Israel Forever

For the week ending 31 August 2002 / 23 Elul 5762

Israel Forever

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Gaza First is the slogan for the newest Israeli effort to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians and bring an end to the two years of bloodshed which have claimed so many lives.

If this effort succeeds it will not be too long before it is safe to evacuate IDF forces from one of the hotbeds of terrorism which has a special place in the history. The Arabs call it Nablus; we call it Shechem.

Shechem is located in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Eyval. This is the site where the Children of Israel stood 3274 years ago, soon after entering the land divinely promised to their forefathers. Six tribes stood atop one of these mountains and six others on the second. Between the two stood the Kohanim, the Levites and the Holy Ark. The Levites then proclaimed a series of blessings for those who would abide by the divine commandments and curses for those who would abuse them, to which all of Israel responded with Amen.

The curses, which are spelled out in the portion of the Torah which was read last week by Jews throughout Israel and the world, includes one which contains a message for all mankind:

Cursed is the man who strikes another in secret. (Devarim 27:24)

If the Palestinians are genuinely weary of the Intifada they must take to heart this divine curse upon terrorism which strikes in secret against innocent victims. The failure of this terrorism to achieve any political gain or to improve the lot of the Palestinian people should be adequate empirical vindication of the fact that striking in secret is cursed with failure.

It is certainly the hope of all who wish to see Israel forever that the message conveyed to the Jewish People over three millennia ago will echo in the hearts and minds of those pledged to the destruction of the Jewish State and achieve a blessing, rather than a curse, for all.

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