(NOTE: Emphasis is mine)
And when the king of Israel read the missive, he tore his clothes, and said: 'Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends me to cure a man of his leprosy? But know and see that he plots against me.' (From the Prophets portion for this week -
Kings 2, Chapter 5:7)
Yehoram, king of Israel, is afraid of his own shadow. In his wildest dreams he cannot imagine that the Chief of Staff of the Aramite army - that had already wreaked havoc on the Kingdom of Israel - was returning to Israel at the head of his army just to consult with the prophet Elisha on a personal medical issue. Yehoram had already turned his back on the G-d of Israel in an attempt to be normal and to join the enlightened family of nations that surrounded him.
Just imagine if after he had roundly scolded and humiliated Netanyahu during his recent trip to the US, Obama would have sent him a fax saying he would like to come to Jerusalem on a private visit to consult with a particular rabbi.
The verse in Kings reflects the confusion, impotence, fear and breakdown of sovereignty that plagued the kingdom of Israel after it had disengaged from G-d. How could it possibly be that Na'aman - the renowned Aramite general - was specifically seeking the G-d of Israel? "Why is he telling me tall tales? What am I? G-d, Who kills and brings people to life? I smell a plot."
It is almost Israel's Memorial Day, to be followed by Independence Day - two sides of Israel's sovereignty coin. Never has Jewish sovereignty in the revitalized Land of Israel cowered in the shadow of such a large question mark.
Ironically, Israel's physical might has never been greater. Economically and militarily, Israel is a regional superpower and even more. But the State of Israel's disengagement from G-d has led to its inability to justify its existence. It has brought about its broad international de-legitimization, its loss of military deterrence and the rapid progress of weapons of mass destruction of all types to our doorstep - met by nothing more than Israeli impotence.
All the options offered by Israel's leadership - from the Likud, Labor and Kadimah - are captive to the erroneous assumptions that have brought us to this point. "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how," Nietzsche explained. The current Israeli leadership cannot answer the 'why.' It does not understand our destiny in the Land of Israel and as a result cannot draw the strength it needs from that destiny to preserve our existence here.
Pointing to Auschwitz as an answer to the 'why' used to be an easy solution. But it no longer works. Israel divested itself of its role as representative of the Jewish Nation - after all, we are a state of all its citizens - and in the March of the Living, Israel's VIPs speak in English. The generation of murderers and their victims has by and large passed on, the international community no longer has a guilty conscience and the compulsory rounds of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum do not prevent the world's leaders from asking difficult questions for which Israel's rootless leaders have no answers.
All the platitudes of the Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff about never again depositing our fate in the hands of others are no more than lip service. Netanyahu's entire policy on Iran's nuclear program is one large deposit of our security in the hands of others.
Instead of reaffirming its sovereignty by strengthening its Jewish identity, Israel's leadership turns time and again to the mirage of international acceptance in exchange for pieces of our homeland. The result is always the opposite of what the leaders tell us to expect. Their knee-jerk reflex is a given in a vicious cycle from which they cannot extricate themselves. He who is not firmly entrenched in his Jewish destiny above and beyond present reality cannot pull himself out of the quicksand of the normalcy ethos that Israel's leadership has created.
Perhaps the denial of Jewish identity was a necessary departure from the long years of exile, a clean slate on which to build a real state with economic and military might. But now that those goals have been achieved, we must remove the scaffolding that was (maybe) needed for the establishment of the State. Now it is choking us. The State of Israel must begin to run on its inherent strength; not only its economic or military prowess, but first and foremost, on its moral might. The only way to connect to our intrinsic moral strength is to connect to the Jewish roots of the Nation of Israel.
Binyamin Netanyahu is a perfect example of a leader completely enshrouded in the old mentality, with no ability to cut himself free. He does not differ on this fundamental point from any of the other national leaders on the scene. The fact that Netanyahu has already agreed to the American/Arab demands to a total retreat to the Green Line - including in Jerusalem (with the exception of some minor territory exchanges) should come as no surprise. This is the necessary outcome of the process described above. Any Israeli leader who denies the Jewish destiny of the State of Israel would do the same. As far as they are concerned, reality leaves them with no other choice.
Only faith-based leadership inspired by our Jewish destiny can extricate Israel from its current crisis, confusion, fear and impotence. When Israel will have faith based leadership, the shadows looming over its sovereignty will give way to universal appreciation for the G-d of Israel and the Nation of Israel's pivotal role in perfecting the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty.
Now is the time!
can turn the State of the Jews
into the Jewish State.
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