Are there No Limits?
By Shai Gefen
Religious Jews, one with smicha for rabbanus (one who gives smicha to others), go to the media and complain about Arafat not being allowed to go to Bethlehem to participate in a religious event. How low have we sunk? Are there no limits?


We all remember the terror attacks of last month, when the "peace envoy," to the Middle East, the general Anthony Zinni came to visit. There was not one complete day without terrible attacks. As he met with Arafat and flew with Sharon by helicopter, we were repeatedly attacked. After Zinni left because of the wave of attacks, all of a sudden there was a bit of a lull in the rate of attacks.

Now they inform us that Zinni is back, and we certainly have to start worrying. We’ve already experienced what happens, what the significance of an emissary to the area is, how the Arabs understand it. They begin smelling a Palestinian state, and realize it’s a good time to squeeze Israel for more concessions. And that’s when the attacks escalate.

It’s even more of a chutzpa when Sharon himself begs the Americans to send Zinni back. It’s unbelievable. Now, when Peres and Sharon continue to offer the Palestinians a state, and who knows what will be? It also turns out (not surprisingly) that while the massacres and attacks taking place on Israeli streets reached a peak, Peres sat with Abu-Ela and discussed a Palestinian state with him (with the consent and approval of Sharon).

As usual, we have to review the Rebbe’s sichos and horaos, which gives us a different perspective of the situation. In a sicha of Zos Chanuka 5746, you can learn a timely lesson about the terrible situation we are in, and understand what happens in the face of appeasement – namely the shocking response of the parties on the Right: "Every concession and all the flattery strengthen and encourages them. And as a result, they increase terrorist acts throughout Eretz Yisroel. Lately, we hear about many terrorist incidents in which Jews were killed, citizens or soldiers, in the Old City of Yerushalayim, in Chevron, in Sh’chem, and Ramalla!

"The ‘excuse’ we get is that these were coincidences: A soldier who had to get somewhere, hitched a ride and ‘it so happens’ a terrorist was in the car, who killed him. A mysterious fire broke out in a tent of soldiers, in which eight soldiers, r’l, were killed and others were injured – this is merely a coincidence.

"But these ‘coincidences’ have become everyday events, r’l! How can somebody think he’ll fool the entire world – thinking the ‘olam golem’ (the world’s a fool) – that the deaths of dozens of Jews in Yehuda and Shomron just ‘happened’?!

"Even if this happened only one time, you shouldn’t treat it as happenstance; you need to investigate and search and find the reason for it. All the more so when these ‘incidents’ have become everyday occurrences.

"There’s one fact they ignore completely: why is it that in the period of time before Camp David they feared an Israel soldier, and now the situation is the opposite, wherein an armed Israeli soldier who walks the streets of Yerushalayim, Chevron, or even Tel Aviv is not certain an Arab won’t come up behind him, attack him, and do to him, r’l, what he did in the past!?

"What changed is the Peace Agreement with Egypt and the announcement that they are prepared to return Yehuda and Shomron in exchange for a peace agreement!"

This is what the Rebbe MH"M said. It speaks for itself.

(Note: fortunately Zinni left with no untoward incidents taking place; B’H the capture of the ship carrying tons of arms showed the world who is truly interested in peace.)


Sharon was a big hero two weeks ago. He didn’t allow Arafat to go to Bethlehem to celebrate the Christian holiday. He was sure this would make a great impression and cover over his activities and security and political failures. He declared that he wouldnlet Arafat go until he handed over Ze’evi’s assassin. The message was clear.

It was to placate the Ichud HaLeumi, because they worry about Ze’evi’s honor, and it was to keep them in the Coalition, thus continuing to give a hechsher to the continued existence of a government which is discussing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The big question is: what kind of political savvy is this? There’s no question that many people were filled with "national pride" over Sharon’s courage, but there are many others who weren’t impressed. It just showed how serious a situation we’re in, because if these are the sanctions that Sharon is imposing on Arafat, if the strongest measures taken against the arch-murderer is to blow up his helicopters and not allow him to go to Bethlehem – we’re in bad shape.

You didn’t make an impression on us at all, Mr. Sharon. You didn’t let him go to Bethlehem, but instead of that you’re working on the establishment of a Palestinian state over which Arafat will be the official president.

This week, I was reminded of a sicha the Rebbe MH"M said following the Israeli’s attack on P.L.O. bases in Tunis in 5746. At the time, the Rebbe attacked the decision with reasoning that seems to fit what went on last week: "The truth of the matter is, they also knew that this action was not the answer or solution to the security situation. Their intention was merely to do something that would make a great impression, thus causing people to forget the security failures throughout Eretz Yisroel."

If I’m not mistaken, this last move didn’t even make an impression.


Parenthetically, we must mention the disgrace entailed when irresponsible people – for the sake of a minute in the limelight and in order to find favor in the eyes of the world – go to Arafat’s aid.

I am referring to a certain rav and chareidi Knesset member, who is known as "microphone-sensitive." Those people made a lot of noise in order to enable Arafat to participate in the Christian holiday celebrations. It’s hard to know where we are. Aside from the fact that we’re talking about an event of avoda zara and tuma, religious Jews went to the media with complaints about why they weren’t allowing the murderer Arafat to participate in a "religious event," as they put it. What has happened to us? Are there no limits?

Furthermore, that Knesset member, right after the massacre at Emanuel, attacked the settling there in the most despicable way, and did not withhold harsh words against the residents of Emanuel. And here for Arafat’s sake, he took a proud stance and loudly expressed "daas Torah." I didn’t see him looking upset over the fact that babies and entire families were cut down; he didn’t go to be menachem the aveilim in Emanuel, but he rushed to the media to talk about Arafat. When they fall, they fall into the abyss.


Only two and a half months have passed since the assassination of Rechavam Ze’evi, and we feel how much he is missed in the political arena. It was hard to believe it would happen so fast. One would have thought that those who are considered "mamshichei darko" ( who carry on his legacy), would follow in his footsteps in the first period after his death. I remember Lieberman saying after the assassination, "With every single issue we will think of what Ze’evi would have done." Even Minister Benny Alon said the same thing, but it’s not happening. They’ve crumbled completely. From day to day we see spineless leaders, people who say the right things but whose words are backed up by nothing.

Following the revelation and documents the newspapers presented to us about Peres’ and Abu-Ela’s plans, we saw them contorting themselves to explain their lack of response. Yvette Lieberman wants to believe Sharon that he will support the process only till he gets a vote on the budget. Benny Alon said something even more ridiculous than his colleague. Each one squirmed and tried to explain how they are the vanguard to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. You just don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

The question is, what do Lieberman and Alon actually think? Don’t we see and hear? Can they simply make do with a few strong words against Arafat and Peres? Alon now took on a certified public relations expert in order to better convey the message about why he has to remain in the government.


Unlike all those who refer to the "Oslo Tragedy," I don’t consider Oslo a tragedy. The Oslo Accords were a direct consequence of the unfortunate Camp David Accords, and as long as we don’t understand that, it’s not likely we will free ourselves from the chains of Oslo. The fact is that since the Oslo Accords, we’ve had Netanyahu, we have Sharon, and yet we continue, more or less, along the same lines. Why? Because even those who speak about the Oslo Tragedy, talk about finding more "realistic" solutions.

So they suggest one form of autonomy or another, and all sorts of responses. And what will happen after the Oslo Accords are no more? Did anybody think of that? Won’t they find us some other agreement which will lead to the same results?

Knowing what the sickness is, is half the cure, and the sickness is the Camp David Tragedy. Oslo, the Wye Plantation, and the agreement Peres made with Abu-Ela, are all results of that terrible agreement. It would be more accurate to describe Oslo as the War," which is a direct result of the Camp David agreements.

Naturally, among certain groups, it’s more popular to think of history beginning with 1993, when Rabin stood on the White House lawn. They prefer to forget the past and they forget who brought all these tragedies upon us. It is only the knowledge and awareness that the problem started with Camp David, that will provide us with the solution for all the later problems. Until we get it and act accordingly, we will remain stuck with the same problem. They’ll attempt to bring a solution from the Right and from the Left, but nothing will really change.

The leader and Nasi HaDor, showed us the way. In hindsight, we see what was clear prophecy. The Rebbe also provided solutions to all those events and future scenarios. But it seems that even as we stand poised on the brink of hell, even as the fire consumes us, we are not ready to draw the necessary conclusions. When we internalize what the Rebbe said, perhaps there’s hope that others will understand it.

This is what the Rebbe said to Elyakim Rubinstein in Cheshvan 5750 about the Camp David tragedy, "We see how correct Shamir was in his fighting against Camp David, and we see the results which were caused by Camp David. Till this day, we suffer from that deal."


Twenty years ago, on 24 Teives 5742, the Rebbe taught us a chapter in the laws of askanus regarding shleimus ha’Aretz, how far you must go in order to abolish the decree, and how greatly it ought to affect us.

These days, as rabbanim and communal figures meet with people in the government to work on them regarding the idea of shleimus ha’Aretz and the security of the Jewish people, it’s worth examining this sicha:

When Poland made decrees against the Jews, a delegation of Jews went to annul the decree and did not succeed. When they went to the Chafetz Chaim in order to discuss their failure, they told him they had spoken to the minister and presented all their arguments, but it didn’t help.

The Chafetz Chaim asked, "Did any of you faint at the time? If it truly bothered you, one of you would have fainted!"

From this story, the Rebbe concludes how rabbanim and askanim ought to conduct themselves when they go to work on protecting the security of the Jewish people. When something shocking, which affects the security of Jewish people happens, any normal Jew who cares does not make calculations about whether it pays to cry out, or if his cries will be effective, etc. When it truly hurts, you truly cry out!

Unfortunately, we can forget about fainting. But why don’t we hear the voices of rabbanim and askanei tzibbur in Eretz Yisroel? Why is it, that when the security and political situation is so bad, when it’s clear where these leaders are heading, and when we all see the results, the shocking silence continue? I’m not addressing myself to any particular group, or to a particular rav. Whoever thinks the Rebbe’s sicha applies to him, is not mistaken.

The time has come for each of us to ask ourselves: Have I fainted? What have I done for the security of Ahm Yisroel? The main point of the sicha is that when it truly hurts, you truly cry. Unfortunately, we still don’t hear the cries.


The optimists always told us that the time would come when even the "Left" (not necessarily the Left per se, but whoever went against Shulchan Aruch, siman 329) would understand the terrible mistake and change its approach, from one of capitulation to goyim to its opposite.

Now it turns out there are no limits, and the more serious the situation gets, the more confusion there is. If we thought there’d be a change, it seems it’s way off in the distance, and who knows where we must get to until they change their way of thinking.

Today it’s no longer in to speak about peace and Arafat in the same breath. Reality is stronger than anything. But let’s think about whether it has brought about a fundamental change in all those who brought us to the edge. It definitely did not.

Minister Mattan Vilnai, who in the past was considered as a candidate for chief of staff of the Army, spoke and said that despite the capture of the ship bearing fifty tons of arms to the P.A., he still thinks the political process should continue with Arafat. He was "disappointed" in Arafat, but there was no choice; they had to carry on. Beilin and Peres speak more openly about what they think.

Whoever thought that revealing the problems would lead to the solution, is seriously mistaken. It is only with a fundamental change in the line of thinking, a change in the approach of all our leaders here about the capitulation before goyim, and mainly the idea of "what will they think" – that we stand a chance that something will change. Chazal say, "Even when the wicked stand at the entrance to hell, they do not repent." This statement takes on new meaning in light of the turmoil here.


Israeli propaganda has once again succeeded in getting to us. Last Friday we heard the news of the IDF’s daring takeover of the ship carrying fifty tons of arms designated for the P.L.O. This became the topic of conversation everywhere. Everybody was amazed by the IDF’s accomplishment, which perhaps restored some of the military’s reputation after a number of failures in recent years.

But it doesn’t impress or calm us. There’s no question that the operation and the capturing of weapons is a terrific thing, but let’s make a simple calculation of one plus one. How many weapons does Arafat have within the P.A. – the weapons he has amassed over eight years of Oslo? Do you think Arafat has spent the last eight years growing lettuce in the territories?

Arafat and his friends have been busy gathering weapons all along, and there’s no doubt that ships of the kind that was just captured, have gotten through in the past. Those in charge of security tell us that in the thousands of trips Arafat made around the world, he smuggled weapons in his helicopter. And what about the tunnels in Rafiah, and what about their own manufacturing of weapons in innocent, civilian factories, most likely in Gaza?

So perhaps, in order to pat ourselves on the back and for Israeli P.R., capturing a ship is important, and neither do I denigrate public opinion, but why go far off. Right under our noses is far more. We don’t have to sail 500 kilometers out to sea in order to capture that amount of arms. If the political higher-ups would give the green light to enter the P.A.’s territory and begin collecting weapons, we would find 10,000 tons of weapons!

But the greased propaganda machine works well. The Jewish nation is calmed (until the next attack, c’v). They captured a ship with weapons and the national mood went up a few notches because of the daring operation. But what about our security? Tell us the truth about what you know about the enormous stockpiles of weapons in the P.A. By the way, the same thing happened with Arafat in Lebanon. The amount of weapons found there was beyond belief, and we all know that the present situation is no better than what it was.


President Mr. Moshe Katzav managed to surprise us all. He was going to Ramalla, no more and no less, and would announce a hudna, a temporary ceasefire, and "the solution" would follow shortly. His luck, the idea died while it was still in the incubator. Katzav fell prey to the blandishments of Arafat and his patron, Mubarak. If Sharon’s office defined the idea as "absurd" I have nothing else to call what Katzav tried to do. In his mind he imagined how all the world’s leaders would come to see him, as the man who achieved the long-awaited solution.

What caught my attention, after Katzav’s idea, was his conversation with the Rebbe MH"M precisely ten years ago, on Yud Shevat 5752. The Rebbe spoke to Katzav for twenty minutes and warned him what Shamir’s autonomy would lead to. (And you don’t have to be a big Chassid to see this happening before our very eyes.)

The Rebbe tried to stop what was then called the "Madrid Conference," at the last moment, which opened the door to continued talk about giving up land. Among other things, the Rebbe told Katzav, "You know Arabic, so ask the Arabs who live there and you’ll see that they will tell you that what they think talks of autonomy in five years means is the actual giving them parts of Eretz Yisroel to establish a Palestinian state. So it makes no difference how the Jews interpret it, because the main thing is how the goyim look at it...

Mr. Katzav, before you went to suggest a hudna to Arafat, I would have suggested that you look over that heart-wrenching conversation, which was said publicly. It would have paid to go to Ramalla in order to ask them what they meant when they offered us their hudna, and what they mean when they talk about peace. If you really want to know what the Arabs mean, go and ask them and you’ll get the full answer. If you went for that purpose, we would encourage you.

Even then, ten years ago, you had the supreme nerve to say that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was mistaken. I remember you and Mr. Shamir explaining, after you returned from the mission the Rebbe sent you on, that the Rebbe doesn’t understand, and you wanted to calm the Rebbe and let him know everything was okay.

Exactly ten years later, we all see who was right. Who, with his prophetic vision, told you, word for word, what would happen here: these talks are the first step towards giving away parts of Eretz Yisroel. And not just small parts, but large parts, like Yehuda, Shomron, Gaza, Chevron, and Yerushalayim, and this is a matter of pikuach nefesh!?

Two years ago, at a kinus at Yad Eliyahu in honor of Yud Shevat, you asked the Rebbe for forgiveness due to the events taking place then, and now that you, more than anybody else, see how true the Rebbe’s words were, which were said with open prophecy, you suggest a hudna with those lowlife murderers, whose only goal is destruction!

Mr. Katzav, you’ve definitely fallen into the trap of those around you. The time has come for you to use your position as president in order to broadcast what the Rebbe so clearly said, and not the way you’ve conducted yourself these past ten years.


It is customary for a businessman to draw up a balance sheet in order to know how his business is doing, whether he’s in the red or in the black, or standing still. This is the only way to know whether he’s on the right track. This is what everybody does except the leaders of Israel. It makes no difference here what happens. Reality can prove otherwise, but who would dare to express doubts and change direction?

Ten years is certainly a nice amount of time to evaluate the situation. Ten years ago, about twenty Jews were killed in terrorist acts. The terror tally for the year 2001 is 202. Over ten times more than the period of time before the signing of the Oslo Accords. This hair-raising statistic doesn’t even rate a mention in the media.

Which of those leaders took the data in order to check out what happened since they allowed Arafat in? What the weapons they distributed to the Arabs were used for? How many Jews were killed by Palestinian policemen in the powerful police force which was given to them?

Is anybody bothering to examine it? Is there anybody offering a din v’cheshbon about what he brought on us these last ten years? Have we learned any lessons from what has happened?

They always asked us what the alternative is, and whenever they ask this question we begin blushing in shame. "What’s the alternative" is the phrase the Left used to drag an entire country into the abyss. Instead we should be asking them: what did your alternative do for us, other than bring us blood and tears? If this was your alternative, who needs alternatives?!




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