Israel Forever

For the week ending 3 May 2003 / 1 Iyyar 5763

Stumbling Blocks on the Road Map

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The "Road Map" proposed by President Bush as a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a subject of hot debate these days. While almost all Israelis are prepared to ascribe to the patron of this plan good intentions, some serious reservations are being expressed as to how it will affect the long-range security of Israel.

Perhaps the Bible-loving president should be reminded of two passages in the Torah portion which will be read this week in the synagogue. In the first (Yayikra 19:14) we are warned against putting a stumbling block in the path of a blind man. Our Talmudic Sages point out that this warning includes offering advice to someone which will be counterproductive to his interests. There are many people in Israel and in the world who are so weary of a seemingly endless conflict that they are prepared to clutch at straws and blind themselves to the dangers of any settlement made with an enemy who continues to sponsor terror and to indoctrinate its youth with murderous hatred for the Jewish state. The American president and political leaders in Israel who support his "Road Map" without reservations should avoid putting a "stumbling block" in the path of these "blind ones" which threatens their security.

The other passage (ibid. 19:18) is the one about loving your neighbor like yourself. This has been interpreted by the Sage Hillel as a warning "not to do to others what you dont want done to you". President Bush has powerfully demonstrated that he cannot tolerate terrorism. It is therefore incumbent upon him to assure that any "road map" he proposes must show the way for Israel to also be safe from terror forever.

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