22 February 2003 / 20 Adar I 5763

Israel's Stake in the War Against Saddam

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

Israel’s problems with the “land between the rivers,” variously known as Babylon, Mesopotamia and Iraq, go back some two and a half thousand years. In modern times the Iraqis have joined forces with the other Arab states who invaded the newly formed Jewish state, and tried once again to destroy it two decades later. Terrorists intent on wrecking havoc in Israel have been provided with substantial financial encouragement by the dictator of Baghdad.

All of these modern threats pale, however, in comparison with the threats posed by the same dangerous dictator’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. In truth, there is no logical reason for Iraq to use any weapons against a country with which it shares no border, and one which poses no threat to its security. Nevertheless, the Iraqi ruler has constantly called for the destruction of the Jewish state, and started over twenty years ago to develop a nuclear capacity for achieving that goal. The daring destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 served as a temporary halt to these dangerous ambitions, which surfaced again a decade later with the invasion of Kuwait.

This time the world woke up to the danger which Israel had recognized so much earlier, and an American-led coalition succeeded in liberating Kuwait, but failed to finish the job of eliminating Saddam. Although Israel was the first to sense the Iraqi threat and to act against it, the considerations of geopolitics forced its army to remain passive while ballistic missiles fell upon its population centers.

It took the tragedy of 9-11 to wake America and the rest of the world to the threat posed by the “axis of evil” and to begin taking steps to disarm Iraq of its biological and chemical weapons. Once again the American president, intent on finishing the job started by his father, with an international coalition behind him, has asked Israel to stay out of the fight.

Even as Israel stands along the sidelines, taking the necessary defense precautions in the event that a cornered Saddam will vent his frustrations by unleashing missiles once again, it finds difficulty in understanding those European nations who are so opposed to the American-Anglo initiative to disarm Saddam. The same countries whose wrongheaded policies brought about the death of tens of millions in World War Two are repeating the historical errors of seeking an illusory “peace in our time” by treating a dangerous madman with silk gloves.

Jews in Israel can only hope that in the merit of their faith in Heavenly protection, as expressed in their intensified prayers and Torah study, they will enjoy a repetition of the guarantee which their leader Moshe gave them when they were threatened by another Middle East power:

“Hashem will wage your war for you and you remain silent”

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