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Reb Horowitz was approaching the end of his weekly sermon:
"... and I am asking you whether we should fall as low as our enemies did and copy them in their atrocities or we should continue to be a beacon and a model of behavior by sticking to the principles of our Torah? As Hillel once said: "The Torah teaches us not to do unto others what we don't want done unto us. The rest is commentaries". Shabbat Shalom!"
Reb Horowitz finished the sermon. He felt good about it. It took him a while to address again the issue of Israel/Palestinian relationship. Even thinking about it was gut wrenching. The sermon turned out good –– it raised a lot of good and difficult questions. There isn't a simple easy solution. There is only one long and convoluted way of mutual painful compromises and constant and unfortunately hostile communication. One just has to accept the reality.
Relieved by the fact that this subject finally was addressed Reb Horowitz indulged a bit more than usual drinking Manishevitz during the day and fell asleep in the evening reading Jewish Week. He woke up because someone was sitting across the reading room starring at him. Reb Horowitz somehow realized this is a visit he better pay attention to.
Who are you? he asked.
Some call me Archangel Gabriel though I think "True self" sounds better. I came here to talk to you about peace and security of Israel.
Why me? Why not Israeli Prime Minister?
He will be dealt with like the previous one was. We think there is a chance for you and other rabbis to become a part of the peace process.
Me? I am honored. Frankly, I do believe I thought of this for so long that I may really be more ready than some politicians to work on this. I am willing to pay any price for peace.
Are you sure? Or you are just saying that to sound good?
Yes, I am prepared for it. If necessary I am prepared to give East Jerusalem to Palestinians, or West Bank. I can even go back to 1948 border if this will give us peace. I will agree to the right of return to achieve peace if necessary. After all Palestinians lived here before Israel was established.
Is this it? Is this all you are prepared to give? Because if this is all, then you are not ready yet.
What do you mean? What else can we possibly give?
Oh, the price is much-much higher. You have to sacrifice your soul.
Is this some kind of allusion to Goethe? I give you my soul and you will make peace in Israel? Actually, yes, I agree on this. Yes, I will even sacrifice my soul. Do it! Do it now!
Oh, no, this is way too easy. The entire Israel has to do this.
How is this possible? The entire country will be filled with drones with no soul?
Oh, no. The country is not enough. I am talking about Jews everywhere. The entire Jewish population will consist of people suffering and agonizing every minute for the rest of their lives.
Because the solution will lead to that.
So, what is the solution?
The solution is very easy: to get all of Arabs out of the country called Israel forever. It is that simple. Deep down you know it, and everybody else knows it. You just don't want to accept this.
Transfer? Impossible! They will never go voluntarily and we would have to use force.
You mean we will have to go door-to-door and physically take kicking and screaming children, and old women, and old men, and push them into some kind of trucks and rush them to the border and then drop them on the other side of the border? We can't do this. Besides it will look exactly like what Nazis did to us. Because of our past we absolutely cannot do this.
O, yes, you can! Just because it looks similar it doesn't mean it is the same. When Nazis were putting Jews in trains and transported them to Auschwitz they did it to kill all the Jews. When Jews decide to put Arabs into trains and send them to live with their own brethren, they will be protecting the mere existence of Jewish country.
But from Arab perspective we are doing what Nazis did to us.
So maybe if you look at Holocaust from the perspective of a Nazi officer you will see some point in killing the Jews?
No! That was absolutely unquestionably evil!
See? Not all the situations are reversible or morally equivalent. If you had to put an Arab in a train car, would you enjoy doing it? Or would you at least think "this is my job and I have to do it regardless"?
No, I would be torturing myself inside.
And this is the difference between what Nazis did and what you would be doing!
But those Arabs will be put in refugee camps forever and they will live miserable lives forever.
And do you think it will be Jewish fault? It will be the fault of the country which has these camps. They can assimilate their brethren. If they don't it is certainly not Jewish fault.
We, Jews, simply cannot force ourselves be that cruel.
O, yes, you can! You did this in Gush Katif to your own people.
That was different. They were obstacles to peace process.
O, so you are willing to do this to the "real" obstacles to peace process? You just don't think Arabs are? It's all those religious settlements that cause problems, correct?
Well, no, but it was impossible to protect them among the hostile population, and the world was pressing. Israel had to make a choice. There were no good choices.
Good choices? Why do you think there have to be good choices? Let me ask you something: If you are walking with your wife and a daughter and some guy corners you in a dark place, takes out a gun and tells you he will kill only one of you, whom would you chose?
I would choose myself.
I thought so.
Is this wrong? Whom was I supposed to choose?
I was hoping your answer would be "I would try to kill him".
That was a trick question!
No, it wasn't. The world is full of situations where someone presents options you don't like. You don't have to choose one of them. In this case you chose to believe the word of someone who is a murderer. If he killed you why would you think he would put the gun back and walk away, rather than kill your wife and daughter in addition to you?
But in case of Israel there is no better option.
Well, in the question I asked you the option to kill the guy who wanted to kill you or your family member isn't that great either. In that case your wife and your daughter would watch you killing the guy right in front of their eyes. Can you imagine the trauma they would suffer (this is assuming you manage to kill the guy)? Do you think they would ever be the same? Your entire family would need to work on overcoming this for the rest of your lives. But you would be alive!
But in case of Israel...
Unfortunately, in case of Israel the time for good options has passed long ago. There aren't any good ones left. This includes the choice you made to abandon the settlements. It was not only a bad choice, but a bad choice, which gives away the Promised Land. However, there are choices where the people of Israel will at least be standing after the smoke clears. And I just offered it to you –– The Land of Israel was given to the Jews only. And this is how it should be. And the entire nation would have to work on healing. Not by saying how awful it was but on how necessary it was to save Israel.
Even if I were Prime Minister I wouldn't be able to make this decision and order the deportation.
This is another common misconception. Do you think that by not making the decision you are simply postponing it? Not so. By not making the decision you are allowing the other side to choose the decision that is beneficiary for them. In case of being cornered by the bad guy if you refused to make a decision whom he should kill, what do you think would happen?
He would probably kill all of us.
Correct! And all this because you didn't make a quick decision right away. So who'd have won at the end?
But with Israel...
Yes, with Israel. If you don't make the decision I am offering you, and you survive the bombing and direct assaults, they will just win demographically. And what do you think happens when there are more Arabs than Jews in Israel?
They would get control over Knesset.
Correct! And then they will turn Israel into another Muslim state and you will all be killed or become dhimmies.
But the society and the world is not ready for what you are proposing.
But the clock is ticking nevertheless. You know, there is an appointed time for everything and there is a time for every event under heaven. Your time is up, Reb Horowitz.
And the figure disappeared.
Reb Horowitz jerked and woke up. He was still sitting in his favorite arm-chair holding the Jewish Week in his hand. He looked up to the clock to check the time. He saw an unusual clock face where instead of hours it said "time to gather stones", "time to throw stones", "time to embrace", "time to shun embracing", "time to plant", and "time to uproot what is planted". There were no hands on the clock. Apparently, he was supposed to place his hands on the clock. Where? And the clock without hands just kept on ticking. Tick... tock... tick... tock... Like a bomb.
Dov Kahn is a computer scientist, born in the Ukraine and now living in the USA. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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