Monday, July 31, 2006

War, Unity, and Criticism

War is a time for unity. On the other hand, the leaders whose policy of appeasement and withdrawals brought about this war are planning to continue their folly. Are we allowed to criticize them? Rabbi Eliezer Melamed deals with this question. The following is my translation of part of Rabbi Melamed’s article in last week’s issue of BeSheva:
During these days, when we are all concerned about and praying for the well being of our brothers, the civilians and the soldiers, we are obligated to mention that there are those who are to blame for this terrible situation, in which a small organization of terrorists kidnap soldiers, shoot thousands of rockets at population centers, silence the entire North of the country and plant death-traps for our soldiers. Those guilty are the diplomats that preferred to mortgage our future for the sake of the present, and the army officers that remained silent and did not warn. Those that were cruel to the inhabitants of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria acted in a feeble manner against cruel enemies, and we all see the results. It is impossible not to think that there would have been less military malfunctions, if for the past two years the army brass invested most of its energy in preparations for war against our enemies, and not in the expulsion and destruction of Gush Katif and the outposts.

Now our precious soldiers have to repair, at the price of their lives, what others perverted. It is incumbent for us to speak about this now, for if we do not speak, the lesson will not be learned. The same people who brought about this terrible situation will celebrate like heroes, and in addition afterwards they will desire to uproot more settlements, in order to additionally endanger the residents of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and the lowlands.

To our great dismay, the representatives of the nationalist opposition, instead of criticizing and sounding the alarm, are abundantly praising the Prime Minister's and Defense Minister's so called leadership. We are still far from the end of the battle. We need to honor the soldiers, for not because of the faith that they have in the politicians or in the army brass they are fighting valiantly, rather in spite of the leader's failure's they are willing to fight for Israel. If the leadership will learn the proper lessons, if those to blame will admit their guilt, and they will start a real process of policy repair, then it will be possible to praise them. Before this - it is forbidden. Praises are liable to strengthen them in their foolishness and the price we will all pay.

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