06 September 2011

An Indictment of the National Religious Public

7 Elul 5771

My "Rebbe" said, "If you love Jews enough, you say the painful things which will save them."

In that spirit, I write the following:

Dear National Religious Public, shalom~

I have lived among you, yet not part of you. I have been amazed, dumfounded, incredulous and speechless at the things I have witnessed while in your presence. While your leaders praise you and tell you how righteous you are, the creme de la creme of Israeli society, the backbone of the nation, and you're so convinced of it that you urge your brethren to follow your example, I have to tell you that there are some very serious problems in your community. I think that if you were half as righteous as you think you are, I would not have to be writing this letter. Now, I'd like you to see yourselves through my eyes, an interested and caring bystander.

The Settlement Enterprise

Two centuries ago, America promoted an ideology among their citizens known as Manifest Destiny. They believed that it was their G-d given mandate to settle the land from sea to sea - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Do you know what they did? They gave the land away - not to their enemies - to any citizen who wanted it enough to make self-sacrifices to settle on it and build it up.

The modern Israeli settlement enterprise leaves much to be desired in this respect. If a Jew comes in the spirit of self-sacrifice to settle the Land of Israel, he must overcome many obstacles first.

He must apply to a committee which will schedule an interview for him in which he will be evaluated as to his suitability to fit in with the community.

He may also be required to undergo psychological testing and evaluation.

He must be willing to pay the entrance fee of several thousand sheqels upon acceptance.

He may be allowed to live in a caravan for a set period, during which time he must build a home much the same as all the other small to large palaces which dot the landscape. If he overstays his welcome in the caravan, his name will be slandered to future potential residents as they are toured around the yishuv. This is to warn them against any thought of doing the same thing - moving in and then not building a home starting at $120,000.

He must not be poor, unemployed, old or single. Only young couples with good jobs are desired.

He should be sure that he can afford his own private transportation before moving in as public transportation is infrequent and quite expensive. If he thinks that he will be welcome to hitchhike as the kids like to do, he should be forewarned that older, employed people who hitchhike to work everyday are viewed as a "social problem." (It really bothers those who sometimes just want to enjoy the drive alone without an interloper sitting in the car with them.)

He should also be aware that if his home should ever go on "the chopping block," he should not expect any help from those whose homes are not (yet) - those who feel that as long as they are ok, why rock the boat.

Should the potential new resident have any idea of trying to open a small business to support himself and his family and grow the community, he should be aware of two things.

---The yishuv's leadership many times works purposefully to keep the yishuv small so that it remains a private little Garden of Eden (or fiefdom);

---The yishuv's leadership or someone with enough money to buy them off, often holds a complete monopoly on every business opened on the yishuv.

This is why after 45 years, there are only 300,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

Bringing the Enemy inside the Gate

The National Religious public pride themselves on expertly fulfilling the mitzvah of yishuv ha'aretz - settling the land - and yet "settling" is only half of the mitzvah. The other half is to drive out the gentiles who were living there when we arrived because they will forever compete with us for it. Furthermore, you are supposed to tear down every place and destroy every item of their religious worship. The Torah warned us that if we would be satisfied to perform only half of the mitzvah, then at some point, we, ourselves, would be driven off of the land.

Excuse me, but is this not the very threat that has been hanging over your heads since Camp David? You saw what happened to the Sinai, far away from the "heartland," and yet you didn't seem impressed. Then you saw it happen much closer - in Gush Katif - but, you've not been inspired to change your ways.

"What do you want from us?" you ask. "The government won't allow us to drive out the Arabs or tear down their mosques." To which I reply, "But would you, even if you could?" I've heard you brag about your wonderful, cordial relations with the resident enemies - the same ones who could slaughter the Fogel family on Shabbat in Itamar. (In a radio interview, a prominent resident of Sderot actually said that if the rockets would stop today, we could go back to peaceful coexistence tomorrow. And that, my dearly beloved brethren is why the rockets still rain down.)

I've heard you reminisce about sharing happy occasions with your good Arab neighbors and even having a coffee together. I've heard you speak of the bargains when you were able to shop in Arab stores and how convenient it was to have the car repaired in the next Arab village. And is there any reason why we should even go into who built the homes, shuls and schools and who laid the sidewalks and paved the roads of the yishuvim?

My dear brothers and sisters, these are not the words and actions of a Jew who is ready to kill and destroy the enemy at the gates. If you had shown Hashem that you would have if you could, then He would have counted it in your favor, but such was not the case here.

Now, today, we have a deeper problem. We are not only improperly contending with the resident enemy. Our lovely Erev Rav "Jewish" leadership in the yishuvim are importing a new enemy to our midst. It started with accepting money from Christian groups - money which was spent on spurious things like diving trips for the youth in Eilat. Then, it was welcoming them to visit, giving them access to the kindergartens, pimping the children by allowing them to be photographed and their pictures posted to Christian websites where they raise money for spreading the gospel, G-d forbid!

Then, it progressed to accepting their "free" labor and allowing them into Jewish homes to share Shabbat meals and maybe be included in the guest list for a wedding. Now - today - it has blossomed into a full scale movement of long-term settlement of Gentile Christians into Jewish neighborhoods in the Shomron, where they will live amongst G-d fearing Jews. They don't need governmental approval in order to obtain work permits. They will have their entire day free to learn Hebrew in ulpan and circulate amongst the Jews "making friends" as they are supported with missionary money from abroad. And make no mistake about it, they are the frontline troops who are here to make way for the greater invasion to come. As things get worse economically and as their doomsday scenario plays out before their eyes, they see Israel as an escape hatch. If we do not stop them and if Hashem does not stop them, we are in for even bigger problems!

I guarantee you that from Heaven's perspective, this is criminal! Criminal!! Why should Hashem continue to allow you to live in these areas when this is what you do with it!???? Not only have you not cleansed the Land of the impurity of foreign worship, but you have not even opposed it in your hearts and minds. And not only did you not oppose it in your hearts and minds, you have fostered it and promoted it by bringing it in where it did not even exist before!!!!

Perverted priorities

In the name of saving money on construction costs, for the sake of vacation trips and playground equipment and cold water (money for burying water pipes). For kavod, for convenience and for the sake of Western (anti-Torah) values like love of and unity with humanity, you have put Jewish souls in harm's way. This is CRIMINAL!! And the Torah demands that criminals be punished!

Now, a word to the women. Women from the national religious public set a great store on higher learning for women, both the secular and religious studies, and yet, when it comes to personal modesty, something for which Heaven judges very strictly, they are very lax. I do not understand the reason for this. I only know that it needs to change.

For not the first time, I was walking behind one of these women on a Jerusalem street and she was wearing a style of skirt very popular with her crowd. It is long - almost to the ankle -and yet it has a slit in the back which exposed half her thigh and the whole leg with every step she took. Also, while they wear a head covering religiously, it often shows a lot of hair. A man covers his head and a woman covers her hair. A hat perched atop the woman's head with exposed hair hanging down around does not do the job.

Furthermore, I've been an unfortunate witness to many married women from this community who work professionally and have coffee and/or lunch or share work breaks with married men from the workplace. "Friendships" bloom and grow among men with knitted kipot and women with hats and exposed hair wearing slit skirts. Learning has its place, but a truly modest woman is far superior to a learned one.

Open your eyes and see yourselves! You have much for which to repent and this is the month of repentance. You are facing an existential crisis on Sep 20th. You saw it happen in the Sinai and you saw it happen in Gush Katif. And it can happen in Judea and Samaria. Hashem is yelling at you! Open you ears and hear!! You are not completely righteous and blameless! If the worst happens, do not blame Hashem for abandoning you. You abandoned Him first with your disobedience and rebellion. He's calling you to repentance. Change your ways and Hashem will make your enemies into your footstool.

But, if you refuse to mend your ways and do teshuva and the worst happens, do not ask "Why?" Do not ask, "Why did this happen to all these tzadikim and tzidkaniot?"