What Does The Lubavitcher Rebbe Say?

Videos, Sichos and Letters on Eretz Yisrael

Translated by Rabbi Alexander Zushe Kohn

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Who Began The Land Give Away Process?

        “...all of the pressure, concessions and so on, are founded in, and encouraged by certain well-known, (Jewish) influential groups within Israel itself, whose influence on international relations is, at times, absolute. Moreover, they actually invite pressure, either directly or indirectly. An undeniable proof to this -- one that I have already pointed out many times and that has even been publicized in the papers -- is the fact that immediately after the Six-Day War they sent an official, though inconspicuous delegation, made-up of government representatives (-- ministers) to Washington with an offer to give back all of the territories that the Jews recaptured, in exchange for so-called “peace”.  

(From a letter of the Rebbe, Likkutei Sichos p. 561)

The Middle East Crisis through the eyes of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn

          In the wars that Israel has fought in recent years, three grave mistakes were made, all of them the results of placing political considerations above security considerations:

1) The most difficult battle of the Six Day War was the one fought over Jerusalem’s Old City. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were killed. Why? Because for political reasons, (such as ‘what will the Vatican say?’ etc...) a resolution to conquer Jerusalem’s Old City was not made. As a result, security officials did not prepare an attack on Jerusalem, and hundreds of Jews were killed and wounded.

2) Today everyone admits that prior to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, clear information was received concerning the impending attack from Egypt. Security officials calculated that a fully deployed Tzahal could abort the attack, thereby lessening the number of ‘sacrifices’. Moreover, when the enemy would hear about the ‘full deployment’, this alone could deter them from war. Such was the opinion of the military experts. But the politicians thought otherwise: “It does not pay to anger the United States...!” This consideration brought devastating consequences -- thousands upon thousands of sacrifices, may G-d avenge their blood, as well as many wounded, many of whom have remained maimed until this very day!

3) The very same mistake was repeated in the Lebanese War (Shalom HaGalil): Military experts demonstrated how a surprise attack against Lebanon would bring unusual success and a swift conclusion to the operation. But the moment the army went ahead to war the politicians began to clamor, and  day by day they hindered the armies activities until the matter became problematic. As a result, sacrifices have been falling (r”l) for weeks and months now! Why don’t they learn from the past...?!”

(See public addresses of Kislev 1976 and Kislev 19, 1983)

Kastener's Legacy Of "Jews Come Last" Built Into Israel's Present Government

            “Recently, it became known that during the Holocaust — may G-d protect us — clear information was received, to the effect that if the United States would bomb the railroad tracks leading to the ‘extermination camps’, the mass exterminations would be halted (or at least reduced). Attempts were made to persuade President Roosevelt to order such an operation, but certain Jews intervened (including some Rabbanim who were given distorted information), and held back the pressure on Washington, citing the verse, “Do not incite the nations,” and similar arguments. The rescue of many Jews was thus withheld. 
“Those very same ‘leaders’ and their disciples are now continuing down the same path, using the same argument, i.e., we may not incite the nations.

(From the Rebbe’s public address — Bechukotai, 5738 - 1978)

Concessions For What?

  There are those who argue: “We must make concessions, for we need the chesed le`umim, the money and weapons which the United States gives us. It doesn’t pay to anger them; we have to give in to their demands...” The response to this is that if Israel makes concessions then, heaven forefend, there will be nothing left for which to utilize the money and weapons which they will receive.

As we see already now, when the enemy is given concessions they immediately ask for more. In fact they have already stated that before the agreement is actually signed they will ask for more! And so it will continue until they ask for Jerusalem’s Old City...!!
Only if they stand strong will there be money and weapons. As we have seen up until this point, those issues on which they stood firm, did not hinder the transfer of money and weapons. (Perhaps they caused a temporary disturbance, but nothing in the long range).

(See public address of 19 Kislev, 1978)

Democracy vs The Responsibility To Save Lives

          Even in a democracy, such as New York for example, if someone would climb the Brooklyn Bridge and threaten to jump into the river, the police and firefighters would immediately be summoned to prevent the person from  jumping at all costs. But wait! What about democracy? This individual, one could argue, is his own master, and no one has the right to tell him what to do with his own life! The fact is though, that when it comes to human life, the issue is no longer one of democracy; rather, everything possible is done to save the person. Now if this is true concerning one human-being, how much more so it true when the lives of millions of Jews are at stake! No one -- not even they themselves -- has the ‘right’ to endanger their lives!

(See public address of Cheshvan, 1985)

The Correct Approach Is To Walk Away From Negotiating

          The solution to the political situation in Israel is the very opposite of the approach taken by the Israeli governments up until now. Their approach has been that the more concessions they will make on matters of vital interest, the more they will gain. This approach however, runs contrary to the nature of the United States. The United States arose and was founded through firm adherence to the principle that on matters of vital interest concessions cannot be made. They maintained this stance despite opposition from England, France and essentially the entire world.

(Talk with Mr. Elyakim Rubinshtein, Cheshvan 1989)

We Must Tell The Truth: Since Abraham's Covenant, G-d Forbids Us To Give Away The Land

          Heaven forbid that Jews should reject parts of the Land of Israel which were given to them by G-d as a gift, through unsolicited kindness and open miracles, (and not through military prowess, to which some erroneously attribute Israel’s astounding victories), by giving them to non-Jews!

Due to the fact that we are still in exile, there are parts of the Land that have not yet been returned to us. Regarding such portions, the Torah enjoins us not to incite those who presently occupy them. This condition, however, does not apply at all to those portions of the land that G-d has already returned to us, (through great miracles, moreover.)

There are those who argue that giving these portions back to the non-Jews will bring peace. The response to this is that behavior which runs contrary to the Torah (i.e., rejecting G-d’s gift) cannot possibly have positive results, and certainly cannot bring peace. Quite the contrary: only behavior that accords with Torah will bring peace. The Torah’s instruction in this area is that we must explain -- albeit in a pleasant manner -- that no one can change the fact that G-d gave us these territories as a gift.

Peace can only be achieved by behaving in accordance with the Torah’s instructions, and the Torah instructs us to tell the truth.
When speaking with non-Jews too, it is forbidden to tell them lies. It is forbidden to speak to them “diplomatically”. They must be told the truth -- that since at the Covenant Between the Parts, G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel as an eternal inheritance, we may not be unappreciative by refusing to accept His gift.

Moreover, they must be told that we are forbidden to even entertain such a notion. Heaven forbid, that after G-d has taken the Land from the gentiles and returned it to us, someone should come along and desire to give it back to them.

Never before has something like this happened to the Jewish People!  Certainly, in the end, we will witness the fulfillment of the verse, ‘Plan a conspiracy and it shall be annulled, speak your piece and it shall not stand, for G-d is with us!’ For as King Solomon said, ‘Many are the schemes in the heart of Man, but only the counsel of G-d will prevail’

(From the Rebbe’s public address, 10 Teves, 5742 - 1982)

Israel Began The Land For Peace Process, Israel Can End It

1992 The Spiritual and Diplomatic “Advantages” of Peace Talks: Meeting Mr. Moshe Katzav (Before he was President of Israel)

“I recently heard a bizarre and shocking rumor -- that the Israeli government is discussing and planning to give away portions of the Land of Israel. The discussions are currently focused on a five year plan called ‘autonomy’. In truth however, it doesn’t matter what government officials are calling it, because the fact is that these discussions and plans fall under the explicit Torah prohibition of Lo Sechaneim, i.e. the prohibition against giving any part of Israel to non-Jews. These discussions will in fact result in the eventual giveaway of parts of Israel, and as thus represent a denial in G-d, His Torah, the Land of Israel and the holiness of the Land.

These autonomy talks are the first step to the giving away of parts of Israel -- not only small parts, but large parts as well, such as Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Hebron, Jerusalem, etc. This is very literally a matter of life and death! As I said, the manner in which Jews like to think of these talks, and the way in which they explain them is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Gentiles view these talks as the first step in an operation that will lead to the giving away of parts of Israel and to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

You understand Arabic. Go ask the Arabs living in Israel what they make of these talks. You will see; they will tell you that their interpretation of the ‘five year autonomy talks’ is that they will be given parts of Israel for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. Therefore, the way in which the Jews like to interpret these talks is irrelevant. The essential factor is the manner in which the Gentiles are viewing it.
The mere discussions of the ‘autonomy plan’ are in and of themselves a desecration of G-d’s Name and a desecration of the holy. It is one thing that there are Jews living in Israel who in their own personal lives do not observe Torah and Mitzvahs. It is quite another matter however, when the government of Israel declares open war against G-d and His Torah.

As for the explanation they give, that the issue is merely one of allowing the Arabs to conduct their own affairs in such areas as education, agriculture and the like, but not in areas of foreign relations and security, and that it’s only on a trial basis -- if this were indeed true, it would be a matter of diplomacy and I would not debate with you. You apparently understand diplomacy better than I do. The fact of the matter however, is that this is not an issue of diplomacy, but one of giving away parts of the Land of Israel. The very talks, in and of themselves, are a desecration of G-d’s Name, and in opposition to G-d and His Torah. Consequently, all the dainty and delightful diplomacy that Jews wish to make of it is irrelevant.

As for the argument that due to the current wave of Russian immigration and other important interests which require U.S. involvement, the U.S. opinion must be taken into account -- the bottom line is that this is the first step in the giving away of parts of Israel. The proof is that the politicians   themselves, say that they are doing this only because they are intimidated by the Gentiles, and because they are being pressured, etcetera -- which means that the moment that there will again be pressure, they will again become intimidated, and the pattern will continue without end. Indeed, they have already seen from the past that bowing to pressure only brings more pressure in its wake.
(At this point in the exchange, Mr. Katzav confirmed the Rebbe’s words by pointing out that last year President Bush had written a letter in opposition to a Palestinian state, while this year he merely wrote that he is not ‘for’ a Palestinian state -- a perfect example of how the bowing to pressure had resulted in a change of attitude on the part of the United States.)

Said the Rebbe: “And we see in which direction the change is headed. It’s unacceptable for a Jew who believes in G-d and in His Torah, to Heaven forfend, be a partner to matters such as these and affix his signature to them in approval. It is thus preferable that the government should dissolve and cease to be a Jewish government -- because they speak of these autonomy plans only out of pressure from the Gentile nations (as they themselves admit). As such, it is preferable that there be established, G-d forbid, a Gentile government, which will make the decisions about what to do with the Land of Israel. This way, at least Jews will not affix their signatures to such matters. 

You are certainly acquainted with Mr. Menachem Begin, who originally did not agree with the Camp David issue. Indeed, he strongly opposed it. Eventually, however, he began to make concessions, and from what I hear, he regrets having done so to this very day.  If people who do not believe in G-d were the ones doing this, it would possible to understand. But for people who believe in G-d to affix their signatures to matters relating to the giving away of parts of Israel, is a desecration of G-d’s name.

Shamir* believes in G-d and in the holiness of the Land of Israel. It is  completely incomprehensible how he, of all people, now agrees to discuss plans, which ultimately translate into the giving away of parts of Israel.

The security of the Land of Israel comes from the One G-d. If the government will act accordingly, with the necessary strength, then they will have nothing to fear regarding Israel’s security!

For the moment, the discussions concern only a five-year autonomy plan, but this is merely because the politicians are afraid to clearly state that they intend to give away parts of Israel. Their intention, however, is quite clear. I estimate that Shamir himself is aware of this -- even more so than I.

Shamir has many merits with regard to the Land of  Israel, going back to the days of the “Irgun”, and so on. Back then, when the Gentiles had dominion over the Land of Israel (as sanctioned by Torah) Shamir fought against them -- and now it is he, of all people, that is discussing the giving away of parts of Israel.

As regards practical action -- it is my opinion, that everything possible must be done to see to it that Shamir immediately dissolve the resolution and talks of autonomy.

I always fought for a government that would be headed by Shamir. Just as I did all that was in my power toward this end, if the Israeli government will continue in this path of autonomy talks, then I, Menachem Mendel, will be the first to fight, with full force and with all my might, against Shamir, so that his government should collapse! 

Up until today only Mr. Peres opposed the Shamir government. However, should Shamir continue on the path of autonomy talks, then I too will oppose the Shamir government.

If Shamir cannot withstand the pressure of the Gentiles, then he must openly declare that due to his inability, he is no longer able to serve as prime minister!

As I have pointed out a number of times in the past, it is written that the shamir is a creature that breaks apart solid stone. Let Mr. Shamir apply himself with the full intensity of the shamir against the resolution to discuss the giving away of parts of Israel, and the entire matter will break apart and disappear. If he applies himself in this manner all such resolutions and ideas will disintegrate.

Mr. Katzav: The Rebbe shlita is the one who brought about the establishment of the present government and we want the Rebbe to continue to bestow upon it his blessing, which brings sanctity into the government.

The Rebbe: When Shamir will bring sanctity into the Land of Israel, it will give him the strength to stand up to the pressure.

Mr Katzav: Shamir will surely be strong.

The Rebbe: Until now he has been strong. Regarding the current situation -- it must be seen to it that the talks of autonomy be stopped  immediately.
Surely you will communicate all of this to Shamir, and surely you will not resent me for having given you an unpleasant mission. Communicate it in all of its intensity -- in the same manner that I have spoken it. Why should I have to personally appoint a messenger to give it over in all of its intensity? Forgive me for having spoken so harshly, but the truth is that I ought to speak of it at even greater length and in more detail. Now, however is not the appropriate time.
May it be G-d’s will that you bear good tidings concerning all this, and henceforth there be spoken only matters relating to the holiness of the Land and People of Israel. (From Rebbe’s conversation with Mr. Moshe Katzav, 10 Sh`vat, 1992)

Jewish Safety Should Be Israel's First Responsibility

        A Letter to Ariel Sharon from The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn explaining why he will not encourage his followers to establish a settlement in Chevron.

12 Elul, 5728 - 1968
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To General Ariel Sharon,

            In response to your letter: I am of one mind with you that the territories which were freed from Arab possession during the Six-day War, must not be returned, as we discussed at length when you were here to see me. To my regret however, I do not agree with you that the small reaction on the part of the Israeli public against such returns will affect any change in the position of the authoritative government bodies, which maintain that they should be returned. According to information I’ve received -- from sources that have thus far been reliable -- there hasn't been any practical change at all, in the position of the above-mentioned groups. Would that the small reaction on the part of the Israeli public would at least affect these groups to change their unofficial position -- which they are nonetheless implementing  -- on maintaining the Arab character of Jerusalem’s Old City, by forbidding Jews from settling there. (They explain this position with the claim that it is important to maintain the status-quo and keep this part of the city empty of Jews, just as it had been at the time of its capture last year. To utilize the conquest to impose something upon the inhabitants, would be “unfair and unjust”, they claim.) The obvious consequence of this position is that the Old City remains uninhabited by Jews. This state of affairs is reinforced by the government’s opinion that it is fulfilling its responsibility to the Jews, by allowing them to settle near the Old City.

Obviously, I write these words to you in an unofficial and personal manner, for I normally do not speak disparagingly of the Jewish People --especially not of those who are able to accomplish great things in the above-mentioned areas, but for various and bizarre reasons not only do not do so, but do quite the contrary.

It should be quite obvious that my intention in writing this letter is not to blame anyone, for that would accomplish nothing. Rather, it is to express my pain -- at least in writing -- to you and anyone else whom you think would benefit from being informed of the content of my words.
Now, if the government so adamantly refuses to allow Jews to settle in the holy city of Jerusalem, how much more so is this true of Chevron, in which only Arabs live, and upon which the Holy Temple never stood, and upon which -- according to reports -- the Arab settlement is already firmly established, developed and orderly.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I inquired repeatedly about the possibility of establishing a Yeshivah and so on, in Chevron. The government responded very clearly that I'd be "better off" looking into establishing a Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Obviously, (and despite the governments position), there are some Chabadniks among Chevron's Jewish settlers. (Some are there openly and others secretly). Certainly, you are aware that the plight of these settlers is almost akin to that of prisoners. The government’s explanation for this situation is once again that "we must be 'fair and just' ”. The common basis for all of these negative phenomena is the government's fear of what the "gigantic" world will say if Jews are allowed to settle in the newly conquered territories. We spoke of this when you visited me. 

In light of the afore-mentioned, how can I possibly encourage my followers to settle in Chevron? What if, for example, a fight breaks out between an Israeli lad and an Arab lad, and the Jew, who would presumably be outnumbered, gets beaten up or worse, G-d forbid? On whose side would the Israeli military police stand, in your opinion?

Especially if the Arab mayor (who, incidentally, I believe was involved in the Chevron riots of 1939, may G-d spare us), comes along and makes a loud fuss about Jewish provocation, and so on!?

My awareness of the government's position also explains why I asked you -- when you were here -- for an explanation of the fact that Jerusalem's Old City was conquered last year in a manner which caused many of the finest Israeli soldiers to die in battle.
Incidentally -- or maybe not so incidentally -- you still owe me a reply (for when you were here you said that you would investigate the matter and provide me with an answer), regarding the question of whether or not my sources of information -- which have been reliable thus far --  were correct in stating that the order for this inefficient manner of conquest came, (unchallenged), from "the top". Would that this would turn out to be untrue.

Worry For "What Will America Think" Causes Needless Thousands Of Deaths

 I wish to add, that I did not, G-d forbid, ask my question about this very painful subject out of curiosity, but rather, to demonstrate the thinking pattern of those who gave this order. Many of them are still in charge, and to our regret and shame, their perspective has not changed in the slightest. Last year, when they gave this order, they knew at the outset that it would result in a greater amount of casualties. The same, (i.e., that they are aware of the dangers), can be inferred regarding the current situations in Chevron, Jerusalem, and so on.

It is self-understood that I do not despair of a change occurring in this state of affairs, but until then, the suggestion that a person of influence should issue a call for Jews to make aliya and settle in Chevron, cannot possibly be considered. This is especially so regarding persons whose influence is likely to not only generate a certain thinking pattern, but to bare concrete results, actually causing people to make aliya. Were this to happen, it would clash with the above-mentioned position of the Israeli government, and lead to sharp disagreements, as well as harsh decrees against the people making aliya. Such developments would eventually become public knowledge, -- not only among other Jews, but also among the gentiles. Everyone would see that the Israeli government is restricting, (to put it mildly), the settlers and the new Jewish immigrants. This would be very degrading and encourage the hate-filled spirits of the Jewish People’s enemies.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I do not despair of a change occurring in the governments position, but it is not the slight reaction on the part of the Israeli public that will bring it about, but rather the mistakes of the Arabs and their supporters. As we saw last year, it was the mistakes of the enemy that finally forced the "pursuers of peace" to agree to defend Israel, and consequently, to launch an offensive war. Would that in the future the government would realize its erroneous perspective in a trouble-free manner -- without spiritual, physical, or even financial harm befalling any of our Jewish brethren, wherever they may be.

It is amazing to what extent the term “stiff-necked nation” -- conferred upon the Jewish People by our holy Torah -- applies even nowadays. The problem is that the stubbornness is being utilized in a manner that is antithetical to Torah and the vital interests of the Jewish People. Take for example, the recent hijacking by the Algerians, of an El-Al airliner. Although the world’s reaction -- even of those who are supposed to be friends of the Jewish nation -- was clearly pathetic, the Israeli leadership nevertheless felt it necessary to thank the Gentile nations for the so called solution they had come up with, calling it a “moral victory” and so on. Even if it were true that the Israeli government had to agree to the blackmailing (in order to save lives, and so on), who forced them to credit specific individuals with being "ethical", "perfectly righteous", "role-models" and so on? But then again, one cannot question the behavior of a stiff-necked people. Indeed, the stubborn insistence on clinging to this despicable faith in the beneficence of the gentile nations has become so intense, (despite the forewarning of our prophets and seers, that “the kindness of the nations is sin”, for as explained by the Sages, “they do kindness and charity only for their own self-glorification”), that even the Czechoslovakian invasion did not weaken or budge it. Although the Czechoslovakian issue does not appear to have anything to do with this letter, it is in fact connected, for it demonstrates the attitude of those in charge of things in our holy land -- an attitude that expresses itself in painful and regrettable actions that bode ill for the future, (at least until such time as they rid themselves of their crooked perspectives).                                           

To conclude on a positive note: Thank you for extending my warm regards to the residents of K`far Chabad upon your visit there. I was told that the words emanated passionately from your heart, inspiring the people and strengthening them. Everyone needs inspiration and strength, and the people of K`far Chabad are no exception. This is especially true of these tumultuous days, and of Israel, which on the one hand is the “land that G-d’s eyes are upon from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”, as our Torah states, yet on the other hand, is surrounded by enemies who day by day notice more and more points of weakness in the way the Israeli government handles them. They see that the Israeli leadership treats them with silk gloves and takes unnecessary precautions not to annoy them, to the extent that if there is an argument between an Arab and an Israeli, they react to the matter only after verifying how the various governments of the world are going to react to their decisions. This is why, every so often, the enemy takes the liberty to raise the level of rioting and disturbances, which leads to terrorism and so on.

In light of the approaching new year, let me paraphrase the traditional prayer: May it be G-d’s will that the current year with all of its negative occurrences should come to a total and absolute end, and in the coming year, as in the final days of the current year, the blessings should begin, including a major transformation in the above-mentioned position of the Israeli government.  May such a transformation takes place before undesirable occurrences force it to do so. The Israeli government need not be afraid to do the right thing, for they have seen the miracles that G-d A-lmighty has wrought on behalf of Israel in the recent past, and He can certainly perform miracles again in the future -- in a visible and revealed manner, to quote the traditional saying. 

Attached, you will find 4 clippings of newspaper articles.

            With honor and blessings that you and yours be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.
As I mentioned above, due to the particular nature of the painful contents of this letter, I have written it as a personal letter to you. If, however, you think there might be an advantage in communicating its contents to certain individuals, you may do so. Let me conclude with the hope that just as my letter to you is openhearted and relatively lengthy, you will reciprocate in kind, by responding to all of the points therein in the same manner. This, in addition to replying to my above-mentioned question concerning the inept manner in which Jerusalem was conquered last year, and my other questions regarding which you had hoped to investigate and answer upon your return to Israel.

Translated by Alexander Zushe Kohn Email

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Concessions For What?

18 Menachem Av, 5730 - (Summer of 1970)
Brooklyn, N.Y.

         Letter to Ariel Sharon From The Rebbe

Greetings and blessing!
I gratefully acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 16. Due to the importance and urgency of the matter I am hastening to respond, especially to the letter’s conclusion.

As we discussed when you were here, it is my opinion that your proper place is in Tzahal (the army), and it is there that with G-d’s assistance you are successful and will continue to be so. Of course, this is in addition to the benefit derived thereby by the general public -- the Jewish Nation, the Holy Nation that dwells in the Land of Israel, the Holy Land, which G-d  has blessed you with the privilege of protecting by means of your exceptional abilities, effort and vigor.

For this reason -- and I told you this when you were here -- you must certainly continue to serve in this very important capacity and role. I strongly hope that even if someone in Tzahal is not treating you properly, he too will ultimately acknowledge that you are a sincere person with a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to your mission -- indeed, to the extent that it is your very life.

Based on the above-stated, one can readily appreciate my opinion, that it makes no sense at all for you to switch to a different occupation, and most certainly not in the political arena -- even to become a government official -- for that is not your mission, and you will not utilize your talents and experience thereby. Quite the contrary.

In addendum to the above-mentioned -- would that Mr..... too, would not have left the army. The fact that he was harmed by others, who reportedly humiliated him and broke their promise to him, etc, does not make it sensible for him to harm himself. His departure from the army has harmed him, and likewise, the rest of the army which now lacks his skills and talents. This would be true even if had remained in the government -- all the more so considering that he has not.

I generally do not meddle in army regulations, but I consider it very odd that when an amateur soldier, in whom only a few months of training was invested, wishes to leave the army, it is reckoned -- and rightfully so -- as a serious offense, yet when a general or the likes -- in whom training of the highest order was invested , as well as considerable energy, money and so on -- wishes to leave, the decision is left to him, even when he explicitly states that his considerations are of a personal nature, and moreover, even when it is certain that his absence will harm the army and consequently, the general security situation.

The above-stated is intended as a parenthetical remark. As regards you however, I have not the slightest doubt that your mission and your success is specifically in the Army -- especially at present when you fill a high-ranking position that is also vital to the security situation of the entire land. Of what consequence is a bit of personal discomfort or squabbling relative to the well-being and security of the general public?
All of the above is true even now, when there isn’t a war. But, although I am not at all pessimistic, one cannot ignore the reality, i.e., the situation that will arise if things continue in their natural course. The enemy, situated on the other side of the Suez Canal, continues to strengthen and fortify itself. Despite all of Israel’s official condemnations the enemy utilizes each and every day towards strengthening its military might, towards acquiring the most potent weapons, etc, -- for there is no doubt that the Unites States is not going to enter into a war with the Soviet Union over this. As for Israel’s demand and outcry, “How dare they not abide by their promise?”, (in reality, no one ever believed that the enemy would not take advantage of the cease-fire to reinforce itself, as was also stated publicly by General Chaim Hertzog in a newspaper interview -- which means that by now it is clearly evident that even fools can no longer be deceived -- if such fools who believed the enemy would not take advantage of the cease-fire ever existed. Most certainly, neither the members of the Israeli government nor of the U.S. government ever believed it, and the same is true of the Soviet Union and all the rest. This was also the case regarding the cease-fire of three years ago, fourteen years ago, and a number of times before that -- no one ever believed that the enemy would not reinforce itself), these will continue as long as possible, and then in the end the Israeli government will resolve to maintain the status-quo, as they always do in the end. From this it is understood that in the negotiations concerning peace conditions -- now that the enemy is reinforced and so on -- the Israeli side will be at a disadvantage, because the security situation will have changed from one extreme to the other between the day the cease-fire was put into effect and the end of the above-mentioned negotiations.

I’m afraid -- or perhaps I should say, I sort of hope -- that just as they did at the beginning of the Six Day War, the enemy will again make a foolish move which will necessitate an annulment of the cease-fire agreement, and G-d will once again perform miracles and wonders, empowering Israel to mobilize all of her resources, (in complete defense, rather than partial defense as the case has been until now), immediately after the annulment of the cease-fire and the reinstitution of self-defense, the sole definition of which, in our context, is the launching of a preemptive strike. If these things would be done then there would be some hope that enemy-fire would cease permanently and peace would finally reign -- unlike the current situation in which, as mentioned above, the path being followed is one that leads directly to war, G-d forbid, with conditions much worse for the Israeli’s than they were on the day of the cease-fire agreement..
The above elaboration comes in response to your claim that what I wrote regarding the Canal is no longer relevant -- for I suspect that in the not-so-distant future the matter will become relevant once again. Would that this assessment of mine would turn out to be incorrect -- but judging by the natural course of things this does not seem likely.

I was pleased to be informed by Mr.... that matters are well with you and your family. May it be G-d’s will that we should finally hear tidings of true peace in the land, which certainly will not come about by showing signs of weakness and readiness to make broad compromises and concessions as is being done in the current negotiations, as even the newspapers are now publicizing. Quite the contrary. As the saying goes -- if one truly desires peace, then he must demonstrate that he is even prepared to fight for it, with the utmost intensity and under the most advantageous conditions.
With esteem and blessing.
May we hear good news.

            P.S.- I did not want to mention it during the conversation we had when you were here, but on the other hand, I don’t see what right I have not to mention it -- I strongly hope that you are careful to put on tefillin every weekday. In your case it is not merely a matter of a single mitzvah performed by a single person, but rather, a matter which concerns the well-being of the general public. Despite the fact that you are extremely busy with security matters and so on, as is well known, nevertheless -- in fact even more so because of it -- you should be careful to fulfill this mitzvah properly. This relates to both the hand-tefillin and the head-tefillin. I hope you will pardon me for mentioning this.

Translated From The Original Yiddish & Hebrew Into English by Rabbi Alexander Zushe Kohn Email Call (718) 419-8757

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe on surrender of the Land

The following is an excerpt from a letter written in 5741, over 29 years ago to Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Immanuel Jakobovits Regarding the Halachic Position of the Areas Liberated after the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars.
(Translation Courtesy of Yonatan as quoted from "Silence Is A Sin" By Rabbi Yankel Koncipolsky)

"I am completely and unequivocally opposed to the surrender of any of the liberated areas currently under negotiation, such as Yehudah and Shomrom, the Golan, etc., for the simple reason, and only reason, that surrendering any part of them would contravene a clear Psak-Din (ruling) in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, section 329, par. 6,7). I have repeatedly emphasized that this Psak-Din has nothing to do with the sanctity of Eretz Yisra'el, or the "days of Mashiach", the Geulah, and similar considerations, but solely with the rule of Pikuach-Nefesh (danger to life). This is further emphasized by the fact that this Psak-Din has its source in the Talmud (Eruvin 45a), where the Gemora cites as an illustration of a border town under the terms of this Psak-Din - the city of Neharde'a in Babylon (present day Iraq) - clearly not in Eretz Yisra'el. I have emphasized time and time again that it is a question of, and should be judged purely on the basis of, Pikuach-Nefesh, not geography.

The said Psak-Din deals with a situation where gentiles (the term is גוים , not enemies) besiege a Jewish border-town, ostensibly to obtain "straw and hay," and then leave. But because of the possible danger, not only to the Jews of the town, but also to other cities, the Shulchan Aruch rules that upon receiving news of the gentiles (even only preparations), the Jews must mobilize immediately and take up arms even on Shabbos - in accordance with the rule that "Pikuach-Nefesh supersedes Shabbos."

Should there be a question whether the risk does in fact create a situation of Pikuach-Nefesh, then - as in the case of illness, where a medical authority is consulted - the authority to make a judgment is vested in the military experts. If military experts decide that there is a danger of Pikuach-Nefesh, there could be no other overriding considerations, since Pikuach-Nefesh overrides everything else. Should the military experts declare that while there is such a risk, yet it should be taken for some other reason, such as political considerations (good will of the gentiles) this would clearly be contrary to the Psak-Din, for the Psak-Din requires that Pikuach-Nefesh, not political expediency, should be the decisive factor.

Now in regard to the liberated areas, all military experts, Jewish and non-Jewish, agree that in the present situation giving up any part of them would create serious security dangers. No one says that giving up any part of them would enhance the defensibility of the borders. But some military experts are prepared to take a chance in order not to antagonize Washington and/or to improve the "international image," etc. To follow this line would not only go against the clear Psak-Din, but would also ignore costly lessons of the past. One glaring case in point is "the Yom-Kippur War." Days and hours before the attack, there were urgent sessions of the government discussing the situation with the military. Military intelligence pointed to unmistakable evidence that an Egyptian attack was imminent, and the military experts advised a preemptive strike that would save many lives and prevent an invasion. However, the politicians, with the acquiescence of some military experts, rejected this action on the ground that such a step, or even a general mobilization, before the Egyptians actually crossed the border, would mean being branded as the aggressor, and would jeopardize relations with the USA. This decision was contrary to the said Psak-Din of the Shulchan Aruch, as pointed out above. The tragic results of that decision bore out the validity of the Shulchan Aruch's position (as if it were necessary), for many lives were needlessly sacrificed, and the situation came close to total disaster, but for G-d's mercies. Suffice it to mention that the then Prime Minister later admitted that all her life she would be haunted by that tragic decision.

I know, of course, that there are Rabbis who are of the opinion that in the present situation, as they see it, it would be permissible from the viewpoint of the Shulchan Aruch to return areas from Eretz Yisra'el. But it is also known on what information they based this view. The argument is that the present situation is not identical with the hypothetical case of a state of "being besieged by gentiles." A second argument is that the present surrendering of some areas would not endanger lives.

That these arguments are based on misinformation is patently clear. The Arab neighbors are prepared militarily; what is more, they do demand that these areas are theirs to keep, and openly declare that if not surrendered voluntarily, they will take them by force, and eventually everything else. A Rabbi who says that the said Psak-Din of the Shulchan Aruch does not apply in the present situation is completely misinformed on what the situation actually is...

I was taken to task for placing so much emphasis on the security of Eretz Yisra'el, the arguments being that what has protected the Jewish people during the long Galus has been the study of Torah and the practice of Mitzvos; hence Torah-observant Jews should not make the inviolability of Eretz Yisra'el as the overriding cause. I countered that they missed the point, for my position has nothing to do with Eretz Yisra'el as such, but with the Pikuach-Nefesh of the Jews living there - which would apply to any part of the world.

It is said that my pronouncements on the issues are more political than Rabbinic. Inasmuch as the matter has to do with Pikuach-Nefesh, it is surely the duty of every Jew, be he Rabbi or layman, to do all permitted by the Shulchan Aruch to help forestall - or, at any rate, minimize - the danger. In a case of Pikuach-Nefesh, every possible effort must be made, even if there is ספק (doubt) and many doubts whether the effort will succeed.

CHIEF RABBI JAKOBOVITS RAISED A NUMBER OF OBJECTIONS WHICH ARE SET OUT IN ITALICS BELOW AND WERE ANSWERED BY THE REBBE SHLITA AS FOLLOWS:

The only subject matter under discussion — at any rate, from my treatment of it — is the purely Halachic subject of pikuach nefesh as it affects the question of returning any part of the liberated areas. Be it also remembered that we are not dealing with an academic question, but one of actuality and urgency, since definite action has been taken in regard to some areas (in Sinai), and as regards other (Yehudah, Shomron, Golan, etc.) commitments have been made, and some of them would have probably been surrendered long ago, but for the fact that the other side refused to take them, demanding more.

Since the subject matter, as noted, is purely Halachic, namely the question of pikuach nefesh, the sanctity of the territories is irrelevant; so is irrelevant one’s political affiliation or philosophy, or one’s personal attitude to the Government, and the like. A Rabbi has to rule on the matter purely from the objective viewpoint of the Halachah, without allowing any other considerations or opinions, however strongly he may feel about them, to change, G-d forbid or to cloud his Halachic judgment.

Rabbi Jakobowitz Writes:THERE ARE RABBIS WHO HAVE REACHED THE SAME CONCLUSION REGARDING THE TERRITORIES PRECISELY BECAUSE OF THE SANCTITY OF ERETZ YISRAEL. I have stated repeatedly that my unequivocal stand against returning any part of Yehudah and Shomron, etc. is the same as on returning the Sinai oil wells, and any part of Sinai. Even those Rabbis who “reached the same conclusion on the territories precisely because of the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael” will admit that there is no question of sanctity involved in regard to Sinai and Sinai oil, but it is only a question of pikuach nefesh, plain and simple.

Rabbi Jakobowitz: Everyone agrees that “Pikuach-Nefesh supersedes Shabbos” as well as any other consideration. For this teaching we do not require the “straw and chaff’ rule. The argument among the Rabbis, as among others, is not about this teaching or this rule, but on what constitutes pikuach-nefesh in the present situation.

The contention that “the argument among Rabbis ... is not about (the rule of pikuach nefesh), but on what constitutes pikuach nefesh in the present situation” is true, of course. I already addressed that point in my previous letter, though I did not wish to overemphasize it, for obvious reasons. I pointed out that the other Rabbis based their evaluation of the present situation on misinformation presented to them together with the question. I cited one glaring example of misinformation in that the Rabbis were told that the Government had ample oil reserves to last for months. Another item of misinformation was that the situation in Eretz Yisrael was described to them as not being comparable with the situation that the Talmud in Eruvin speaks of, where the enemy is actually besieging the Jews, and there is the danger of further penetration. This is obviously a misrepresentation, for everybody knows that the Golan, Shomron and Yehudah are the very borders with Syria and Jordan, which are under strong influence of the PLO, etc. These avowed enemies are not only besieging Eretz Yisrael, but have actually carried out bloody attacks, and openly declared their determined intention to take everything back by force. A further “distinction” between the existing situation and that of the Talmud on which the opinion of those Rabbis was partially formulated, was, that in the case of the circumstances mentioned in the Talmud the enemy came to take “straw and chaff” that belonged to Jews, whereas in the present situation, the enemy is demanding the return of territories that had been taken from them. This argument, too, has been published, and not anonymously.

Of course, I am not debating with those that believe that the Arabs have a legitimate Torah claim for the return of territories that “belong to them,” because there is no common ground on which to debate. But, they should surely keep in mind that if the Arabs have a legitimate claim to the pre-’67 territories, they have an equally legitimate claim to the Old City.

To be sure, “a judge must rule on the basis of testimony before his eyes”; but the public is entitled to know precisely on what arguments and reasons he arrived at his decision, and this is something one is entitled to know even if the psak-din concerns one penny, not to mention the pikuach nefesh of three million Jews, and if there has been an error of facts, a judge should readily retract.

The Rabbis who declared that territories may be surrendered “for peace” based their opinion, among other things, on the information supplied to them (not by military experts) that territorial concessions would advance the cause of peace with the Arabs. Hence, they argued that the principle of pikuach nefesh that is at the root of the “straw and chaff’ rule is not relevant to the situation at hand, but to the contrary.

Actually, it is clear from the said Halachah that the deciding factor is not what the enemy demands or promises, but whether it is a case of tiftach ha’aretz lifneihem — opening the land before the enemy; in other words, giving them an opportunity to breach the defenses. Whether or not the return of territories would indeed be such a case is, of course, for the military experts to decide, and not for politicians.

Rabbi Jakobowitz: The fate of Israel and the lives of its Jews depend just as much on factors beyond the competence of military experts. For instance, Jewish lives could be endangered by sanctions or economic collapse leading to starvation; or by Arabs becoming a majority, by retaining over a million Arabs within Israel multiplying at twice the Jewish rate; or by a dramatic decline in the Jewish population through mass-emigration, itself caused by political and economic factors as well as the despair on the prospect of peace. Hence the opinion of political and other experts can have no lesser bearing on defining pikuach-nefesh than purely military calculations.

To argue that the fate of the country and the lives of the people depend also on factors beyond the competence of military experts, and that if political and economic factors will be ignored, it would lead to pikuach nefesh later on, does not affect the immediate decision in relation to the return of territories. All the more so since it is certain that returning further territories will immediately weaken security, and would be an irreversible act, whereas the political and economic climate is unpredictable. So are, by and large, the other arguments that “territorial concessions under certain conditions might reduce the threat of war, or enhance Israel’s ability to defend itself,” etc. These are highly speculative conjectures, and I am certain that no military commander would bet on such chances. I repeat, the Halacha is clear — and it is, after all, the viewpoint of Halacha that is at the heart of the debate.

Rabbi Jakobowitz: Surely, any G-d fearing Jew, let alone a Rabbi, must affirm that the ultimate security of Jews in the Land of Israel lies neither in armies nor in borders but in our spiritual worthiness through “the study of Torah and the practice of mitzvos”, and that this must be our over-riding and most urgent aim as well as the principal teaching of all Rabbis, as confirmed by the whole of our sources and our history.

Of course, every G-d fearing Jew must affirm that the security of Jews anywhere in the world, particularly in the Holy Land, lies with the study of the Torah and the practice of mitzvos. But, when it comes to a question of pikuach-nefesh, as indeed in any situation, be it a matter of health or livelihood, G-d Himself ordained that in addition to the strict observance of Torah and mitzvos and absolute trust in Him, a Jew is required to do what is necessary in the natural order of things. This, too, is part of the teachings of Rabbis.

SUMMARY
1. The subject matter of the controversy centers on an inquiry in Halachah, namely pikuach nefesh. Therefore, the position of both the Rabbis whose opinion differs from mine, as well as my position, must rest exclusively on the Halachah and treated purely as a Halachah-inquiry.
2. The inquiry is not a theoretical one, but a practical one that is high on the actual agenda, namely, whether — from the Halachah view — it is permitted, mandatory, or forbidden to return liberated areas in the so called West Bank and Gaza, as well as in Sinai, including oil wells, military installations, etc. The reply to this inquiry must, of course, be based on the actual and factual circumstances of the situation as they affect the security of Eretz Yisrael and of our brethren living there.
3. Both sides in the controversy, namely the Rabbis who ruled that it is Halachically permissible to make territorial concessions and those (myself included) who oppose this view, based their decisions on the principle of pikuach nefesh; the difference being that the former concluded that territorial concessions would avert or minimize pikuach nefesh while the latter hold that any territorial concessions would create or aggravate pikuach nefesh.
4. There can be no difference of opinion among Rabbis that in a case of pikuach nefesh it is the duty of a Rabbi not to remain silent and wait until approached to express his opinion. A Rabbi who waits to be approached in such a situation is termed meguneh (reproachable, blameworthy). Similarly there can be no difference of opinion about the duty of every Jew, without exception, to do everything possible (consistent with the Shulchan Aruch) to avert the danger of pikuach nefesh. The Rabbi himself may not consider his duty done simply by pronouncing his psak-din, but must take every possible action in this direction. Indeed, there are many precedents of Gedolei Yisroel (Torah giants) actually doing things on Shabbos and Yom Kippur, which but for the fact of pikuach nefesh would be most serious transgressions.
5. Since, as noted, the sole deciding factor is pikuach nefesh, it is quite irrelevant what political orientation or party the Rabbi issuing the psak-din subscribes to, for his psak-din must not be influenced in the slightest by anything except the Halachah alone.
6. The evidence on which 3 Rabbis (or a Beth Din) bases the psak-din must strictly conform to the principle of dan din emes l’amito — that is to say, the judgment must be based on true facts and on objective truth. If there is any doubt about the veracity of the presented evidence, it is the duty of the Rabbi or Beth Din to investigate and verify the facts and ascertain the real and complete truth; and upon discovery that the psak-din was based on a misrepresentation of the shaalah or of the facts submitted to them, they must, of course, promptly retract the erroneous psak-din and rectify it.

Signed
(Translation Courtesy of Yonatan as quoted from "Silence Is A Sin" By Rabbi Yankel Koncepolski & Mordechai E. Sones)

"Jerusalem Is Being Given Away For Peace" warns Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1970

Letter To Rabbi Moshe Levinger - Hebron

November 20, 1970
Brooklyn, N.Y. Concerning your letter dealing with my words regarding Jerusalem, which were challenged, saying that there is no basis for what I said ... I only wish it were true. But to my sorrow, the present situation clearly refutes the contention that there is no basis for my words. What aggravates this impression is that they (the Israeli Government) are numbing public opinion — with the usual slogans. I warned about this also, and they know that the only thing which is holding them (the Israeli leaders) back now is lack of convincing propaganda, which will satisfy the Jewish masses. Now with regard to the politicians, they have already toyed with many different phraseologies, among them one which I mentioned (they want to turn The City of the Great King[112] into “The City of Three Kings”).

There is presently “no King over the Jewish people, and each man does according to what is right in his eyes,”[113] since we are, after all, living in a democratic society. [They will then decide the issue of Jerusalem] as “three partners,” in order of quantity, of course, which is the deciding factor in a democracy; first come the Christians, then the Muslims, and only then ... (Yesterday, the most important newspaper here, the New York Times, printed the latest approach, which was taken from the words of the Foreign Minister in the name of the Government: “It is the desire of the Israeli Government to retain “political control” over Jerusalem, and not to compromise on places upon which Israel’s security depend, like the Golan Heights and certain other points on the West Bank of the Jordan.” This is sufficient evidence for whoever understands.)

May it be G-d’s Will that in approaching the month of redemption,[114] the month of Kislev, we should be saved — even before the coming of Moshiach — from the modern-day Hellenists.[115] Through the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus, which is the central theme of the holiday of redemption Yud-Tes Kislev, each individual will light flames using pure oil, which has not been tampered with by the hand of a stranger, or even lit by one, illuminating both the house and the outside world simultaneously, in an increasing and illuminating manner.

Respectfully, with blessings for true health and good news in all mentioned here and with blessings of Mazal Tov on the birth of your grandchild, may he live and be well,
Signed: Menachem Schneerson
(Translation Courtesy of "Silence Is A Sin" By Rabbi Yankel Koncepolski & Mordechai E. Sones)

Each War Won Was A Job "Half-Done"

Rebbe deplores Israel's not taking full military advantage of G-d's gift of victory

22 Cheshvan, 5738 (1977)

... Perhaps you are already aware of what I spoke about on Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha regarding the absolute need to populate the entire territories, all at once. At the very least, Israel should settle those areas upon which there is dispute. In my opinion it is clear that the only way that the enemies of Israel will finally give up their evil designs will be when they see that Israel means this seriously. As I have stated many times, even those who are afraid of the nations’ objections, have seen in the past — and continue to see — the complaints remain just as strong no matter if Israel settles one place, or the entire border.

To my great consternation, it would seem that Israel is not even considering this minimal plan which I have mentioned. They have decided to behave in the same fashion as they always have in the past, whenever there has been a victory — and each victory has transcended the bounds of nature. This is true regarding the period after the Yom Kippur War, the Six Day War, the Sinai Campaign, etc. Each time, they decided to do “half a job” — or more properly, they consented to accept only half of what was being given to them as a gift from Above — namely, victory — and they did not act decisively, with the greatest forcefulness — to finish the issue once and for all. Clearly, this itself only invites pressure. As if this was not enough, they sent a delegation of representatives to inform the nations that they would not take full advantage of the victory, but rather, would give up an important part of that which they had already attained. Everyone sees the outcome: not only did they not achieve peace, but they brought about the opposite — terrorism, harassment, and eventually war, may G-d save us. As I mentioned, they have repeated this strategy more than three times.

I am not aware whether your orientation is what they call “hawkish” or “dovish.” But regarding this, after everyone has seen the results of such behavior after all the past wars; today’s pressure and threats seem to be the outcome. In my opinion, there is no difference between a hawk or a dove. The issue is only whether a decision will be made to continue in the same way they have until now, for whatever various strange reasons. Then they will continue to delude themselves and their followers with empty hopes — that even though nothing has changed, but still, maybe this time the outcome will be the opposite. The only alternative is to at least try a different method — the one which most appeals to sound judgment, and the one which all past experience proves is worthwhile trying.

If this is also your opinion, then surely you — who live in the Holy Land and are aware of the situation up close — will make the loudest commotion, since many, many circles follow you and will perhaps listen to you. Even though it would have been preferable to build these settlements immediately, along with the first one which was established, nevertheless, it is better to do it now, late, than to continue taking two steps back, and then one step forward. I deliberately changed the order, because unfortunately the politicians are even afraid of the method of taking one step forward, and then two steps back.

May it be G-d’s Will that there should finally be the fulfillment of the verse “and the earth will be filled with knowledge of G-d, as the water covers the ocean bed,”[116] and the immediate result will be the evaporation of all the fear of “what will the nations say,” or concern whether they will favor this or that policy — until the Jewish fear of “the sound of a driven leaf,” (lest the leaf was moved by wind from the nostrils of a non-Jew) is dispelled. G-d will help His nation to walk upright, with the proper forcefulness.
(Translation Courtesy of "Silence Is A Sin" By Rabbi Yankel Koncepolski & Mordechai E. Sones)

Secret Bargaining In Inner Diplomatic Circles To Give Away Land

Secret Talks To Give Back Land Won In Six Day War
December 12, 1968
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Moshe Levinger - Hebron

Greetings and Blessings!

In answer to your letter of 7 Kislev, in which you make mention of your earlier letter: the reason that I did not answer you is because of the instruction of our sages: “One should not respond to malediction “[108] You wrote regarding the fate of the Holy City, Hebron, and how, to our great anguish and also embarassment, there is doubt over what will be with it. Of course, I do not mean the city’s true fate, because it is the city of our forefathers and the site of the Cave of Machpeilah, one of the four Holy Cities in the Holy Land.[109] This is especially highlighted by the Rebbeim of Lubavitch throughout the generations. Among them, one finds a letter printed in the Epistles of the Mitteler Rebbe — the successor of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch — from the time he established the community in Hebron in 1822 (the letter was printed lately in the book Meah Shearim, p. 15). He ends off the letter saying, “He himself bought the small synagogue in that Holy City under his own name, in order that he should have property there as an inheritance.” The Lubavitcher Rebbeim after him acted in a similar manner.

As I said, I was not referring to the City’s true fate, but to the secret bargaining which is taking place in the inner diplomatic circles — which is quite publicized amongst the gentiles — regarding which part of the liberated territories to surrender, and which parts not to surrender. Though they have been carrying out this perilous bargaining for over a year, and even at the outset there were many who were of the opinion to return it, lately this belief has become more rampant. I do not wish to expand upon this terrifying prospect. It was not my wish to put this in writing at all, especially since it is forbidden to imply that the power of G-d is limited.[110] Just as until now it has not materialized — due to the open miracle of the non-Jews refusing to enter into discussion about surrendering territory. This occurred even though the only condition requested of them was to orally agree to make peace (and everyone knows that such oral concessions will have absolutely no bearing on their future behavior). This refusal is nothing but a clear miracle from Heaven, which totally transcends the usual workings of nature.

However, our sages have said that one is not to rely on a miracle[111] (although I wish the miracle would continue ...). I am therefore not able to fulfill your request which you wrote to me. It is not the non-Jews I fear, for they have no free will, but rather the Jews, who do have free will, who are misled. It makes no difference if the delusion is unintentional, or forced upon them, for this does not change the practical outcome. There are even those Jews who have wrapped the deluded notion in the garment of a mitzvah (you understand my meaning).

As I mentioned, there is room to expand on this subject in many ways, but I do not in any way wish to weaken you (and those with you in the territories), in your views and endeavors. Everything I have written here is only for the purpose of “being blameless before G-d and people of Israel” — in answer to the content of your letter.

Out of Respect and with Blessing ...
Signed: Menachem Schneerson
Notes:
101. The Rebbe later explains to Shazar the significance of the naming of the country “The Land of Israel” rather than the “State of Israel.” The latter acknowledges that it was created by the UN, while the former affirms Divine entitlement.
102. I.e. to the office of President of the State of Israel.
103. Immediately after the recapture of Jerusalem, the Labor Government engaged in talks to surrender the territories just captured. This included Moshe Dayan’s astonishing decision to give control of the Temple Mount to the Arab Wakf. It is this lack of self-respect that the Rebbe continually alludes to as being the source of further Arab claims and pressure. (Recall Arafat’s well-known analogy of the Israeli attitude to the ownership of the Land, where he likens the supposed mother of a child who came to King Solomon with another woman, arguing over the child. She agreed with King Solomon’s suggestion to share the child, over whom they were arguing, by cutting the child in half. When she agreed, King Solomon knew she was not the real mother. Arafat concluded by saying that obviously the land belongs to us, because unlike the Jews, we are not willing to split it with others. Here Arafat is again clearly signalling his true intentions, that his present aims are the aims of the still-not-repealed Palestinian Government!)
104. Ezekiel, 20:32.
105. Bamidbar 34:12.
106. A further tragic case of politicians making decisions in security matters. The Rebbe has stated clearly on numerous occasions that only non-politically motivated military officials are permitted to determine military moves.
107. In 1968, Soviet tanks rolled into Prague. This invasion was in response to reforms introduced by the Czech government, and was followed by the installation of a hard-line Communist government.
108. Tractate Yoma, 77a; i.e., so as not to add life force to the curses.
109. The four Holy Cities are: Yerushalayim, Hebron, Tzfas, and Teveria.
110. Cf. Bamidbar 11:23.
111. Tractate Pesachim 64a.
112. Quoting Tehillim 48:3, which refers to G-d as the “Great King,” and Jerusalem as His City. The above letter was in response to the contention that Israeli politicians had no intention whatsoever to negotiating the surrender of parts or all of Jerusalem.
113. Shoftim 21:25.
114. 19 Kislev was the day that the first Lubavitcher Rebbe was released by the Czar, after being accused of treason. His release lead to the disseminating of the Chassidic Wellsprings throughout the world, in order to herald the Messianic era. Thus Kislev is referred to by Chassidim as the “Month of Redemption.”
115. Hellenists were Jews who, prior to the Maccabean revolt, adopted the Greek culture as their spiritual yardstick.
116. Yeshayahu 11:9.

If Shamir is unable to withstand the pressure of the goyim, let him publicly declare that he cannot withstand the pressure, and is therefore unable to continue as Prime Minister."

"I did everything within my power to establish a government with Shamir as its head. However, if they continue in this direction of negotiations, then I — Menachem Mendel — will be the first to fight with all of my forcefulness and might against Shamir, so that his government will fall. If Shamir continues in this direction negotiating about autonomy, then I too will stand against the government of Shamir."

Prophetic words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the (then) Transportation Minister of Israel Mr. Moshe Katzav, on January 15, 1992
10 Shevat, 5752 - Jan 15, 1992
During distribution of Dollars for Charity

(When the Transportation Minister, Moshe Katzav, was introduced to the Rebbe, the Rebbe shook his hand (continuing to hold it for the entire duration of the conversation) and blessed him as follows):

Within the realm of your position, you should merit to solidify the bond between the Nation of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and G-d, so that these three should never be separated …

I recently heard a strange and frightening rumor regarding talks and impending decisions by the Israeli government, concerning surrendering parts of the Land of Israel. They are currently discussing a five year plan [Madrid talks] which they describe as "autonomy"; In truth, however, the semantics are meaningless, and it makes no difference what they call the issue. The plain truth is that these talks and affairs fall under the explicitly stated Torah prohibition of "not ingratiating yourselves to the nations," which includes the prohibition of ceding any part of the Land of Israel to the nations of the world. These talks will eventually lead to the actual surrender of parts of the Land of Israel! Thus, the very act of holding such talks constitutes a rejection of G-d and His Torah, of the Land of Israel and the holiness of the Land of Israel.
Discussions of autonomy plans are just a prelude to surrendering parts of the Land of Israel — and not just small territories, rather large expansive parts such as Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Hebron, and Jerusalem etc. This involves life-and-death issues! As has been stated, it is irrelevant what the Jews think or say, and how they interpret it. What matters is how the gentiles understand it. They interpret the plan as one eventually leading to the surrender of parts of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

You understand Arabic — so go and ask the Arabs who live there what their intention is in discussing a five year autonomy plan. You will see that they will tell you that their intention is that they will actually be given parts of the Land of Israel for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. It automatically follows that it is totally irrelevant how the Jews interpret, it because what matters is how the gentiles view the issue.

The very act of discussing autonomy plans is a desecration of G-d’s Name and of holiness. The fact that there are individual Jews in the Land of Israel who do not keep Torah and mitzvos relates specifically to desecrating their personal lives. But here we are discussing a situation in which the government of Israel will publicly declare war against G-d and His Torah.

As to the explanation [of the Likud] that the only matter under discussion is limited self-rule, under which the Arabs will be in charge of their own education and agriculture etc. but not foreign affairs and security, and that this is only a trial period ... these are all matters of diplomacy. I shall not argue with you on this, as it seems that you understand more about diplomacy than I. But here we are not discussing diplomacy, but the surrender of parts of the Land of Israel. The very fact that negotiation on this is taking place is a desecration of G-d’s Name, and in opposition to G-d and His Torah. It then makes absolutely no difference what kind of diplomatic icing the Jews put on top of it.

The reason given for these talks is that there is a mass immigration from Russia, and Israel therefore needs America’s loan guarantees etc., and we must take into account what the American government will say. This consideration is the first step to giving away land. The proof of this is, that the Likud themselves state, that the reason they are doing all this is the pressure from the nations. So, afterwards, when there is even more pressure, they will capitulate further, ad infinitum. We have seen this in the past: buckling under pressure brings more pressure."

(Minister Katzav remarked that in the previous year President Bush had sent a letter opposing a Palestinian state, but a year later Bush simply wrote that he was not in favor of a Palestinian state, so we see here a change in his stance. The Rebbe responded):

And we see in which direction the change is heading. It is unfathomable that a Jew who believes in G-d and His Torah could be a party to such actions, or could add his signature to such an arrangement. Likewise, it is preferable that the [Shamir] government should fall and there should not be a Jewish government, since the only reason they are even discussing these plans is because of pressure from the nations (as they themselves admit). If so, it would be preferable that they establish — G-d forbid — a non-Jewish government in the Land of Israel, which will decide what to do with the Land of Israel. At least then there will not be Jews signing such agreements!

You certainly know Mr. Menachem Begin, who at the outset did not agree with the Camp David ideas, and was strongly opposed to them. But eventually he began to make compromises, and from what we hear today, he has great remorse over having given up a part of the Land of Israel.

Had people who do not believe in G-d been responsible for this, we could understand this. But that the signature for abandoning parts of the Land of Israel should be from from Jews who believe in G-d — this is a desecration of His Name.

Shamir believes in G-d and in the holiness of the Land of Israel — so it is completely mind-boggling that he should be the one to agree to negotiate on a plan whose eventual outcome is the surrendering of parts of the Land of Israel.

Security of the Land of Israel comes from G-d alone. If they acted accordingly and stood firmly as the hour dictates, there would not be any reason to worry about the safety of the Land of Israel.

Meanwhile they only speak of a five year interim period, because they are afraid to openly state that they want to give up parts of the Land of Israel. But their true intentions are clear. According to my estimation, Shamir himself knows this — and better than I.

Shamir has many merits in connection with the Land of Israel, going back to the time of the Irgun, when the gentiles had control over the Land of Israel. Shamir fought against this, but now it is he who speaks of giving away parts of the Land of Israel!

In my opinion, what practically must be done now is for Shamir to immediately halt the decision and negotiations on autonomy.

I always fought for a Shamir government, and I did everything within my power to establish a government with Shamir as its head. However, if they continue in this direction of negotiations, then I — Menachem Mendel — will be the first to fight with all of my forcefulness and might against Shamir, so that his government will fall.

Until today, only Mr. Shimon Peres has stood against Shamir’s government. But if Shamir continues in this direction negotiating about autonomy, then I too will stand against the government of Shamir.

If Shamir is unable to withstand the pressure of the goyim, let him publicly declare that he cannot withstand the pressure, and is therefore unable to continue as Prime Minister.

As I have said many times in the past, a shamir (in the Bible) is a worm which cuts through hard stone — so let Shamir release a shamir into the decision to speak about these matters of giving up parts of the Land of Israel. Then this decision, and all thought of such matters, will be cut of and totally nullified, ceasing to exist.

(Minister Katzav then said: "The Rebbe Shlita is the one who established the present government, and we would like the continued blessing of the Rebbe for this government, as it will add holiness to the government." The Rebbe replied):

When Shamir will add holiness to the Land of Israel, then he will gain the strength to stand against all the pressures.

(Minister Moshe Katzav: "Shamir will surely be strong." The Rebbe replied):
Until now he has been strong, and we must therefore see to it that they immediately cease all talk about autonomy. You will surely relate all this to Mr. Shamir, and not be angry with me for placing such an unpleasant task upon you. But relay this with all of the forcefulness with which I have said it to you. I apologize for speaking such harsh words. In truth, this matter needs to be discussed at greater length, but there is no time now to go into it further (approximately 4,000 Jews and non-Jews were waiting in line in the cold for a precious moment with the Rebbe).

May there be only good news to relate, and may they only discuss the holiness of the Land of Israel and Am Yisroel. May there be good news.

An entity which was established in 1948 by the grace of the nations of the world, has absolutely no effect, and is irrelevant, in countering the claim of the Arabs, the Vatican, the UN etc., or the Canaanites (exposed or hidden) among the Jews

Letter to (then) President of the State of Israel, Mr. Zalman Shazar, Of Blessed Memory (Free Translation—Unedited - Courtesy of TruePeace.org)

Day After the Holidays of Redemption
12-13 Tammuz, 5729 (1969)
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shneur Zalman Shazar
[President of Israel]

Greetings and Blessings!

I was quite surprised (and also very pained) when I read your letter. Besides the main content, which consists of charges against me: "Why does he (referring to me) insist on bickering about whether it is called the "Land of Israel" or the "State of Israel" or the "Holy Land," and the Pact between Halves etc. and dragging G-d into the issue...?"

Clearly, all those who expended efforts, and who stood and stand at the head of, and represent the State, all stress and proclaim that it is a state which was founded in 1948 in the lands which the British abandoned, or from which the Haganah expelled the Arabs (or that they encountered no opposition upon taking over). Twenty-two nations of the world (including the communists in the Security Council — who were among the leaders), decided among themselves to approve the establishment of the state in territory which falls partly in the Land of Israel, and partly outside of The Land of Israel.

My answer to all this is simple: It is all inconsequential. None of this is new; except that in 1948 an important part of the Land of Israel was liberated (by the way, they conquered a certain part from outside of the Land of Israel, which was annexed onto the main part — the Land of Israel).

They reject my words by saying that I am simply fabricating an issue. My proof is that every year they declare the anniversary (not of the liberation, or of the foundation of the government, but rather) of "The State of Israel." This is definately not just a matter of semantics, but is indicative of the essential approach: An entity which was established in 1948 by the grace of the nations of the world, has absolutely no effect, and is irrelevant, in countering the claim of the Arabs, the Vatican, the UN etc., or the Canaanites (exposed or hidden) among the Jews: "You are thieves, for you conquered the lands etc.."

I shall not delude myself into believing that with just claims, Israel can overcome the UN, Vatican, etc. Nor shall I delude myself that the most important element is morale among the youth (including in the Israeli Defence Forces), the students in America (and certainly in other lands, etc.) — all the while subscribing to the approach which refers to "The State of Israel which was founded with the approval of the UN in 1948."

This approach, which has become the foundation and main world view of those who decide on all aspects of public policy and relationships with the nations, has destroyed and continues to destroy, has damaged and continues to damage, the most vital interests of — even the State of Israel (as is well known with regard to the United States and the UN, and is certainly so in all the other countries). This has literally caused deaths. And what has forced me to step out of my usual bounds and speak out about these things, is that others should have warned about them. Enough said, if you understand my intention.

It pains me to note that I have written all the above, and have not even touched "the tip of the iceberg." I do not have to go into details, but I am not saying anything regarding what happened yesterday (literally), and before Shabbos, etc. which is new to you. Why should I cause you further pain?

At the outset, I did not intend to write such a long letter, but since it is already written, I do not wish to cut it short. Please forgive me.

According to the order of your letter: You wrote, "Let me be a Chabadnik." You were a Chabadnik before I was even born. May you stay that way for many long and good years.

Regarding the concept of a state: If we are speaking about Eilat and the surrounding areas (which are outside of the acquisition of Yehoshua and Ezra) — were these areas to be made independent of Jerusalem and the rest of the Land of Israel — then these territories should be called "the State of Israel."

Regarding Jerusalem, etc.: The name has already been established by the Creator and Ruler of the world: Up until Yehoshua’s conquest it was called the Land of Canaan, and afterwards, the Land of Israel. This precludes any further possibility of a referendum on the subject.

It is obvious that I have no opposition to the term "state" per se, even in reference to most of this area. On the contrary, according to the Torah, the Land of Israel includes a Temple and a state (using the terminology of the Sages in their teachings), like the one which includes Yehudah and the Galilee etc. But in my letter I was referring to the dispute over the two names (and the accompanying world view): the Land of Israel vs. the State of Israel — and the fact that the latter has prevailed (I add) for the time being (for my hope and belief is that ultimately the Glory of Yisroel in every single individual Jew shall prevail — and then they will proclaim before all the nations that a fundamental mistake has been made, and that the correct idea and name is The Land of Israel).

I did not write this letter directed at you — because why should I cause you distress for no reason (for you see nothing which you can do about it...)?

I wrote about this — not to some journalist — but to the woman who organized groups for Torah study (in places where, within the framework of nature, there was no chance of success) and who ran the campaign (and I hope she continues) against the scourge of abortions etc. Those who opposed her efforts suspected that I was one of the motivations for her activities. So it dawned upon them that by explaining to her that I oppose the State of Israel (and the proof is that I always say "the Land of Israel"), they could convince her that she shouldn’t make efforts in spreading Torah, etc. I was concerned that this might weaken her resolve, so I wrote to her concerning these matters.

You wrote: "I swore loyalty to the State of Israel," — of course, I am aware of this. I am surprised that you did not notice that a long time before you took that oath, I requested that you not refuse this appointment. This was more that just a request — for certainly you know that I was aware even then of the swearing-in ceremony. But I was certain that when you took the oath and swore "loyalty to the State of Israel," you clearly had in mind the Land of Israel, and more than this — you intended the Holy Land. And even more — I was sure that you meant "the Land where G-d’s eyes are affixed from the beginning of the year until the end of the year."

The talk of a Chabadnik must be open-hearted; so you are allowed — and obligated — to say what is in your heart. Moreover — I value this as one of the essential ingredients of the friendship between us. Yet it pains me that in your heart you suspected me of something of which I am not guilty. On the contrary, I emphatically say that the Nation which dwells in Zion, dwells in The Land of Israel, being a special land which has no comparison. It has absolutely nothing to do with the State which lies between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. And I demand (not "a bit excitedly" as you write in your letter — but in a greatly agitated way) that the Ambassador to Washington and to the UN make this known — pounding their fists on the tables! The gentiles in Washington also believe in this, but the Israeli Diplomats maintain that they were instructed not to speak in this fashion, and certainly not to bang their fists on tables, since they represent a country which received permission from the other countries to exist and be considered a state. Therefore they feel that they must behave with proper protocol. And recently, when Israel’s Ambassador’s patience expired in the UN, and he publicly expressed a fraction of his "adoration" for them, the strongest words of rebuke were directed at him from Jerusalem for the next twenty-four hours — "Could it be that you actually spoke this way ..." and they forced him to retract his comments in public. Logically, these and similar episodes (of weakness) bring forth agression and terror — until there are deaths, may G-d avenge their blood....

[The remainder of the letter was not made available to us.]

Every time talk of surrendering territory is made known, there is a new wave of terrorism ...

From correspondence of the month of Kislev, 5729 — 1969:

...There are those who discuss and formulate plans for abandoning the territories — or parts of the territories. This endangers not only the security at the borders, but the security of the entire Holy Land according to all natural principles, as all who are familiar with these issues understand. (I am at a total loss to understand the wisdom in silencing the military and security authorities who to express their opinions regarding this.) This is especially true considering that there is absolutely no benefit or advantage to be gained from giving away land, since their word is worthless, as we have seen in the past with all the assurances of peace, etc. As Rashi comments, "It is a halachah that Esav hates Ya’akov," and the Sages have spoken extensively on all of the ways in which kindness of the nations is really veiled sin. It is clear that Israel has nothing to gain from giving away land, as we have seen in the past — and even the recent past, in the episode twelve years ago in the Suez Canal. Especially during the past year, every time talk of surrendering territory is made known, there is a new wave of terrorism, increasing death and destruction, as we can clearly see.

Incidentally, I received word that there has been an answer to my claim regarding the danger which will follow any compromise on land. My words were communicated by a reliable messenger, and according to the information I have received, my words have been discussed among government officials in Israel. Their answer was that they will disregard my charges, for the sole reason that they come from one who has never even once visited Israel. Obviously — since my claim relates to the danger facing millions of Jews living in Israel — theire judging me is irrelevant. Instead, they should "accept the truth from whoever says it."

The very use of the term "Land of Israel" serves as an answer to the claim of the nations: "You Are Robbers."


Letter to Mrs. Geulah Cohen (then) Member of Knesset of the Techiya Party
19th Sivan, 5729 (1969):

Blessings and Greetings!

I received your letter some time ago, but due to circumstances beyond my control, my answer was delayed until now.

... I wonder a bit about your surprise that in certain circles, myself among them, the title "State of Israel" was never accepted. The reason is quite easy to understand: The land of Canaan was given as an inheritance to the Nation of Israel beginning with the covenant between G-d and Abraham. The name "Land of Israel" was then established, in place of the name "Land of Canaan." So has it been fixed for thousands of years. This is firmly grounded in the Torah, and is rooted in the vocabulary of the entire nation, from young to old. Such matters are not subject to the vote of the majority, the outcome of which is liable to change from time to time (this change being, naturally, capricious). After all the various incidents and changes which have occurred recently — for better, or, painfully, for the opposite — it is also impossible to be confident about the present change. Actually, such conjecture whether or not to accept the new title is quite unnecessary since in my opinion, as I mentioned, the matter is not given to determination by referendum. Just as the name of the "Nation of Israel" is not subject to vote in order to determine whether the Jewish People shall be referred to as they are in the Torah — The "Nation of Israel," or the "Nation of Canaan," etc. — so it is regarding the "Land of Israel."

Assume one were to raise an additional point: suppose a new title for the land were necessary. Such an addition weakens the claim and ownership of the Nation of Israel over the Land of Israel, including even the confined area which was liberated in 1948, because:

i. a new name gives the entire entity the appearance of being something novel, which was only born in 1948. Thus, inevitably, Jewish claim and ownership over the land also began only then. There is at least a shade of connotation of novelty — the diametric opposite of the Torah’s stance as represented by Rashi in the opening of his explanation of the Torah.

Here I stress that the custom of our nation from time immemorial has been that a five year old begins studying the Five Books of Moses. This means that Rashi’s words are directed to the Children of Israel beginning at age five:

"If the nations of the world should say to the Jews ‘You are thieves, for you have conquered the land of the seven nations,’ the Children of Israel should answer them: ‘The whole world belongs to the Holy One; at will He gave it to them, and at will He took it from them and gave it to us.’"

You are most certainly aware that many, many nations have made this claim, even in our times. I have not found a single answer to this claim besides the most ancient traditional one found in the words of our sages.

ii. Some say that this term, "State of Israel" is another manifestation of the general approach and plan to become "like the nations of the world." This theory has already claimed many lives, both physical and spiritual — and to our anguish continues to wreak destruction among the sons and daughters of Israel.

I am especially surprised that you should be the one to raise such an argument. Until now, I had been positive that you were counted among those who say that the Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel, and that its borders are specifically delineated in the Torah. In Parshas Masei it is written: "All these shall be your boundaries on all sides." Yet "because of our sins we were exiled from our land and driven far from our soil" — but even during the exile it is still our land and our soil. This title, "State of Israel," allows room to label parts of the Land of Israel as no more than "territories" which were "conquered" by the Israeli Defense Forces in the Six Day War. Furthermore, the entire concept of conquest implies seizing the land by force from its owners through one’s own superior military prowess.

I do not wish to speak at length about this painful subject, mainly because the general cause for it is the approach of wanting to be like all the nations. Certainly my comments are not necessary, for you surely read about it in the newspapers and books which are available in the Land of Canaan (— according to the writers of those articles and books; it is just that some of them say this openly, and others only hint that this is their intention).

... May it be G-d’s Will that you send along positive news concerning all the above, as we discussed during your visit here.

"With Respect and Blessing,
signed: Menachem Schneerson

Renewal of Jewish Settlement in Hebron


(Free Translation—Unedited Courtesy of "TruePeace.org")
September 5, 1968
Brooklyn, New York

To: General Ariel Sharon

Greetings and Blessings.

I gratefully acknowledge receipt of your letter from the 24th of Av. It arrived a bit late, and I apologize for the delay in answering.

Regarding the substance of your letter, as we discussed at length when you were here — I am in full agreement with you concerning the liberated territories. Unfortunately, however, I do not agree with you that a shift in public reaction (at this time) in our Holy Land would influence those in power to change their position. According to my information — from sources which have been reliable until now — there is no evident change of intentions in these circles. I could only wish that there were a shift in public opinion which would cause at least a change in the government’s unofficial stance. Yet what is actually happening, is the preservation of the Arab character of the Old City of Jerusalem (with the explanation that we must maintain the status quo, just as part of the city looked when we conquered it last year — since it would defy "justice and honesty" etc. to take advantage of the conquest to force something upon the residents who were there until then!) The consequenses of this position in day-to-day life are obvious — especially considering that they believe that they have fulfilled their obligation to the Jewish community by partially populating the environs of Jerusalem with Jews.

Of course, I am writing you all this unofficially and privately, because it is not my place to speak about faults of Jews, and especially those who have it within their capability to achieve wondrous things in the said areas, and for various reasons are not doing so.

It is also understood that I am not writing this in order to accuse anyone, for what would such an accusation help? I only mean to express my anguish, at least in writing, to you and to those who you estimate might benefit from knowing the content of these few lines.

If the above is true regarding Jerusalem, then the situation is even worse concerning Hebron, where mainly Arabs dwell.... The Arab community there is grounded, developed, and according to the rumors, it is also organized, all of which only confirms the attitude mentioned above. Despite this, I investigated the possibility of opening a Yeshivah. I received a clear answer — saying that "it would be better for me" to explore possibilities of a Yeshivah in Jerusalem than one in Hebron. Within the inner circles of settlers (contrary to the view of those in charge) there are many Chabadniks (some who are open about it, and others who are unknown). I am sure you are also aware of the situation of the settlers there — who are not far from being prisoners. The reason given is also similar to the one stated, being based upon "justice and honesty," and the common denominator of all these phenomena is: What will the "greater world" say, etc., as we discussed when you were here.

And for example, if there should be some quarrel between an Israeli youth and an Arab youth in Hebron; since the Arab youths would outnumber the Jews there, it is possible that the Jewish youth would be beaten up, etc. On whose side, in your opinion, would the Israeli military police stand in that situation — especially if the Mayor (who, it would appear, had a part in the riots and pogroms of 1929 against Jews in Hebron) were to come and make a commotion about the "provocation" by the Jews.

This is also the reason I asked you when you were here about the circumstances, and the reason for the manner in which Jerusalem was captured last year, where many, of the best Israeli soldiers fell in battle, completely disproportionate to the number of deaths on all the other fronts.

Incidentally (and maybe not incidentally) you still owe me an answer on this (and when you were here, we agreed that you would investigate and give me an answer). The information I have received on this — as I said, from a source who has been reliable until now — and as I said in our conversation, there was an uncontested order from above regarding this. I wish I would be proven wrong. However, in our conversation, there was much room left for doubt.

I would like to add, that my asking about this did not (G-d forbid) stem from pointless curiosity about a painful subject. Rather, it was to demonstrate the thought process of those who issued that order, because many of them are still in charge. Unfortunately, and perhaps to our embarrassment, they have not changed their outlook, since even then it was foreseeable that this would cause more fatalities. From this we can understand the present situation in Jerusalem and Hebron.

Without a doubt, I have not, G-d forbid, given up hope that the situation will change. But until then, there would be no benefit or practical advantage to issuing a call for people to settle Hebron. For there would be bitter clashes between the people in charge (whom we have been discussing) and even such people who would not answer the call (to move to Hebron), but would be moved to think in that direction — and all the more so those who might answer the call and go to live in Hebron. The conflict would be to the extent that the government would issue laws against those who would go to settle. This would reveal to the world — not just the Jewish world, but even to the gentiles — that those who make the decisions are bent on making it difficult for the settlers, and even worse than "difficult" — they would humiliate them and strengthen the morale of the enemies of Israel.

I do not despair concerning all this. But it is not a shift in Jewish public opinion which will affect change, but rather the mistakes of the Arabs and their supporters. So it was in the past, when such mistakes last year forced the "pursuers of peace" to finally agree to provide security, naturally leading to a pre-emptive war. I hope that in the future it will be easier, and will not G-d forbid injuriously affect lives or even property of our brothers, no matter where they live.

It is amazing to what extent the label which was given to the Children of Israel in our Torah, "a stiff-necked nation," has not only endured until this day — but has been used by some for the opposite of the Torah and vital interests of the Jewish people. An example from the most recent weeks: the Algerian hijacking of the El-Al plane, when everyone clearly saw the reaction of even those who are supposed to be among the "friends of Israel." Yet despite all this, they congratulate the nations for finding a solution which was supposed to be an "ethical victory." Even if you could find reason to say that they were forced to agree to the extortion (to save lives), yet what obligates them to crown the architect of this deal as a Man of Ethics and totally righteous, and an example for the Masses? It would seem that there is no way to fathom a stiff-necked nation. This stubbornness expressed itself so strongly in the form of believing in the kindness of the nations (despite the message from our Prophets and Seers that the kindness of the nations is veiled sin), that even the invasion of Czechoslovakia did not weaken this spurious belief. Even though it would seem that the episode in Czechoslovakia has nothing to do with the subject of this letter — the inner significance is relevant, because it demonstrates the sentiment of some of those who decide the policy making process in the Holy Land, a process which expresses itself in deeds, grievous and painful acts which also cause much worry for the future (the near future at least — until they do away with their attitude about these matters).

We should end off on a positive note: I thank you for the warm greetings which you brought me from your visit to Kfar Chabad. According to the reports and information I have received from there, you spoke from your heart and with warmth, and strengthened and encouraged them. Everyone is in need of this, including them. Especially now, during these eventful times in the "Land upon which G-d’s gaze is affixed from the beginning of the year until the end of the year," as it states in our Torah. When, on the other hand, the enemies who surround the land, see the government in our Land exhibit more and more weakness— a government who believes that they must deal with the Arabs with silk gloves and great care — and should there be a quarrel between an Arab and an Israeli, the first thing to do is to check what the reaction will be in the capital of one country or another, and only then decide what to do. So the Arabs constantly allow themselves the luxury of creating more and more disruptions, and all the more so, disturbances, and eventually terror.

As we approach the New Year, as the well-known saying goes, may it be G-d’s Will that this year end, together with all the undesirable things which occurred in it (they should totally and absolutely disappear) and next year, and in the final days of this year, may the blessings begin, including the crucial change in the government’s posture, without having to wait for unwished-for incidents which would force the change. After all, we have seen miracles from the All-powerful G-d in the recent past, and He is able to affect miracles in any fashion — or as the traditional saying goes, with "good that is manifest and revealed."

With respect and Blessings for an Inscription for a Good and Sweet Year, to You and all your Family,

Signed: Menachem Schneerson

P.S. As I mentioned above, due to the painful points raised in this letter, it is written to you privately. You have permission to show or describe it to whomever you feel it would benefit. I will close with the hope that in accordance with the openness of this letter, you will respond in a likewise fashion to all the points raised in it. This is in addition to an answer to my question and others, which I hope you will be able to investigate and answer upon your return to Israel.

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