THEY’RE REGULAR HEADLINES in Israel: Rockets being launched from Gaza, Iranian forces building up in Syria, Hezbollah pointing over 150,000 missiles from Lebanon at Israeli cities. And what do Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran seek to accomplish? The answer, one that Americans find difficult to believe, is that their goal is the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Jews worldwide.
Who would have imagined that, just seven decades after the Holocaust, other regimes would have the same objective as the Nazis? And, they are not small groups of misfits with no substantial money, power or arms. Iran is a major regional power, Hezbollah controls Lebanon, and Hamas, Gaza. We as American Jews, who believe in settling our differences at the ballot box, find it difficult to accept the idea that there are people looking to annihilate us. But if the Holocaust has taught us anything, it is that we need to take seriously any threats against us and our fellow Jews worldwide.
The call for our annihilation is not whispered about behind closed doors as a secret conspiracy. Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of world Jewry. Leaders of Iran speak regularly and publicly of destroying Israel, as does Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s chief in their client state, Lebanon.
Israel is facing three evil regimes with the primary source of the funds, arms and resolve for all three coming from Iran. They have the same goals as Nazi Germany, but this time, their actions are not driven by secular nationalism but by religious fanaticism. This is even more dangerous because the Islamic Republic of Iran sees the annihilation of Israel as a religious edict, mandated by Allah, by G-d Himself.
Let’s be honest; It was also the decisions of Israeli leaders that created two of the monsters that threaten us. In 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak evacuated southern Lebanon, against the advice of experienced generals, creating a vacuum that was then filled by Hezbollah. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policy of “disengagement,” removing all Jewish residents from Gaza in 2005, set the stage for Hamas’ regime. Both were doomed decisions, done out of political expediency and with hopes of peace. Both have proven disastrous for Israel and, for that matter, the Palestinians as well.
What Israel needs now is resolve. Firstly, it cannot allow Iran to gain a foothold in Syria. It must act militarily to prevent Iranian military bases and arms factories from achieving the Lebanon-ization of Syria. Secondly, Israel must stand ready to face Hezbollah in Lebanon, and if necessary, act decisively to eradicate it and their missiles that threaten Israeli cities. Finally, Israel must take the strongest stance possible in Gaza, ensuring that no attacks against Israeli civilians take place. It must also limit arms to Hamas by ensuring that the present blockade permits humanitarian aid, but no materiels that can be used to threaten Israeli civilians.
The situation is serious, and to a large degree, caused by bad decisions of Israeli leaders, who thought that withdrawing from strategic territory would minimize conflict. Sadly, the opposite has occurred. We must refrain from the wishful thinking of “two states for two peoples.” We have already created two terror states in Gaza and Lebanon, and they have proven lethal to both Jews and Palestinians. After looking at history, it becomes clear that removing Israeli forces from the West Bank will not bring an era of peace or political stability.
Rabbi David Eliezrie is at Chabad/Beth Meir HaCohen in Orange County his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.