What the Future Has in Store
Israel is at a turning point in its history. If the path
of previous governments is to be followed, it will find itself making concession after
concession until the Arabs will have established themselves confidently enough to wage
There is an alternative: to stop, to retrench; to realize that Israel has the potential
to develop a creative society, one which is strong internally, and which has the vitality
to endure the challenges posed by its neighbors; to look to the guidelines of the Rebbe
Are we condemned to perpetual war? First of all, we must look ourselves squarely in the
face and say, "Perhaps." For the answer to that question does not depend on
ourselves alone. We did not start any of the previous wars. They were all started by
belligerent foes who surround us and are still bent on our destruction. This is a reality
which we must honestly face rather than blindly hope for peace.
Moreover, accepting that reality makes peace a more practical option. When the Arabs
know that Israel will not continue to concede, and that she will not fight wars with her
hands tied behind her back, they will begin to genuinely understand how serious the option
of war is. And this will hopefully lead to peace.
Take a look at the Cold War: Militarily, it was a standoff. Each side had enough arms
to deter the other from attack. The lines were drawn, and fear protected one side from the
other. Then one day it was over. The totalitarian backwardness that characterized Russian
society could not stand up to the challenge of the times, and the Kremlin collapsed.
America, by contrast, had a strong and vital society which was able to adjust.Similarly,
in the case at hand, when the Arabs realize that Israel is strong, and is not making
further concessions, they will have to come to terms with the situation. If they choose
war, at least Israel will be able to defend itself from a position of strength.
Most likely, however, that position of strength will make war less of an option. Unless
Israel continues to compromise its security, no Arab country will dare to attack it.
Consider: Why didn't Jordan enter the Yom Kippur War? Why didn't Syria open up a second
front on the Golan in the Lebanon War? This choice did not stem from any great love for
Israel. It was a practical decision. Their capitals were too close to the front to take
And when there is a military dÈtente, there is a chance that the socio-economics of a
world economy that is pressing toward the ideal of a global village will make the Arabs
consider peace as an option. Today, all the world's leading countries are turning towards
peace, not because they have become more refined and peaceloving, but simply because it is
in their self-interest. The benefits of peace and the costs of war outweigh any possible
gains that could be achieved on the battlefields. As Israel and the Arab countries become
involved in this motif, it will affect them as well.
Similar concepts apply with regard to the Palestinian problem. The Palestinians are
tired of losing their sons and their daughters; they are frustrated by the fact that they
haven't been able to work freely and advance themselves financially for the last decade.
When they recognize Israel's firmness, and understand the limits of what they can possibly
achieve through the Intifada, they will focus their attention on their own lives and the
options that are open to them.
These are real possibilities. When Israel decides to take its future in its hands, and
with faith and trust in Gd, focuses on strengthening its security and building a strong
and viable society, it will be able to face the future confidently. The miraculous
half-century of growth that has followed the Holocaust can be followed by even greater
advances. And hopefully, these advances will include the dawning of the age in which
"nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any