The Temple Institute: The Madness of Peace



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The Madness of Peace

January 15, 2001
© 2001 The Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

This morning we once again woke up to a face in our window - "For death has come up in our windows" (Jer. 9:20) - an ugly face growing all too familiar, the face of peace with the Palestinians. Israeli farmer Ronni Tsalah, 34 years old and the father of an eighteen-month- old son, was found dead this morning nearby his hothouse near Kfar Yam, in the area of Gush Katif. Tsalah had been kidnapped last night while working in his hothouse; his car had been taken to Palestinian Authority-controlled Khan Yunis, where it had been set on fire by a mob.

Every day the media reports that the violence is subsiding. Thus initial Israeli news broadcasts were quick to report that this "abominable crime" (Ehud BarakÕs words) was committed by the Hamas, so as not to cast suspicion on our partners in the Palestinian Authority (however at this writing, the Palestinian Authority itself is also suspect in the murder)...the same Palestinian Authority who released all the Hamas terrorists, and in whose jurisdiction this murder took place.Ê The same Palestinian Authority, our partners in peace,Ê who just yesterday, before the eyes of the whole world, brutally executed Palestinians who were guilty of "collaborating with Israel." But this public execution, whose consent was signed by Arafat himself, did not stop Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres, always at the forefront for human rights, from meeting yesterday with Arafat.

And apparently, the murder of another inconsequential Israeli, this time a farmer, husband and father, is not enough to deter our governmentÕs peace efforts...for the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will be meeting today for business as usual (yesterday the Palestinians boycotted the meeting - because "Israel is not doing enough to reduce the tensions"). And why should it be a deterrence? Various government officials daily claim a great reduction in violence. In addition to TsalahÕs murder, this morningÕs news also carried reports of a stabbing in Gilo, shots at an Israeli vehicle near Elon Moreh (only causing light injuries), and for the first time, shots fired last night at JerusalemÕs Neve Yaakov neighborhood, causing damage to apartments. Still, we are told that there is a reduction in violence, so the message is clear: TsalahÕs infant and widow can just get on line next to all the other widows, orphans, and maimed Israelis, but no one will stand in the way of peace.

This morning I have no words. I feel I can only repeat something that I wrote in March, 2000, which is even more relevant today:

"What sane people would willfully bring about the circumstances that guarantee its own destruction, in return for nothing? Are we dreaming? Or could it be that we are all insane?

The great Chassidic master Rabbi Nachman told a story called "The Tainted Grain." It is short enough to repeat here in its entirety:

A king once told his prime minister, who was also his good friend, "I see in the stars that whoever eats any grain that grows this year will go mad. What is your advice?" The prime minister replied, "We must put aside enough grain so that we will not have to eat from this yearÕs harvest." The king objected, "But then we will be the only ones who will be sane. Everyone else will be mad. Therefore, they will think that we are the mad ones. It is impossible for us to put aside enough grain for everyone. Therefore, we too must eat this yearÕs grain. But let us make a mark on our foreheads, so that at least we will know that we are mad. I will look at your forehead, and you will look at mine, and when we see this sign, we will know that we are both mad.

Here in Israel, some of us have the feeling that we must surely be living out some absurd parody of Jewish existence."

In closing I would like to share with you, an incident that took place last week, in which my own son was involved.

My son was driving with several friends in the Shomron (Samaria). Near a boys school, Palestinian youths were laying in wait behind a row of trees. Suddenly they sprang out and rained large rocks down upon the car in which my son and his companions were driving. The windshield and all the windows were shattered; the boys were all hit by rocks and injured. My son was struck squarely in the chest by a large boulder, and was cut by broken glass. Miraculously, all three boys were spared major injury. Fearing for their lives, they fired into the air to repel their attackers.

Bloodied, wounded, with all the carÕs windows shattered, they drove to the nearest Police Station to report the incident. The first reaction of the police? The boys were threatened with arrest for firing into the air...

"Zion shall be redeemed with judgment..." (Isaiah 1:27)

Rabbi Chaim Richman

PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 97500



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