Catriel Lev's Blog: VeHaShalom VeHaEmmet

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Catriel Lev
כתריאל לב

Jun 8, 2010

Rioting for Settlements, Lo Alenu!

Unfortunately, Lo Alenu ("may it not happen to us"), some of the Jews in the community of Bet El (located in the Shomron) actually physically attacked our police officers and civil administration officials who came to dismantle structures in that settlement which are considered illegal, as reported in the Jerusalem Post online edition:

I really must stress how self-defeating this is, in addition to being absolutely wrong from a moral standpoint! Of course, morally it is wrong to attack officials of the government who are just doing the job they have been assigned. These are our fellow Jews whose job is to carry out the policies of the government. While I agree that those policies are totally incorrect regarding "the settlements", physically harming those who implement them is simply hooliganism, and can even, Chas VeShalom (Heaven forfend), lead to civil war, or at least Sinat Chinum (causeless hatred) between Jews! If the policies are wrong, then we must politically challenge the government about them and get those misguided policies changed; but there is NEVER a political reason to physically harm another Jew. All of the arguments that some political decision, as flawed as it may be, will eventually cause us to be attacked by Arabs, and therefore we must beat upon other Jews to stop this; all of those arguments are TOTALLY SPECIOUS! As much as I am extremely concerned about the welfare of our nation and our land, I have NEVER seen such a justification which actually stands up to simple common sense!

Additionally, as I mentioned above, these types of actions are self-defeating. If we can justify holding ourselves above the law because we are certain that this policy is wrong, then the left-wingers who are certain that having ANY settlements is morally wrong can easily justify themselves illegally uprooting settlements by any means they can find; and then social order totally breaks down when, as illustrated by the Mishnah (Avot 3:2), each person will swallow his fellow citizen alive!

These types of actions are also counterproductive and self-defeating because the purpose of having settlements is to expand our control over the land of Israel by having Israeli government control extend to each settlement. However, if we create "pirate" settlements, not legally recognized by the government of Israel, and if we physically battle with the bureaucrats and the police and the soldiers sent to dismantle such settlements; we actually distance Israeli control from those areas, since we increase government antagonism toward having settlements there! The only productive way to expand Israeli control over our land is to take the battle to the government institutions and make it a political and ideological battle, not a physical one! We have to make it clear to our government and our Knesset members why it is important to have Israeli control over these territories of our land, and, since there are many cogent reasons for this, we should not be doubting our ability to win the battle in the political and ideological arena! We must remember that if we use violence against our own brethren to force our point of view across, it is as if we have declared that Jewish Sechel (reason) is not strong enough to convince the Jews to do the right thing, and we are forced to use the evil tools of Esau to achieve the goals of Israel!

Let's hope that all Israelis will remain law-abiding citizens, and that we will be able to use our political acumen to direct our government into more productive policies!

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