Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marketing Israel

At this point, it would be a cliche to say that Israel has a PR problem. It is clear that in many sectors, Israel has lost the battle for hearts and minds. To many, Israel is an illegitimate state built on an original sin and its every action and policy only serves to confirm and reinforce Israel's inherent evil. While some have taken up the challenge of defending Israel, there seems to be little or no strategic coordination, with no central message being promoted.

It is essential to show Israel beyond the conflict with its neighbours. To this effect, numerous groups such as Hillel try appeal to students by promoting Israel as party central, as a vibrant and sexy place full of beaches, clubs, hot women and good-looking men. While it is important to show Israel's modern society, this above approach leaves much to be desired. Some might argue that in might even have the opposite effect, showing Israel to be a high-tech superpower callously dancing in its "bubble" while the poor, oppressed Palestinians are suffering beneath its military boot.

So why does Israel have a marketing problem? I would suggest that it has to do with a Jewish ambivalence about making a strong claim. The "Israel = sex" approach fails because it tries to promote Israel as an alternative to Los Angeles, Brazil or Amsterdam. What is results in is a rather cheapened image that fails to convey Israel's true beauty.

Israel is one of the most unique places on earth. The world's only Jewish state, Israel is an enigma. Fundamentaly, at the core of the current campaign to delegitimize Israel is a burning question asked by Israel-haters, the ignorant public and even many Israelis themselves: "What are Jews doing in the Middle-East?" In order for a true PR victory to be successful, it must address this issue head-on while highlighting Israel's amazing achievements and advancements.

The modern State of Israel has a story unparalleled in the history of humankind. It is a story of love and longing, oppression and faith, courage and heroism. It is the story of a people exiled from its homeland for two millennia while never giving up its dream of returning to its borders. It is the story of an ancient people building a modern state. There is no precedent in the annals of humanity for the survival of a people outside of its land for 2,000 years, and for its subsequent rise from the ashes to come home.

Let the world know that Israel rivals Egypt, Babylonia, Rome, Persia, China and India in terms of antiquity and it has outlasted all of its ancient neighbors. Let the world know that before the Greeks ever produced a lofty deep thought that the Jewish people were already ruled by a Jewish king in the Land of Israel. Let the world know that when Rome was still just a collection of mud huts along the Tiber River, Jewish prophets living in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Galilee were preaching the morals and ethics that form the basis of modern Western civilization.

Let the world know how the Jewish warriors fought like lions against the legions of Rome in defense of their homeland. Let them know that even when the Romans declared that "Judea is vanquished" and built a monumental arch to celebrate their crushing victory other the Jews, these same lowly Jews continued to have faith in their eventual return to Israel. Let them know that for twenty centuries, Jews turned three times a day towards Jerusalem and prayed: "May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy", that every single Passover seder and Yom Kippur fast ends with the fervent hope of "Next year in Jerusalem", that every groom at his wedding pledges that if he should forget Jerusalem, he should forget his right hand.

Let the world know about the brave pioneers to dreamt of a Jewish state in a barren and empty land, who were mocked for their vision. Let them know about the chalutzim who answered the call to ascend to the Land of Israel, who dried out swamps, fought malaria, disease and hostile enemies, and ultimately made the desert bloom. Let the world know that the most fertile, green, blossoming parts of Israel today were nothing but desolate wasteland a mere century ago and would still be but for these courageous Jews.

Let them know of a state that arose out of the ashes of the destruction of European Jewry, a state that took in hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab land, a state that saw the ingathering of entire Jewish communities as disparate and far-flung as Yemen, Poland, Russia, Afghanistan, Morroco and Ethiopia. Let them know that the prophetic prediction of the Ingathering of the Exile on eagles' wings is unfolding before our very eyes as Jews continue to answer the call of Zion.

Let them know the story of the few versus the many, of how a ragtag nation of survivors, with G-d's help, overcame the combined armies of 6 nations, of how Israel has paid for every single inch of territory with Jewish blood, sweat and tears. Let them know how despite Israel never having known a single day of peace, it has produced a tolerant, advanced and modern society, how despite the daily attacks on its citizens and survival, it is a world leader in technology, medicine and science.

Let them know the story of Israel. Wow! What passion! What drama! This is the story that the world is waiting to hear.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Falsifying History

In the media, on university campuses and certainly in the political debate, there is a systematic movement to falsify and rewrite history in regards to Israel and the Middle-East. It has been the official policy of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas, to deny and to minimize Jewish historical connections to the Land of Israel. Even as Mahmoud Abbas conducts "peace" negotiations with Benyamin Netanyahu, PA-run television aired a documentary on Rosh HaShanah in which, panning to the Western Wall, the narrator explained, “They [Israelis] know for certain that our [Arab] roots are deeper than their false history. We, from the balcony of our homes, look out over [Islamic] holiness and on sin and filth [the Jews praying at the Western Wall].”

To combat this insidious campaign of denial and revisionism, it is necessary to make a few points clear. One of the most ridiculous claims are references to "Palestine". Never in the history of the civilization has there been a sovereign country, ruled by a distinct Arab people, called Palestine. The only independent states that have ever taken shape in the Land of Israel (besides the brief rule of the Crusaders) have been Jewish. Furthermore, the notion of a Palestinian people only took root during the 1960s. Before then, it was the Jews of Israel who were referred to as Palestinians! Only once the Jews became "Israelis" could the Arab appropriate that name for themselves.

Another common claim is that the Land of Israel is sacred to all three major monotheistic religions. This, of course, is nonsense. "Palestine" and Jerusalem are not mentioned at all in the Qur'an! (The Land of Israel, however, is mentioned in relation to Allah bringing the Children of Israel into the Promised Land). The only Islamic connection to Jerusalem is the later claim that Muhammad spiritually visited Jerusalem and ascended to heaven from there. To mark this spot, Muslim caliphs built the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque of Omar on the Temple Mount, emphasizing that the reason why this spot is sacred to Muslims is because the Jewish Temple stood on that spot. Besides these two mosques, Jerusalem plays no other significant role in Islamic theology. The Land of Israel also has no particular sacredness attached to it in Islam, making it different than any other conquered territory. The holy land of Islam is Arabia- not Israel.

In contrast to this, it is in the Land of Israel that the Jewish people developed, flourished and ruled themselves. It is the Promised Land of the Torah. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Bible! It has been at the heart and centre of the Jewish conscious ever since King David conquered the city and made it his capital over 3500 years ago. It was to Jerusalem that every single Jewish male made pilgrimage three times a year during Temple Times. It is towards Jerusalem that Jews pray three times a day (Muslims pray towards Mecca), beseeching G-d: "And to Jerusalem, Your city, in mercy return, and dwell in it as You have spoken, and rebuild it speedily in our days, as an eternal structure." Every Jewish wedding is marked with the breaking of a glass in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem and the solemn vow of "if I forget thee, O Jerusalem." Every single Passover seder and Yom Kippur fast is ended with the fervent hope and declaration of "Next Year in Jerusalem!" Clearly, not all claims are equal.

One of the most repulsive libels about Israel is that the Arabs are being forced to pay for the sins of the European Holocaust. It must be stated as forcefully as possible that Jews have been in Israel since biblical times, thousands of years before the Arabian tribes burst out of their peninsula, long before Muhammad ever received his first revelation and millennia before the rise of Nazism. It was in the 1920s, two decades before the annihilation of European Jewry, that the world recognized the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in the Land of Israel- they didn't create or bestow these right, but rather recognized preexisting ones.

These false claims are part of a campaign to delegitimize the very foundations of the Jewish state, which are the unbroken Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. Before any significant negotiations or agreements can be made, the world, and particularly the Arab and Muslim world, must recognize the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Without that, there can be no coexistence.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Jewish Response to Arab Terror

As peace talks are set to begin shortly in Washington, Palestinian terrorists have struck again. In a cold-blooded attack, terrorists opened fire on a Israeli vehicle outside of Kiryat Arbah, murdering two men and two women. Even as the Palestinian leadership is about to sit dawn and supposedly discuss peace with their Israeli counterparts, Palestinian citizens are carrying out murderous attacks against innocent Jewish men, women and children.

This murder is but another demonstration of the uselessness of talks between Israel and the Palestinians. A treaty with the Palestinians is not worth the paper that it is printed on. While Abbas' sincerity to the cause of peace has yet to be proven, his mandate to represent the Palestinian people expired in January 2009. Hamas, ever-committed to the annihilation of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, remains the most popular movement among Palestinians. The most fundamental tenet of Palestinian society is opposition to Zionism and Jewish self-determination. That is why no Palestinian leader can acknowledge Jewish roots in the Land of Israel. That is why Palestinian television continues to refer to Haifa, Lod and Ramle as "occupied cities". That is why Mahmoud Abbas had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table, waiting until Bibi's 10 month freeze on settlement construction is about to expire.

As always, the Palestinian goal remains the same: the eradication of "the Zionist entity" and the "liberation of Palestine". While Hamas prefers the direct approach whereas Fatah's strategy is that of the piecemeal "Phased Plan", the ultimate aim is identical. Every Israeli concession brings a new round of Palestinian terror and increased demands. Disengagement from Gaza brought thousands of rockets upon the south of Israel. Freezing Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria only whets the Arab appetite for Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv.

The Palestinians feel that time is on their side. Many Israelis are tired of this seemingly endless conflict and would do almost anything to bring it to an end. If only one more concession will make the Palestinians happy, then so be it- even if that concession means relinquishing control of Israel's most sacred and meaningful sites: Hebron, Shechem, Bethlehem, Beit El, Shiloh, etc.

For the past 10 months, Israel has imposed a moratorium on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria. The freeze is set to expire in September, yet it seems that Bibi, despite intense pressure from his on party, will renew it in order not to arouse the ire of the Americans and the Arabs. The true Jewish response to today's murders would be to immediately lift the freeze and to begin Jewish construction in all parts of the Land of Israel. Such a response would send the clear message that the Jewish return to Zion is not simply a transitory movement but that the Jewish people intend to stay in their homeland. Renewed Jewish building around the graves and homes of its forefathers would make it abundantly clear as to the true owners of the Land of Israel.

Retreat from Hebron means retreat from Jerusalem. Retreat from Jerusalem means retreat from Tel-Aviv. Retreat from Tel-Aviv means retreat into the sea, or at least back into Galut. If we cannot raise our flag in Shechem, the burial place of Joseph on land legally purchased by our forefather Jacob over 3500 years ago, or in Shiloh, the seat of the Tabernacle and religious center of the Jewish people for hundreds of years, how can we claim Tel-Aviv, which is only a century old?

The answer to Palestinian terror is renewed commitment and dedication to the Land of Israel. For every Jew murdered, ten new villages should spring up in the hilltops of Judea and Samaria. We pray that HaShem comfort the victims' families among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and through their deaths, we should be inspired to continue rebuilding Zion and Jerusalem.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Case Against Palestinian Statehood

As renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians get underway, the United States has already assured Mahmoud Abbas of the establishment of a Palestinian state within a years time. Barack Obama, as well as the European Union and other world figures have stated that should talks fail, they would support a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence. While these talks have not even begun, their aim is clear: the creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel. Unfortunately, Israel's leaders do not have the courage to reject this most dangerous goal. Anyone who dares oppose the "two-state solution" mantra is maligned as rejectionist and an obstacle to peace. Despite this, it is essential for all those who care about Israel to explain why a Palestinian state is a historic travesty and will only serve to exacerbate the conflict, rather than end it.

The basic borders of the Palestinian state as envisioned by the leaders of the United States and the European Union are the territories liberated by Israel from Egypt and Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, Judea and Samaria with its capital in the eastern half of Jerusalem. The major problem with this vision is that there is nothing particularly Arab or Palestinian about these lands. In fact, never have any of these territories (or any territories ever) been under the rule of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state. If one would search the history books, they would discover that there has never been such a country or political entity. As well, the notion of a unique and distinct Palestinian nation is one that is very recent, having its origins in the 1920s and gaining widespread acceptance in the 1960s. That means that Palestinian nationhood is only at maximum 80 or so years old while the drive for Palestinian statehood barely over 40. On the other hand, Judea and Samaria (and of course Jerusalem) form the heartland of the Jewish people's home in the land of Israel. In Judea and Samaria, one finds the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, the ancient burial places of founders of the Jewish people. One finds Hebron, the original seat of Jewish kingship, Shiloh, the centre of Jewish religious and spiritual life for centuries, Beit El, the site of the Patriach Jacob's famous dream and Shechem (Nablus), purchased by Jacob and burial place of his son Joseph. The Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria goes back three and a half millennia and remains unbroken, except for brief periods of persecution and oppression when Jews were forced from their land. According to simple logic, a history that goes back 3500 years trumps one that does not extend past a few decades.

As Israel currently stands, from the Mediterranean Sea until the Jordan River, it takes an enemy aircraft less than 5 minutes to cross the entire breadth of the country. If Israel were to retreat any further to the indefensible pre-67 borders, that would put every single major Israel city within rocket range. It is not for nothing that Israeli diplomat, Abba Eban, a dove if there ever was one, referred to these borders as "the Auschwitz lines". As the tragic Israeli Disengagement from Gaza testified, Israeli concession bring renewed Arab aggression. The situation in Sderot in which kids go to school in bomb shelters and playgrounds and bus stops are made from reinforced concrete to provide protection from rockets, would be repeated in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheva. Incoming and outgoing flights at Ben-Gurion Airport would be at the mercy of Palestinian terrorists sitting in the Judea highlands.

The goal of the Palestinians has always been and remains the destruction of the State of Israel. The Fatah Charter spells this out very clearly. Article 12 states the goals as: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence. " The Charter has never been revised. In 1974, Fatah, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, adopted the "Phased Plan" strategy which said that any territory "liberated" from Israel would be used as a Palestinian base of operation to continue to carry out attacks against Israel. A Palestinian state would be used to advance this strategy which has its ultimate aim in the total annihilation of the Jewish state. No Palestinian leader, despite moderate statements to Western media or diplomats, has renounced this goal.

A Palestinian state would be a historic travesty. History testifies that Judea, Samaria and Gaza are Jewish land and have never been under the control of Palestinian Arabs. Furthermore, a Palestinian state would only serve to renew hope that Israel will soon be eliminated and all of "Palestine" will be "reunited". By retreating to the pre-1967 borders, Israel's security and ability to defend itself will be compromised. A peace that comes through the destruction of the Jewish state is a peace that is simply not acceptable.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shame and Pride

"They hate the Sabbath and they hate the laws of Judaism and they hate the yeshivas and they hate the rabbis. And they hate being Jewish and they hate G-d and they hate Zionism and a Jewish state and the need to be different... And they hate the bitter reality of hundreds of thousands supporting and marching for and believing in all the things that they hate, and so they are prepared to use any and all means to destroy the Jews of Jewishness. And the most most frightening thing is that, in all its ugliness, I have seen and recognized the face of Hatred and Murder Past."

These words were written over 20 years ago by Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D. Since then, this hate has not diminished but continues to show itself. It shows itself on both sides of the Atlantic, causing harm and damage to those they hate so much. This hate shows itself in Israel when leftist journalists steal military secrets and spy on the army. It shows itself when professors at Hebrew University march hand in hand with Arab and demand the Jews out of Shimon HaTzadik, or when hundreds demonstrate in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem in against Israel's right to self-defense. This hatred rears its ugly head in the United States as "pro-peace" Jewish groups demand that Obama force himself on Israel or when liberal Jews in the government attack and condemn Israel. There are Jews who hate Israel, who hate Judaism and the Jewish people, and who make it their mission to hurt us.

Recently, the New York Review of Books published a lengthy essay by Peter Beinart, The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, in which he blames Israel's illiberal tendencies and rightward shift for alienating young American Jews. Beinart explains that "the only kind of Zionism they [young American Jews] found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs." American Jews wanted a more "humane, universalistic Zionism" and because Israel could not provide this, they no longer feel an affiliation with Israel.

Beinart's analysis is telling, not because of its conclusions but because of what it says about liberal Jewry. The reason why many young liberal Jews don't give a fig about Israel is because they don't give a fig about Judaism or Jewishness. The American Jewish Establishment has indeed failed them for not instilling within them Jewish pride or values. These young American Jews are the product of three of four generations empty of Jewish belief and practice. The Jewish Establishments are the ones who fought tooth and nail against Jewish education and "parochialism", who ordered Jews: "thou shalt melt!" and who replaced all religious boundaries between Jews and non-Jews. They prided themselves on sending Jewish kids to public schools and on their interfaith seders and events. They preached a message of absolute equality and unity, of brotherhood and love, stressing the universal over the particular. "Being Jewish is being part of a great tradition, like being Irish or black or Vietnamese." So young Jews chose to be human beings rather than to be Jews and now we see the frightening results: over 50% intermarriage rate and a complete disconnect from Israel and the Jewish people.

There has been a parallel process in Israel. The founders of the state tried to create a Zionism and a Jewishness without Judaism, and now what is left among many is a confused group that cares not for Zionism, Jewishness or Judaism. These are the Israelis who wave PLO flags, demanding surrender and appeasement in the face of Arab greed, consumed with guilt over their rights to their land, convinced that they are occupying Arab land. They do not want a Jewish state, a state built on Jewish culture, religion and history, for the Jewish people, but a "state of all its citizens" or, in Shimon Pere's words, "the Singapore of the Middle-East". Their confusing and self-doubt is evident on their faces as they march, chanting "No holiness in an occupied city!"

These young Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora, are embarrassed of being Jewish, of the baggage that it carries and of the obligations it entails. They are embarrassed of "choseness", of Jewish destiny and fate. As such, they simply want to do away with it. Consider the "utopian" future set out by H.G. Wells:

"And yet between 1940 and 2059, in little more than a century, this antiquated obdurate culture disappeared. It and its Zionist state, its kosher food, the Law and all the rest of its paraphernalia, were completely merged in the human community. The Jews were not suppressed; there was no extermination... but under the Tyranny there was never any specific persecution at all; yet they were educated out of their oddity and racial egotism in little more than three generations. Their attention was distracted from Moses and the Promise to Abraham and the delusion that God made his creation for them alone, and they were taught the truth about their race. The world is as full as ever it was of men and women of Semitic origin, but they belong no more to “Israel”."

This is the aim of these Jewish enemies of Israel. They only wave around their Jewish ancestry as a weapon to attack the Jewish people. Judaism is little more than liberalism to them and as such feel no connection to their Jewish brethren around the world. They ally themselves with every Jew-hater and Israel-basher, adding fuel to the fire as they proclaim their Jewish identity while defaming the Jewish people.

The Jewish Establishment has failed. The secular Zionist system has failed. It has raised a generation of Jews empty of Judaism and who only want to be human beings. How can we rectify this situation?

By returning, by coming back to Judaism, its obligations and its prohibitions, its values, commandments and laws. By acquainting ourselves with Jewish history, connecting to Jewish peoplehood and recognizing Jewish destiny. We must once again become the people who so brazenly defied Pharaoh and slaughtered his idol before the eyes of all of Egypt, the nation who rose up so bravely against the Babylonians, the Greek persecution and the Roman tyranny. We must once again have the pride to declare G-d's Absolute Oneness to the entire world as we sing: "How fortunate we are, how good is our portion, how pleasant is our lot and how nice is our inheritance!"

Monday, May 31, 2010

Terrorism at Sea

The media reports keep coming in. Israeli soldiers have boarded a humanitarian convoy en route to help the suffering people of Gaza. Israeli soldiers attacked the ship and brutally killed peace activists. Gaza is under siege! Gaza is being blockaded! Israel murdered civilians to stop them from bringing food to the poor people in Gaza.

The people aboard the flotilla bound for Gaza were anything but civilian peace activists. They were pro-Hamas provocateurs, terrorists and terrorists sympathizers. They were attempting to violate Israeli sovereignty and deliver support to the Hamas regime in Gaza. They refused clear orders by the Israeli military to stop their advance and to turn back. When Israeli commandoes were forced to board the ship, they were greeted by a lynching crew.

The passengers greeted the soldiers armed with knives, bats, clubs and slingshots. The Israeli Navy commandoes, who were told that they would be confronting rioters, were only armed with crowd control paintball rifles. The terrorists aboard the ship attempted to kidnap commandoes, stabbed them repeatedly and threw stun grenades at them. Only after a difficult fight in which dozens of terrorists were killed were the commandoes able to take control of the ship.

An Israeli army reporter described:

‘The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,’ Lev-Rom said, ‘including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call “cold” weapons, as opposed to live fire. It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.’

Lev-Rom said, however, that it appears the army, ‘even though it prepared for many different scenarios, was not ready for this one. The army seems not to have known what type of people were there and what type of weapons they had. It was hard for Israel to conceive that the ship, sponsored by the country of Turkey, would have such weapons. Israel was prepared to deal with anarchists, and instead had to deal with terrorists – that’s the feeling here.’

World leaders are issuing their regular condemnations of Israeli actions. The UN, EU and the US have denounced Israel. Yet, there is little discussion over the motives of the "Free Gaza" flotilla organizers. Their aim was never to alleviate the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, mainly because no such "humanitarian crisis" exists. Tons of food and supplies are brought into Gaza every single day. The Palestinian media recently reported the inauguration of Gaza's first Olympic size swimming pool. There are luxury hotels, cafes and restaurants in Gaza!

The goal of this flotilla was to support the Hamas regime in Gaza or to embarrass Israel by provoking a response from them. This armada of hate was organized by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization which serves as a major component for Hamas' fundraising efforts. IHH had a role in Islamic terror in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. ccording to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’ in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport. It was also involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. Before leaving the port in Turkey, flotilla organizers whipped up anti-Israel hysteria with a genocidal call for slaughter of Jews. These are no peace activists.

This terrorist flotilla achieved its goal of hurting Israel. Its members' "martyrdom" had the desired affect of bringing Israel international condemnation and embarrassment and further isolating and delegitimizing her. This comes at a time when Iran makes uranium enrichment deals with Brazil, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah have thousands of deadly rockets aimed at Israel's cities and the United States' president exudes hostility and aggression towards Israel. Thankfully, no Israeli soldiers were killed in the clash with the armada's thugs but the public relations damage to Israel is done.

What will be the fallout from this deadly encounter? The Middle-East comes closer to exploding into war...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Red lines and the Green Line

Israel continues to march down the same dangerous path towards concessions and surrender. As proximity talks get under way, Palestinian demands and arrogance grows, without conceding anything towards Israel. They have made it clear that should the result of the talks not be to their liking, they will use all means at their disposal- economic, diplomatic and terror, to harm Israel.

Since the failure of the Oslo Accords, Israel's political establishment has committed itself towards the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. With each subsequent Israeli administration, the supposed "red lines" which Israel would not cross under any circumstances have disappeared. While it was at one point understood that a Palestinian state in Israel's heartland is an existential threat to Israel's survival, today total commitment to this idea is a sign of political moderation. It was once clear that the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria were there to stay; now it is taken for granted by many that the Palestinian state will be judenrein. A repartitioned Jerusalem, once an idea rejected by even the most Left-wing Israelis, is now a subject for discussion.

Every Israeli retreat has whetted the Arab appetite for more Israeli concessions. The architects of the Oslo Accords sold the world and peace-craving Israelis on the necessity to create a second Arab entity in the territory of Mandatory Palestine (ignoring the fact that such a country already exists under the name 'Jordan'). Ehud Barak set the standard for maximum Israel withdrawal when he promised to retreat to Israel's 1949 armistice line. Ariel Sharon made the expulsion of Jews and the destruction of veteran settlements in Gaza a legitimate option. Ehud Olmert reinforced Barak's disastrous policies and capitulated on the last remaining settlements in Judea and Samaria. Because of this, Bibi has imposed a de facto building freeze in Jerusalem. A divided Jerusalem is now in the realm of possibility, with the help of the most anti-Israel American administration ever.

In the Israeli and Diaspora Jewish political spectrum, anyone who is to be considered a moderate favors the surrender of Judea and Samaria. This attitude is one that is leading Israel and the Jewish world to disaster. One cannot find a Jewish leader willing to speak up for the sake of Judea and Samaria. This must end.

It is commonly assumed by many moderate leftists that whatever falls within the pre-'67 Green Lines is Israeli territory while the territory past it is Arab. It must be made absolutely clear that the Green Line is not a border. It is simply where the Jordanian, Egyptian and Israeli armies marked an armistice in 1949. The Green Line marks a ceasefire, not a border. The only reason why what is inside is Jewish while what is outside is Arab is because the advancing Arab armies ethnically cleansed Judea and Samaria of its Jews. The concept of "East Jerusalem" is a result of the Jordanian expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem after they occupied the city in 1948. Jews built "settlements" after 1967 because Jewish communities were destroyed in 1948! Hebron had a Jewish community stretching from biblical times until 1929 when it was destroyed by Arab pogroms. The community of Kfar Etzion was razed when it fell to the Jordanians in 1948. Jews have had an unbroken presence in Judea and Samaria since biblical times, with the exception of the years between its occupation by Jordan in 1948 and its liberation by Israel in 1967. Jordan's illegal expulsion of Jews should not be enshrined under international law. The San Remo Conference and the Mandate for Palestine stipulate that the legal owners of Judea and Samaria are the Jewish people and therefore the Jewish state.

The conflict has never been about territory. It is ridiculous to assume that a return to the pre-'67 border will bring peace when there was no peace before 1967. The Arab states attacked Israel in 1967 to rectify the wrongs of the 1949 borders, which were the result of the Arab rejection of the UN 1947 partition lines. Beyond all of the talk about borders lies the cause of the first Arab assault against Israel in 1948: the refusal of the Arabs to recognize Israel's legitimate right to exist as a Jewish state.

The ultimate goal of the Arab states was laid out at the Palestinian national assembly in July 1968: “Our basic aim is to liberate the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. We are not concerned with what happened in June 1967 or with eliminating the consequences of the June war. The Palestinian revolution’s basic concern is uprooting the Zionist entity.” No Palestinian group has ever disavowed this objective, as seen by Mahmoud Abbas' most recent refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The aim of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is merely one stage to the ultimate liberation of all of Palestine. The goal is to deprive Israel of strategic borders, to make the state indefensible, to demoralize and demonize it while slicing off parts of it bit by bit. Even the most moderate Palestinian and Arab leader is determined to swamp Israel with millions of hostile Arab refugees through the so-called "Right of Return", demographically putting an end to Israel as a Jewish state.

The Arabs hate Israel because it is a Jewish state, whether its borders be those of 1947, 1949 or 1967. To appease their hunger for destruction, Israel need not surrender Judea and Samaria, its biblical homeland. Every concession has increased Arab demands, while their greed has not abated one iota. When we surrender Judea and Samaria, we make Jerusalem a legitimate target for their aspirations. "Land for peace" is an enormous failure because the conflict has never been about land. When the Arabs want peace, Israel will give them it- for peace.