I am grateful that Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau took the time to respond to my essay in their letter in the Nov. 2nd edition (here), and it is certainly fair for them to disagree with my positions. That being said, Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau’s response distorts several of my statements while ignoring others.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists brutally raped, tortured and massacred 1,400 Jews and took 240 as hostages. The great majority of Jews around the world agree that Israel’s approach to the Palestinian problem after October 7 must not be the same as it was before October 7. Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau – do you propose that Israel’s approach to the Palestinian problem remain the same as it was before October 7? Should we continue to invite these people into our homes and beg them to concede our right to exist? What is your solution to Israel’s existential crisis?
Nowhere in their letter did Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau address the fundamental point of my article: that the significant majority of Palestinians have made clear, over and over again, that they support the murder of Jewish men, women and children. 75% of Palestinians support Hamas and the murder of Jews. Given this fact, what do Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau propose we do?
Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau have accused me of calling for “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” – very serious and false accusations. Let me be clear – I did not call for the laws of Amalek to be applied to the Palestinians. Rather, I explicitly said: “The lesson from Amalek is not that we practically can or should kill millions of Palestinians. The lesson of Amalek is that a society can become so corrupt, so sick and evil, that it is worthy of destruction.”
The point of my article was not to say that Israel can, at this moment, expel all of the terror supporting Arabs from Judea and Samaria, though I wish we could. But the first step is for our own people to see the truth and to stop deluding ourselves. If we are clear about God’s will and do our part, God will take care of the rest. “Though it will seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, shall it also be impossible to me? – says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 8:6).
Practically, we must do as Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, author of the Peninei Halakha and one of Israel’s leading Religious ZIonist rabbis, stated clearly last week: “Due to all the wars and waves of terror, we are commanded to examine whether, and how, we can encourage emigration of our enemies from our land. And simultaneously, draw close Arab friends, and recruit them to the army, so together with us, they will fight the State of Israel’s enemies.” Every Jew in Israel will happily welcome true Arab friends if and when they reject terror and join us in our battle against evil. But we have waited over 100 years for this to happen, and not much has changed for the better.
The prospect of banishing his firstborn son Ishmael was not merely distasteful to Abraham; it was “very evil” in his eyes. But God made clear that in this argument, Sarah was right. When Ishmael threatens Isaac, the proper response is not lovingkindness, but banishment. Understandably, today’s “Sarah Jews” have had enough. We cannot live safely and happily in our land together with the children of Ishmael, who have murdered us repeatedly for over 100 years. Nevertheless, “Abraham Jews” like Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau find the prospect of banishing the children of Ishmael to be deeply distasteful. They are good people, people of love and kindness, and I completely understand why the prospect of expelling the children of Ishmael from Gaza, Judea and Samaria is “very evil” in their eyes. However this ultimately happens, it will be distasteful and unpleasant. And yet, as God so clearly told Abraham, “whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice.” With these words, I believe God is telling Rabbis Klapper and Kornblau: “My dear ‘Abraham Jews’: I understand that you are filled with love and kindness, and that you desperately want to live in peace together with the children of Ishmael. I love you for your idealism! But precisely because I love you, I need you to do this for me. Listen to the ‘Sarah Jews,’ the Jews of Israel who have lived for decades with the constant threat of Arab terror. They have buried their sons and daughters, their husbands and wives, because the ‘Abraham Jews’ refuse to see the truth: that the children of Ishmael are not interested in peace.
I pray that the “Abraham Jews” among us, Rabbi Klapper and Kornblau included, soon learn that Sarah was right. Our lives depend on it.