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|Applying Herzl's Vision to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Lecture at the Vienna Congress. June 2004
1. It is a great honor to speak in Herzl’s hometown and the birthplace of Zionism. The question we must pose is whether Zionism is still viable – whether Herzl’s dream has come true.
Most Israelis would answer this question in the affirmative. For them, the Zionist mission – Herzl’s vision – consists in creating a safe haven for the Jews. In that sense, Zionism has become reality: the Jewish state has been revived. The journey is over. We should be living like everyone else and enjoying life.
However, for Israel life doesn’t quite work out the way it does for everyone else, and that shows that the above is a superficial understanding of the Zionist mission and Herzl’s concept. Many fine academic works, such as research done by my respected older friend Professor Jacob Allerhand, show that Herzl’s vision was Messianic – it was a vision of Israel’s High Mission.
However, no individual academician or writer could explain the meaning of Herzl’s mission. This answer should be provided by the entire people of Israel. We should work on this together. For modern Israel’s refusal to come to terms with its mission is the root cause of all its modern troubles.
Herzl viewed the revival of Jewish statehood as only the first stage – the revivial of the Body. The second stage was to fill this Body with a spirit – one that would liberate the entire mankind. As Herzl wrote, “All over the world, they will be praying in synagogues and churches for the success of our enterprise.”
Unfortunately, Israel has rested on the first stage, forgetting that a body without a spirit cannot survive. A body without a spirit is a corpse, and it begins to disintegrate.
And this is what we witness nowadays. In modern Israel, failure to realize its high mission leads to the physical disintegration of the body of the State: the loss of territorial integrity and moral decadence.
This brings into question even the success of the first phase, as Israel turns from a safe haven for Jews into the most dangerous place for them in the West.
2. So what is - this High Mission of Israel? In order to realize it, we must see history as a metaphysical process, a spiritual evolution of mankind from being enslaved by their instincts to being co-Creators with God. Jews play a unique role in this process, a spiritual catalyst that raises mankind to a new level of conscience in the time of crisis. Israel communicates new spiritual laws that raise the level of freedom and human responsibility to the entire mankind.
At the same time, in keeping with mysterious laws of history, Israel cannot produce this new impulse if it lives in exile, but only if it returns to the Promised Land. Only spiritual energy of the people of Israel concentrated in the narrow space of the Land of Israel is releasing this light.
Jews gave the first of these impulses when they returned from the captivity in Egypt. It was ethical monotheism. Following their second return, from the Babylon captivity, they laid the ground for the birth of Christianity. Now, after 2,000 years of exile, we have witnessed the third – and, I hope, the final – return of Jews to Eretz Israel.
What is the new spiritual impulse that the Jews will generate for the mankind? I have no doubt that this is the reason why they have returned to their land. If the purpose had been mere physical survival, God could have easily found enough space for all Israelis in Brooklyn alone.
The Kabbala views mankind as a body, with every people being an individual organ; Jews are mankind’s gray matter -- the center of its conscience. If any part of the body ceases to perform its functions, it withers away. If we stop generating this conscience, we’ll lose the reason for being Jewish, or, taking it one step further, the reason for being. And that's what God is slowly letting our enemies to accomplish, in the hope that this will awaken us to fulfilling our mission.
3. In order to understand Israel’s new mission we must analyze the source of our pain – the essence of Islamic war on Israel.
Again, let’s look back. Each time the Almighty returned the Jews to their land in order to communicate new spiritual laws to mankind, his Enemy tried to annihilate the Jews: the Pharaoh before the Exodus; Haman, before the return from Babylon; and, finally, Hitler, before the Jews fled Europe.
Islamists – in their own words – are trying to finish Hitler’s job. It is through realizing the essence of this conflict that we can realize the essence of our new mission.
But before that, let us take a look at the more recent history. In the last hundred years, mankind has survived two totalitarian attempts, Fascist and Communist, to dominate the world; now it is in the midst of the third one – the Islamic one. It is true that the vector of human history is pointed towards unity. And there are two ways to achieve that unity: the Babylon Way and the Jerusalem Way. The former is the way of imperial law and violence; the way of conquering Space. The latter is a Jewish way: a way of mastering spiritual laws and internal transformation, a way of conquering Time.
If the Jews fail to lead the mankind their way, then Satan, the God’s monkey, will take over. The Babylon Way is at the same time a way of radical division. Communists divided people into the classes of proletariat and bourgeoisie; when the latter would be destroyed, the Kingdom of Proletariat was supposed to come. Fascism radically divided the world into Aryans and Untermenschen; when the latter would be annihilated, the Eternal Reich was supposed to reign for eternity. Finally, Islamists radically divide the world into the faithful and the infidels: when all the infidels are killed, converted to Islam or turned into the 2nd class dhimmies, then the World Umma will reign.
It is again a monstrous lie of a simple solution.
Thus the Jewish mission is to take up the challenge of Islamism and bring the world to unity through the way of Jerusalem resisting and defeating the way of Babylon.
4. The world is yearning for integration. The conflicts between wealth and poverty, progress and tradition, the individual and the collective have reached their respective apogees. Two main geopolitical, geo-economical, and geo-cultural programs are seeking to impose their solutions for these conflicts: the Eastern Paradigm and the Western Paradigm.
The Eastern paradigm is the Islamic way, uniting mankind through totalitarian faith.
The Western - is uniting mankind through Reason of Profit: globalization.
Both approaches are false. The Eastern way ignores Personality. The Western way ignores God. This is not a clash of many civilizations, but, rather, a conflict of two decadent civilizations: Totalitarian Faith of the East and Moral Relativism of the West.
It is my firm belief that only Israel can serve as a reconciling golden mean between these two options. By virtue of its spiritual and geographic middle position between the East and the West, only Israel – and this is its true mission – can generate the integrating conscience that will return to the West the notion of spiritual hierarchy of values, and will bring to the East a sense of individual freedom and individual responsibility.
Integrating conscience must reconcile the spiritual and the rational elements and lead mankind to the new level of cooperation with God, thus leading mankind from polytheism via monotheism to antropotheism, or God/Mankind; to the merging of the spiritual and material elements, symbolized by the Star of David.
A society – and, taking it one step further, international relations – based on the principles of this conscience, will become the new Light from Zion. The integrating conscience developed by modern Israel will become the cause for whose success, according to Herzl, they would be indeed praying in synagogues and churches all over the world.
The internal reforms that Israel must undertake in order to help this consciousness prevail in society are a separate subject. Here we will deal with applying these principles – that is, Israel’s realization of its mission – to resolving the conflict with Islam.
5. In order to resolve this conflict Israel must assume two separate responsibilities:
- responsibility for the entire Land of Israel;
- responsibility for all the people that inhabit it.
Israel must assume the responsibility for the entire Land of Israel for both spiritual and rational reasons.
Spiritual, because the Land of Israel in its entirety, from River Jordan to the Mediterranean, is a projection of the national spirit on the land. It is a vessel that, once filled with the spirit, will make the Mission of Israel possible. A split vessel will not hold water.
For rational reasons I can refer you to the report made by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1967. There are also other extensive studies on the subject, but the conclusion reached by all military experts is that, in case of a military attack, without Judea and Samaria Israel is doomed. Moreover, if Israel’s enemies become convinced that the strategic scales are weighed in their favor, the attack will become inevitable. This is what the Islamic world is waiting for, since the groundwork for the new Jewish genocide has already been laid out: after the fifty years of nonstop anti-Israel propaganda, Jews and their state are completely dehumanized in Islamic conscience. Psychological grounds are laid. They are waiting just for a military opportunity. Handing them Judea and Samaria may, God forbid, provide it.
This is as far as the Land of Israel arguments are concerned.
But why should Israel assume responsibility for the people inhabiting this land, for Palestinian Arabs?
Because history is not a Xerox machine; it repeats itself but on a higher turn of the moral spiral. If at the times of Joshua bin Nun the task was to transfer a hostile population, now it is to transform this population.
I doubt anyone here believes that the Almighty wishes for the millions of his Moslem children to die, both spiritually and physically, in the clutches of the Satanism called the ideology of jihad. I believe God wishes their liberation. He wishes their return to the light that lies at the core of every monotheistic faith.
Geographically the heart of jihad’s darkness does not lie in Al Qaeda or mullahs’ Iran. It is in Palestinian Authority, with their Satanic obsession with killing the Jews and destroying Israel – the obsession shared by the Pharaoh, Haman, and Hitler.
The Palestinians were placed in the Holy Land because only Israel is capable of tearing out the sting of this Satanic ideology. Only Israel can transform the tribal conscience of Ishmael into an individual one, capable of a dialogue with God.
If we cut out the tumor of jihadism in the Holy Land, Islamism will be destroyed. If we enlighten the Palestinian Arabs, they will become the seed of change for the entire Moslem world. The righteous power of the United States can help create the right form of government – democracy. But only Israel can change the soul of Ishmael, for he knows it as the soul of a brother. In this way we will save ourselves and the Moslems and the entire world.
But if Israel separates itself from it and allows the poisoning to go on among Palestinians, Israel will perish, and so will the Islamic world, and the mankind.
I know, that at first blush, it sounds like a dream – as a Mission Impossible. But at one time so did the Exodus from Egypt and Babylon, and so did the revival of Israel itself. Once Israel believes in its mission, nothing can stand in its way. The Almighty will go in front of you in the battle. Just be strong and courageous. Rak tihiye Khazak ve Amatz.
6. But what is Israel doing? It is trying to flee from both responsibilities. Its ultra Right is dreaming of transferring populations across the river. Labor and Likud (no difference between them now) are trying to have it both ways: transfer both the Land of Israel and its responsibility for the Palestinians – to split the tiny land apart by walling themselves off from the Palestinians, by giving them a state and then ignoring them. Let them kill each other behind the fence, let them practice human sacrifice – as long as we are left out of it. But it won’t work, gentlemen – because we cannot be left out of it – because it is already affects us directly.
The main sin of Oslo was not the betrayal of Jewish lives – that was the consequence. The main sin was the betrayal of Arab freedom. The wise men of Oslo decided: rather than waste our time on these savages for another hundred years – enlightening them and absorbing them in the civilization of Israel, the civilization of Yashar El - of the direct path to God, we shall strike a deal with Death. We shall install the reign of a bandit and a tyrant over our neighbors. Never mind that he pledged to destroy Israel –we'll take his promise to change. We’ll give him money, weapons, and international recognition, and in exchange he will deliver us security.
He delivered us death. And he delivered death, misery and Satanism to his own people, turning them into the most barbaric, murder-worshiping tribe.
7. So what should Israel do? Israel should recall its mission of bringing a light unto the nations. And the nation that needs that light the most is the nation of our immediate neighbors. We should bring light to the Palestinians. We should liberate the Palestinians. We should enter the darkness with a torch.
All these appeals sound good. But how do we implement them?
Last October, on Sukkoth, a forum called Jerusalem Summit was convened in Jerusalem to develop a program of action. It was attended by many top military and political Middle East experts from USA, Israel, Russia, Europe and India. In a nutshell, the plan developed at the Summit can be called a 3-D Vision of Peace.
First D is Demilitarization of Palestinian Authority.
Co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians requires destruction of all terror groups — Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Brigades, Tanzim, Fatah, etc. — which are flourishing under the protection of PA. It also requires disarming of all the so-called "security services of PA", which are in effect "legalized" terror groups, armed under the Oslo accords to fight terror, but instead using these weapons for terror attacks, racket, rape and suppression of political opposition.
Only total demilitarization will allow moderate Palestinians to assert themselves.
Complete demilitarization of PA is pre-requisite number one also because true and lasting peace in the Middle East will be built only on Israel's deterrent capability. The minimal requirement for preserving that deterrent capability is total military control of the tiny area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.
Second D. De-jihadization of Palestinians.
Israel is facing a unique enemy that idolizes suicide bombing through its formal education, media and clergy systems. The PA has had anti-Jewish hate education in place already fora decade - since 1994. It has corrupted the minds of Palestinians, especially the youth for the next one or even two generations. An open-ended transitional period for building a basis for democracy, during which education and propaganda systems of PA should go through de-jihadization similar to de-nazification of the post-WWII Germany, is a prerequisite for building genuine peace in the region.
An International Coordinating Body formed of representatives of Israel, USA and Jordan should supervise de-jihadization of Palestinian education and media, and build a democratic system in the autonomous regional councils. Police functions will be jointly performed by Jordan-Israel and Egypt-Israel forces.
Let us not forget that Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza never constituted a nation, but rather belonged to five separate historically formed Arab enclaves. Judea, Samaria, Jericho and a Christian enclave of Bethlehem gravitated to Syria and Trans-Jordan. Gazans were always affiliated with Egypt. As you all know, there were no Palestinian nationalism and no talks of a Palestinian state untill 1967: while Judea, Samaria and Gaza lived under the control of Jordan and Egypt. So we have to go back to the binding agreement of 1979 Camp David about autonomy, so that Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza will enjoy complete self-rule in these regional councils.
Third D: De-Politicization of the conflict.
Palestinian is not a political problem. Palestinians do not need a 23rd Arab state. Only the leaders of PLO need that to maintain their power and pursue their fascist dream of destroying Israel.
As we all know, the historic Palestine, Land of Israel, mandated to Britain to become a Jewish National Home, has already been divided into 2 states: one for Jews, one for Arabs. When Jordan was established, Israel conceded 73% of its historic homeland for creation of an Arab state.
If the remaining 27% are to be re-divided to create in a 2nd Palestinian state, not only will this 3-state solution be historically and morally unjust; this overcrowded quasi-state will be a pragmatic impossibility: two sovereignties with two independent military and foreign policy powers cannot be squeezed into this tiny patch of land.
The 2nd Palestinian state will become a politically destabilizing factor for the entire Middle East, undermining the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan.
That is why the political aspect of the problem has to be resolved in a framework of a regional solution.
Political rights of Arabs in Judea and Samaria have to be satisfied in Jordan.
Political rights of Arabs in Gaza have to be satisfied in Egypt.
As to the human aspect of it, ordinary Palestinians need decent living conditions. It is a humanitarian problem. And it has to be solved through 2 projects.
First, economic rehabilitation. Employment of Arabs in Judea and Samaria should be facilitated through the international program of economic development for Jordan – creation of joint Jordanian-Israel industrial parks on the East side of Jordan River.
Employment of Arabs in Gaza should be done through an international program of developing Sinai.
Second, rehabilitation of refugees and encouragement of the voluntary resettlement.
There is an urgent need to create an International Fund for Rehabilitation of Palestinian Refugees. For that purpose UNRWA has to be abolished and money should go directly to refugee families.
Lebanon and Syria have to be pressured to open the camps and allow refugees to apply directly to the Fund, take compensation and resettle in a third country or stay in Lebanon and Syria.
An average annual income of an Arab family in an OPEC country is about $3,000 a year. In a working life of 50 years an Arab family in a rich Arab country earns $150,000. If each of the 350,000 refugee families would get a compensation of 150,000 dollars, it would come to 52 billion dollars. To compare: the US budget for Iraq war is 162 billion.
Arabs living in Judea and Samaria should also be able to apply to this Fund, receive generous compensation, turn their property to the State of Israel and leave to a third country. If all of them would choose to do so, the dollar amount will still be comparable to the cost of a single modern war.
This is a price tag to solving the most bitter and dangerous conflict. This is a price tag for saving thousands of lives.
If Israel will spread the amount of 200 billion dollars along 20 years, it can do it alone. However, the West, first of all Europe, has moral responsibility and direct interest in sharing the cost of this effort.
Morally – to compensate Israel for Jewish property pillaged during centuries of pogroms and exiles in Europe. Practically – removing the cancer of terror from their own shores of Mediterranean.
Together with US and EU this Fund will peacefully resettle most of the Arab population (which, according to the polls will be very receptive to that idea) in a few years time.
Israel, Egypt and Jordan should start trilateral negotiations facilitated by the USA in order to reach an agreement on the above principles. Fulfilling these principles will bring an era of peace and prosperity to the truly New Middle East. Rejection of these principles will bring a regional and potentially a global catastrophe.
However, in order to proceed along that True Road to Peace, Palestinian people must be liberated from the irredentist leadership that rejects the principles outlined above.
The first necessary step is the removal of the terrorist regime of PLO and full demilitarization of PA.
8. Well, a natural question arises: do Palestinians want to be liberated? Will they ever accept “liberation” from us?
True, they’ll never ask for it. But if we do it, they will not merely accept it – they will help us.
Recently I had an in-depth conversation with a very influential Palestinian Arab. Since he no longer resides in the territories, he can afford a luxury to think and speak freely; yet since he is still linked to the PA in various ways, he should not be named publicly. To those who’ll be eager to know his name, I can tell in private.
I’ll read you several of his quotes. I think each of these quotes should be hanging on the wall in our politicians’ offices.
Here it is.
“Israel won the first intifada. The Palestinians were exhausted. Arafat was at his lowest point in Tunisia. At that time Israel could have imposed any solution, and the Palestinians would have accepted it. Instead, you went to Oslo – without consulting with either Arabs in the territories or Jordan… And the Arabs concluded that Arafat had won.
‘Palestinians were prepared to accept the status quo – a de facto peace – but Israel imposed on them the Arafat Gang with the old Arab mentality – rejection of any peace with Israel. The first thing that PLO did upon return was to close down the opposition papers and fire every independent journalist.
‘After Oslo, we thought we would have lightly armed police to keep public order. But when we saw these guys with submachine guns, we exclaimed: This is not police – this is fedayeen – what you call militants. They said right away: we came back to continue the struggle. It is more convenient to fight Israel from here than from Tunisia.
‘They installed a dozen of armed structures, all of whom were in the business of robbery, rape, and extortion. There was no law: people lived in fear and could only whisper about who is from which structure and who is behind whose back… A relative of mine had a store next door to a headquarters. These “officers” would come in every day, take whatever they wanted, and tell him to put it on the organization’s account. When the amount reached 15,000 shekels, they arrested him and accused him of being an Israeli spy. They kept him in the basement for three days and let him go only when he agreed to forget the debt. When he came home, he prayed to Allah to erase these “headquarters”. A few months later, Israelis bombed the building. He called me: “Allah heard my prayers!” Any Palestinian can tell you a dozen stories like that.
‘Your Operation Defensive Shield made Palestinians more free by putting the PA security services out of business, which brought down the number of rapes, extortion, and torture.
‘Israel keeps misleading us by sending wrong signals. You say Arafat is no longer a partner, but Sharon is about to meet with Abu Ala, and Omri Sharon meets with Rajoub. But here everybody knows them as Arafat’s people. And so the Palestinians think that in fact Israel is plotting to make Arafat strong… You should either acknowledge you’re working with him or get rid of his gang once and forever. Be straight and consistent. Tell the truth.
‘Jerusalem Arabs want to keep their permanent resident status; they see what is going on in the West Bank and what Arafat has done to them… They panic; they say, Olmert wants to hand us over to Arafat, Olmert wants to bring Hamas to Jerusalem… Israel could turn them into an example for other Arabs: if you are loyal permanent residents in Israel, you will live as well as they do.
‘Palestinians want to go back to pre-1987 situation, when one could travel from Ramallah to Ramat Gan, to earn money and go back home, without Arafat or road checks.
‘You must force Lebanon and Syria to remove limitations on Palestinian refugees – let them settle where they want and let them work. Don’t say they need to disband the camps. Force them to remove the limitations, and Palestinians will leave the camps of their own will.
‘You must disarm all Arafat’s armed forces and leave a civilian administration only. If you don’t do it now, Arafat will be followed by thousands of arafats.
‘Enter the territories, disarm all the ‘security services’, and stay there. If you let the people know you are here to stay, that you will not allow the jihadists to come back and grow here, people will believe in you and help you.
‘Palestinians will not fight for Arafat. Intifada is not a popular revolt; it’s a war conducted by several armed groups.
‘The only other alternative you have is to go back and hide behind the 1967 borders, and then prepare for the worst: Hamas in the Old City and French Hill, and the total war for destruction. Then both Jews and Arabs will die.
‘No one will say any of this in the open. First you must enter the territories and prove you’re serious. And then I’ll give you 500 influential Arabs who will support you.”
There is nothing to add to these words.
Shame on Israel who deliberately surrendered to Evil the Arabs of Southern Lebanon and the Arabs of the Land of Israel. We committed a terrible sin: we betrayed the Jewish spirit of standing up for the truth; we betrayed our own security because first we betrayed Jewish morality and the Jewish mission of being a light unto nations.
We paid a terrible price for this sin. Now we either repent, or we will pay an even higher price.
We must enter the territories in order to set the Palestinians free and bring security to Israelis.
We must send the army to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza – to destroy the Arafat regime and the whole terror structure, to disarm all the PA armed forces.
And we shall not leave again, and we shall not throw them again in the clutches of the Tunisian or any other gang.
We will build them an economy and an education system.
We will bring them into the Israeli civilization – a new civilization of integrating conscience, which reconciles East and West, God and Man – and which is still in the throes of its birth.
On the basis of that conscience we'll change the heart of Ishmael, making Palestinians proud of being the vanguard force of the whole Moslem world in the great spiritual jihad.
This is the only solution.
This is the only solution that is both right and righteous.
Let us be strong and courageous. Let those blinded by illusions and hate scream and curse us. Eventually both the Jews and the Arabs will bless this step.
We must enter the dark with a candle - and the sword, if needed.
And the God of Israel shall walk in front of us.
This will be the real implementation of Herzl’s vision in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is not a post-Zionism; rather, it is High Zionism. A Zionism to benefit all mankind. Tzionut Leman Enoshut.
And, to reiterate Herzl’s words, “they will pray in synagogues and churches for the success of our work.”
Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen.