July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

“Remember Hashem what has befallen us; look and see our disgrace.” (Eicha/Lamentations 5:1)

Dear Israel, our beloved Israel, what has happened to us?

The most inconceivable and devastating day in the 70-plus years since the State of Israel’s creation in 1948 has happened before our very eyes. If the primary responsibility, indeed the reason for the existence of the modern nation is for the protection of its people, then Israel, you have failed miserably.

This past Shabbat, October 21, Rabbi Steven Weil, CEO of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces and former executive vice president of the OU, addressed Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck. His presentation, entitled “Israel’s Moment: The Opportunity to Change the Direction of the 21st Century,” became a diatribe on why Israel may not survive the current war. The audience was stunned, shellshocked; the silence was palpable.

Rabbi Weil’s initial thrust was a description of the refugee catastrophe currently taking place within Israel, with tens of thousands of Israelis—parents, children and the elderly—evacuated from their homes in the South and brought to the center of the country. Then an additional tens of thousands were evacuated from the North and brought to Israel’s central region. Ostensibly, the expectation is to escape the many thousands of missiles falling around them. They ask, how does one live and raise children in one room of a hotel, and who is paying for that?

The forces aligned against Israel are overwhelming, Rabbi Weil pointed out. There’s Iran as the puppet master of her proxy armies—Hamas in the South and Hezbollah in the North—a rebuilt Syrian army with President Assad now beholden to Iran, roaming Iraqi militias ready to go where directed, and the Houthis in Yemen, with missiles which we now know can readily reach Israel. Were Iran to join, we would then be facing a six-front war. Unimaginable.

What caused us to find ourselves in such an untenable position? The question brings us to the poor performance, or lack of performance, of the political, military and intelligence echelons over the past year. It is too soon to tell regarding the current crisis, (May Hashem help us) but if the past year is any example, we are in trouble here too. Netanyahu was certainly one of the great prime ministers throughout his early years as he strengthened the economy, enhanced Israel’s business relationships around the world and built a powerful military. But history has now passed him by.

Netanyahu is currently significantly weakened, largely due to his being the prime mover directly responsible for the judicial review crisis. He allowed it to tear Israel apart as millions of Israelis demonstrated across the country almost daily. In his desire to cling to power, Netanyahu did nothing but exacerbate the situation, and our enemies took note. They saw a weakened Israel and determined it was the time to attack. Were Netanyahu successful in diminishing the Supreme Court’s power, he’d be that much closer to assuming dictatorial powers. Israel does not need a dictator, so he should back away, especially at this critical time.

And then there is our military leadership, the generals, with the bright silver stars on their shoulders, whose arrogance, dogmatism and infighting is all too well known. It’s of course too early in the current crisis to review their present performance, but to be sure, they will be called upon by commissions that will examine their pathetic performance of this past year. They left Israel completely exposed to the bestiality of our enemies.

And what of the much vaunted, world renowned Israeli intelligence agencies—the legendary Mossad, headed by David Barnea; the Shabak headed by Ranon Barr; the Aman and whatever other secret “security” groups that roam Israel?

How could they not have known about the massive, mechanized buildup of thousands of heavily armed Hamas terrorists on the immediate border? Did they not see the pleasant little homes and settlements, just across the road or a few kilometers from the border, surrounded by just a simple barbed wire fence? Did they believe the people in these homes could manage a terrorist invasion by themselves? In some yishuvim, it took between six and eight hours before the army showed up. The intelligence echelon will have much to answer for, and they too will be brought before the many commissions that will be investigating this disaster.

They will be asked about the state of military readiness at the start of the crisis: Did anybody wonder why Hamas was internally building so many thousands of rockets directly under their nose? Why weren’t they able to see anything, identify launching or assembly sites, or were these also abject intelligence failures? At this juncture they should all be looking for other jobs!

And now is the time for the Jewish people to do what we have done for thousands of years. We need to pray to Hashem for our brothers and sisters in Israel, for the sacrifices, the broken families that will never be the same, and for us here in America. May God have mercy on all.

Sigmund Fried
Teaneck

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles