself with the ZOA and One Israel Fund’s amazing tourism to Judea & Samaria. Let the land itself speak for itself! Join us from Dec. 24, 2012 - Jan. 1, 2013. Find out more at www.visityesh.com.
June 18, 2012 | 8:17 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
The Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has assembled a shocking report on the indoctrination of Palestinian children in Gaza kindergartens, and how teachers inspire children to become jihad terrorists when they grow up.
An article on the website of the Al-Quds Brigades—founded as the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a designated U.S. terrorist organization—records that in their graduations ceremony, pre-schoolers dressed in uniforms of both “martyrs” and IDF soldiers to act out scenes of fighting the “Zionist” enemy. Click here to see the disturbing photos, which portray the kids performing military drills, holding a funeral for “martyrs,” and saluting the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The esteemed “educators” and adorable pre-schoolers are recorded saying things like:
A kindergarten teacher says that her aim is to raise the kids to be “jihad fighters and commanders who will defend the soil of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
“The culture of resistance has been instilled in the minds and hearts of the children of the Gaza Strip, who do not enjoy freedom like the other children in the world, due to the crimes that are perpetrated by the Zionists against them and the rest of the Palestinians, from 1948 until today….”
“[The children] have undertaken to carry on the legacy of their fathers who have been honored with martyrdom [and are now] in the highest levels [of Paradise], or who are hidden in the darkness of [Israeli] prisons.”
A boy named Hamza, son of a slain terrorist, dressed in an army uniform and bearing a wooden rifle, says, “When I grow up, I will [join] the ranks of the Islamic Jihad, and resist the Zionist enemy and fire rockets at him until I die as a martyr and join my father in Paradise…..When I grow up, I want to blow myself up among the Zionists on a bus and kill them in a martyrdom operation….(‘Indoctrination To Jihad And Resistance In Gaza Kindergartens,’ MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4786, June 12, 2012.)
These are extraordinary examples of the culture of hatred and incitement to violence being fostered in Palestinian society, with little outcry among Muslims, or for that matter, Jews and humanitarians the world over. These are Nazi-like efforts to dehumanize the Jewish people. One must ask: who really bars the freedom of the Palestinian people—and their children? Teaching children their lives belong to a hateful cause they can barely understand, shoving guns in their hands, inspiring them towards suicide are such heinous crimes that I’m surprised there is so much silence. Then again, when one looks at the record of outcry before World War II, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the silence. As long as Palestinian children are raised this way, there is no chance for peace.
To learn more about the Islamic tradition of Jew-hatred as the real cause for failure to achieve peace in the Middle East, come to the talk the ZOA is hosting with author, blogger, and activist, Pamela Geller, on June 24, Sunday, 11 am at the Jewish Federation building on Wilshire. Click here for more information about the event.
June 5, 2012 | 11:35 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
This month, 45 years ago, the Jewish people’s wildest dreams came true. Jews valiantly, independently and courageously defended themselves from an all too familiar threat of annihilation. They conquered, in a war of self-defense, the Sinai Peninsula; the Biblical heartland, Judea and Samaria; and, of course, the Temple Mount, the focal point of Jewish longing for centuries in the capital of Jerusalem, the city of peace.
But not long after, Israeli leaders and citizens began to doubt their moral and legal right to this incredible victory. Perhaps the dream was so great and awe-inspiring, that this formerly beaten-up, victimized people weren’t prepared for its realization, which would place them in a new position of independence, power, self-reliance and strength. Jews, after all, had never sought to realize this dream through the belligerency employed by their enemies.
Fortunately, there were also brave Jews who proudly seized the victory and began to rebuild the great, lost land—the “Atlantis” of ancient Israel—under international law and the sanction of successive Israeli governments (despite allegations to the contrary). Non-dreamers maligned these Zionist pioneers as messianic extremists as they lovingly built beautiful communities in a land Israelis liberated from the iron rule of Jordan, and also Egypt, bringing to the region commerce, education, sophisticated infrastructure, and civil society. Unlike their oppressors, Jews didn’t drive the “other”—Arabs—out, but shared their blessings.
Alas, the Jewish dream contradicted the pan-Arab, religiously and culturally inspired “dream” of a Middle East free of Jewish sovereignty. Despising the realization of Greater Israel, Arabs recast the formerly Jordanian and Egyptian Arabs into dispossessed “Palestinians” living under Israeli “Occupation.” It was an insidious ploy to kill the Jewish dream and bring Israel back to the suicidal pre-1967 borders. Dreams are never morally valid if, at their heart, they seek destruction and murder of another people. One only needs to read Palestinian textbooks to understand the “dream of Palestine” is an Arab state from the Jordan River to the sea.
No sooner did many Israelis backtrack from the 1967 victory, buying into the lie that the great Jewish dream was founded upon the backs of another “people’s” national aspirations. Afraid the Jewish state would crumble if it absorbed a size-able Arab population, it shied away from continuing to install civil rule over a people accustomed to despots. Instead of annexing the territory and creating a strong, democratic, inspiring super-power in the Middle East, Israeli leaders successively created the conditions to reverse its victory, thereby desecrating the sacrifice of the thousand Israelis who died fighting for Jerusalem. Essentially, the Two-State “Solution,” as it came to be called, only propped up a mini-terrorist entity and wrought more terror, fear, bloodshed as well as the de-legitimization of Jewish national aspirations.
Those who accuse the brave Jews of Judea and Samaria, and those expelled from Gaza, of being messianists are not entirely incorrect, but it is a high compliment when viewed through a rational prism. Isaiah’s messianic vision is one of true world peace, not a peace that involves the unfair trade of land for the cessation of violence; a tenuous cease-fire, at best; or a Jewish ghetto living alongside an Arab one. True peace would demand and ensure that Arabs reform their generations-long, religiously inspired hatred of Jews and instead accept, whether happily or not, proud Jewish dreamers living in their midst.
Should Israel hold onto the Temple Mount and its Biblical heartland, it would not only accept its own victory but give hope to dreamers worldwide—not to “dreamers” of negative values—hatred, murder, and dictatorship—but dreamers of the great virtues underlying the Hebrew bible: the sanctity of life, a government based on moral absolutes, and true freedom. Embracing the Jewish dream and relinquishing the fantasy of the Two-State “solution” would establish Jerusalem as the city of peace where belligerent nations turn their swords into plowshares.
Orit Arfa is the Executive Director of Zionist Organization of America, Western Region. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.