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It is impossible to "at any price" and "together we will win": we must shout without shame - the goal of the war is first and foremost the defeat of Hamas | Israel Hayom

2023-12-07T20:48:48.901Z

Highlights: It is impossible to "at any price" and "together we will win": we must shout without shame - the goal of the war is first and foremost the defeat of Hamas. The dilemma of the abductees is frighteningly similar to the dilemmas that plagued our ancestors. As then, now, Jews were kidnapped from their homes or on the roads, and the leaders were required to decide: the lives of the individual or the defense of the many. If we prefer the return of the hostages to victory in the war, we will pay with the blood of tens of thousands.


The dilemma of the abductees is frighteningly similar to the dilemmas that plagued our ancestors. As then, now, Jews were kidnapped from their homes or on the roads, and the leaders were required to decide: the lives of the individual or the defense of the many. If we prefer the return of the hostages to victory in the war, we will pay with the blood of tens of thousands


Hanukkah is a controversial date. Controversies accompanied his birth, shaped his image and continue to be abandoned around him to this day.

Lighting the first candle in the Square of the Abductees // Photo: Moshe Ben Simhon

The leaders tell us that it is possible to do both. But we know that we have had and will have either-or situations – or kidnapped lives or Hamas defeats – and that we will have to decide which 'or' to choose and which 'or' to give up

The most famous controversy was born only about 100 years ago. The thinkers of Zionism, who brought about great revolutions in Judaism, brought back to Chanukah an ancient story of a heroic war of the few against the many, and blurred the stories and prayers that saw Hanukkah as a holiday of divine miracle ("A miracle did not happen to us / A jug of oil we did not find").

Dilemmas of war

Were the Maccabees really few versus many then? Cares? This is our culture, this is our story. As Ahad Ha'am says in his article on Moses: We don't know if we really left Egypt. It's faith, not knowledge. But this story has made us who we are. Thanks to him, we have instilled in humanity the highest values: freedom, equality, Shabbat, gifts of the poor, stranger, orphan, widow. We did not grow this best because we were or were not slaves, but because we say we were slaves.

On Passover we celebrate a birthday, on Hanukkah we celebrate "only" victory. The story of the Maccabees is not as important and central as the story of the Exodus, but its war is more relevant.

On Passover, God did all the work for us—He was the one who struck, who drowned, who saved. On Chanukah we fought with our own hands – we raised an army, we shed blood, we sacrificed, we were killed. God stood by us, yes, but if we didn't fight, He wouldn't have any way to help us.

Families of the abductees lighting the first candle of Hanukkah with the sign: "Illuminating the Abductees" // The Western Wall Heritage Foundation

Passover is a simple holiday. It has no polemics, no arguments, no dilemmas. Even with a lover of controversy like us, he found nothing to quarrel about. Hanukkah, on the other hand, is not an easy holiday, precisely because its war was humane.

In human warfare, there are dilemmas that raise difficult controversies. Sometimes disagreements erupt during battle, and sometimes at the end of battles. There is no war without dilemmas, and there are no dilemmas without disagreements.

The people of Israel did not fight from the Bar Kochba revolt until 1948, but dilemmas of war have preoccupied our sages throughout the generations. The dilemma of the abductees, for example, which until Black Sabbath bothered us "only" in times of war, is terribly similar to the dilemmas that plagued our ancestors in all periods and places.

As then and now, Jews were kidnapped from their homes or on the roads, and leaders were required to decide between the lives of the individual versus the protection of the many. If their enemies' demands are not met, the abductees will be murdered – and if the demands are met, their enemies will kidnap more and more Jews.

The destruction in the village of Gaza after the infiltration of Hamas terrorists, photo: Ilya Yegorov

Ni identifies with the families of the abductees and understands the demonstrators and even the reporters and broadcasters. But leaders are supposed to do what the people need, not what the people or parts of them want

What to do? How to decide?

Both

When I took my first steps outside Haredi society, I discovered to my surprise that my strongest source of inspiration was Tuvia the milkman.

40 years ago, all Ashkenazi Jews in our country were categorized into three groups: secular – religious – ultra-Orthodox. A young Ashkenazi woman who quotes her Rebbe ancestors, but refuses to marry a Hasid, who studies halacha but wears pants, who says "Baruch Hashem" but travels on Shabbat, a young woman like me was considered complicated, confused, spineless in those days.

What are these contradictions? How long will you skip both counts? Today they don't ask anymore. Most of the Israeli public is traditional, regardless of ethnicity. But in those days only the Spaniards could be traditional.

I was ashamed of myself, I didn't understand myself. Then, out of the depths of embarrassment, I found Tuvia the milkman, an Ashkenazi like me, who, whenever faced with a dilemma, says to himself, "On the one hand – on the other," raises arguments for each side and finds his own way to combine the two sides. So what if he's a fictional character? He is so authentic.

I'm like him. I don't want to and can't be an either-or. On each side there are things that appeal to me, that suit me. Life is complex. My identity is complex. I am "both."

The release of Mia Leimberg from Hamas captivity, photo: None

Those who demand the release of the abductees "at any price" are actually saying that their blood is more precious than the blood of our children and grandchildren. It's okay to say that. It is permissible to demonstrate for this. But let's at least admit that it is what it is

Tuvia the milkman gave me the strength not to give in to the dictates of "either-or" dictates of Ashkenazi origin. As I gained more knowledge of Judaism, I discovered more and more sources that support the "both" approach (for example, of Beit Hillel). But at the age of 20 I only had Tuvia.

or – or

"Both" guides me not only in my Jewish identity, but in all areas of life. In unimportant things like types of food, in things that are a little important like literary taste, and in really important things like morals and values.

And although I am both at the root of my soul and my entire being, there are "either-or" things in my life. Tuvia the milkman also had. When his daughter asked to marry a non-Jew, he began to say to himself: "On the one hand – on the other," but immediately disavowed himself and shouted: "No! There's no other side here!!"

Tuvia had either-or stuff. And the Sages, the founders of Judaism, also had. Most of our sources advocate incorporating values that seem insurmountable on the surface, but they all admit that there are things that should not be compromised.

The most well-known example is on the subject of mental health supervision. It is permissible and necessary to transgress all the mitzvot in order to be saved (for if we live, we will be able to fulfill many more mitzvot). But there are sins that must not be committed, no matter what: murder, adultery, idolatry. In these three sins there is not both. Either we keep these commandments or we won't be Jews, we won't be Israelis, we won't be human.

Emily Hand meets her father after her release, Photo: AFP

The precept of "let it be killed and let it not pass" tells us by its very existence that even a compromise-seeking culture like ours knows that there are either-or-or situations in our lives.

The meaning of "at all costs"

And after all this introduction, I dare to return to the dilemma of the abductees. The decision is unbearable. Sometimes I envy the decision makers. Leaders can make more of a difference than any book I've been working on for five years.

But in this day and age, I thank God for giving me a passion for teaching and a talent for writing, not a political instinct. How good it is that I don't have to choose between returning hostages and combat considerations.

The leaders tell us that it is possible to do both. Here, thanks to the fighting, Hamas agreed to release 100 abductees. But we know that we had and will have either-or situations during the war – or the lives of abductees or the defeat of Hamas – and that we will have to decide which 'or' to choose and which 'or' to give up.

Even the demonstrators and the lobby for the families of the abductees know that it is impossible to have "both" and demand that decision makers return them "at any price" and declare that this is the ultimate goal of the war. I wonder if they secretly understand that there are prices we can't pay.

Demonstration of Gilad Shalit's parents and activists 31.10.2010, photo: Dudi Vaknin

I didn't understand. I didn't want to understand. In the past, I joined the struggle for the liberation of Gilad Shalit and cried out from the podium: Now, immediately, at any price.

I sinned. Wrong. I was misled

I didn't understand. I didn't want to understand. In the past, I joined the struggle for the liberation of Gilad Shalit and cried out from the podium: Now, immediately, at any price.

I sinned. Wrong. I was misled. If I had to make the decision, I guess I would ask the experts how many people might die in exchange for one Gilad Shalit. But when I write or speak, I don't have to learn all the details.

I'm allowed to be wrong. I'm just a teacher and a writer. I am not the prime minister.

Hamas' defeat is necessary for our existence

We paid for the release of Gilad Shalit in the 12 years since then with the blood of thousands. If we prefer the lives of the abductees to the defeat of Hamas, we will pay with the blood of tens of thousands.

The sadistic monsters that surround us will always wait for the right time and rise up to destroy us. I once naively believed that they were human beings like us, who wanted what we wanted. Today we know that their Torah is not ours, their culture is not our culture, their values are not our values. We have the sanctity of life – and with them there is the sanctity of death.

Body camera footage found on the body of a Hamas terrorist killed by IDF fighters 931 // IDF Spokesperson

Hamas' defeat is a necessary condition for our existence. If we do not win this war, our children and grandchildren will not be able to live in this country.

Those who demand the release of the abductees "at any price" are actually saying that their blood is more precious than the blood of our children and grandchildren. It's okay to say that. It is permissible to demonstrate for this. But let's at least admit it is what it is. It is impossible to say both "at all costs" and "together we will win."

Decision makers reassure us that it is possible. In the Shalit deal, too, they reassured us that it was possible. They said our army was strong enough to deal with 1,000 released prisoners with blood on their hands.

First and foremost, Hamas' defeat

I'd like the news anchors to stop staring frowning at the camera and shouting: Let them go now. But they are allowed, as mine was allowed.

Family members of the abductees at a Knesset Health Committee hearing, photo: Oren Ben Hakon

I would like the demonstrators not to shout, let them go now. But they are allowed, as mine was allowed.

This is surely allowed for families. If I were them, I would turn the world upside down and pressure the government and the cabinet and ministers to release them at any price. I wasn't like the heroic father Zvika Mor. I don't have his heroism.

I sympathize with the families and understand the demonstrators and even the reporters and broadcasters. But leaders are supposed to do what the people need, not what the people or parts of them want.

Demonstrations for the release of the abductees, at the entrance to the Kirya in Tel Aviv, photo: Gideon Markowitz

And don't tell me that this preference could only be made by a leader like Ben-Gurion, and where there are other leaders like that man. If we dare to speak out strongly against "at any price" and shout openly and unashamedly that the goal of the war is first and foremost the defeat of Hamas, it will help our leaders understand that not all the people want what the broadcasters and reporters and demonstrators want.

To stand up to the cry of the families

In times of war, I want to hug, support, love. It's very hard for me to suppress my feelings for my kidnapped brothers and sisters and write a column calling for putting Hamas' decision above their return. And if it's hard for me to write, I can't even imagine how difficult it is for decision makers.

But you are our leaders. You must stand up to public pressure and the cries of the families and admit: either the return of the abductees or the defeat of Hamas.

Both goals are important. We want both. I wish it was possible. But if and when there is a clash between them (and there certainly will be), you, our leaders, should look directly at us and say openly and unequivocally what Tuvia said: There is no other side here.

Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2023-12-07

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