The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
September 11th, 2006: "THE ABANDONMENT OF OUR BROTHERS"
Now that the recent decision has been made to lift the Israeli naval blockade of Lebanon, we can only
interpret this move as the final nail in the coffin in the already moribund Israeli strategy concerning
the release of the three Israeli kidnapped soldiers. As of now, Hamas and Hezbollah have not released
any signs of life from Gilad Shalit, Edud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. If these men are alive, the Israeli
government has virtually abandoned them.
It is yet the latest phase in the otherwise abysmally impotent and incompetent policy of the Olmert
administration. As we know, the Olmert government failed to formulate a successful military strategy in
Lebanon, thereby achieving none of its stated objectives, leaving Israel in the wake of its worst military
defeat since the creation of the state. Throughout the war, the Olmert government was riddled with
hesitation, confusion and internal strife. More to the point, this military defeat places Israel in even
greater danger in the future. Hezbollah and Hamas now can carry on further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers
with impunity, while developing the military strength to do even greater damage to Israel. If this time
around, the city of Tel Aviv was not the recipient of Katyusha rocket attacks, there is a greater possibility
that down the road, more deadly and lethal military hardware will be developed that will indeed wreak
great havoc, destruction and devastation. It is only a matter of time.
It is no wonder that there are calls for the immediate resignation of the entire Olmert government. If there
has been any unifying factor in Israel as of late, it has been calls from both the far left and right for
the Olmert government to resign. Seems like the only one satisfied with Olmertís performance during the war
is none other than Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who stated, "If we have to choose between a foolish
prime minister and another who is strong and capable, we prefer that the fool remain," he told Lebanese
Al-Safir newspaper Tuesday. Nasrallah made the comments when asked about the prime ministerís recent
claims - themselves based on Nasrallahís statements - that Israel had won the war. (Arutz Sheva - 9/7/06)
Last night in Tel Aviv over 40,000 Israelis protested against the Olmert government, demanding the formation
of a state commission of inquiry of improprieties during the war. This protest was organized by Israeli army
reservists who have been continually keeping a political fire under the Olmert government since the cease fire
had been announced. They were joined in the outcry against the government by retired Meretz Party chairman
Yossi Sarid, senior reserve officers and relatives of soldiers who fell during the war.
Under the banner Movement for Quality Government (MQG), the group is calling for a state commission to examine
the governmentís actions, while the reservists have been calling for the resignation of the top government
officials for their management of the recent war in Lebanon.
According to an Arutz Sheva report of the protest, Eliad Shraga, chairman of the MQG stated, "The Prime Minister
must open his eyes and realize that a state commission of inquiry is needed."
Also speaking at the protest were former Defense Minister Moshe Arens of the Likud, retired Meretz Party
chairman Yossi Sarid, senior reserves officers and relatives of soldiers who fell during the war.
"It is unacceptable that those under investigation appoint the investigators," Arens told the crowd. "Only
a state commission of inquiry will examine in a thorough manner the decision of the government in the last
war in Lebanon. Never have there been such confusing and contradictory orders issued in the handling of a war."
"If we continue to remain silent, we will be hit with another bomb," Movement For Quality Government
spokesman Shuki Levanon said. He added that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had been invited to the protest,
"to declare from this podium that he has heard the will of the people and will establish a state commission
- but the chicken didnít even answer."
Just last week, in the same location in Tel Aviv, hundreds of thousands of Israelis demanded that the Olmert
government secure the release of the three kidnapped soldiers, yet this cry of anguish has fallen on deaf ears.
Within days of the protest, the government of Israel issued the order the lift the naval blockade of Lebanon.
The government has thus far made no viable attempts to ensure the safe release of the kidnapped soldiers.
It is a government that has abandoned its people and its brothers. It is a government that is immersed in
internal corruption, conflict and scandal. It is a government that suffers from a terminal case of inexhaustable
loquaciousness, yet takes no actions in protecting its citizens or soldiers.
The demand for the resignation of the Olmert government has also been spotlighted in the Israeli media and
the pressure is mounting at a rapid pace. It is time for the world Jewish community to weigh in on this most
critical issue. We are a nation without real leadership, during a time when real and authentic leaders are so
desperately needed. Leaders who will display the strength and fortitude it takes to devise a concrete plan to
bring our kidnapped soldiers home and to deal with terrorism on both fronts with swift and decisive measures.
We need leaders who can and will elevate a nation from its collective despair and loss of morale.
Silence on the part of world Jewry at this moment of paramount importance in the history of the Jewish nation
is totally unacceptable and is equivalent to blatant apathy and indifference.
While anti-Semitism has reached epidemic proportions throughout the world, since the beginning of the war,
particularly in England and Australia, it does not behoove the international Jewish community to remain
silent. We are living in precarious times, times that do not bode well for the State of Israel and the Jews
The time has come to realize that world Jewry must summon up the strength and courage to seize this moment
while it still can. It is time to demand that the leadership of Israel be placed in the hands of those whose
platform is the belief in the Almighty G-d of Israel and scrupulous adherence to Torah principles. Without
Torah leadership, we are left with a leadership vacuum that can only lead to more destruction and deadly
consequences for the future of Israel and the Jewish people.
As we approach the 16th yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK'L let us take this time to remember his words
of wisdom, vision and foresight. It was Rabbi Kahane who said, "The obligation to listen to, obey and respect
the authority of government rests upon whether that government, in a particular case, is itself obeying the
Torah, the need of the people". (Israel: Revolution or Referendum?, 1990, p.95)
It was Rabbi Kahane who also said, "No government, including the Israeli one, has any right to protest when -
because of its failure to carry out its elementary duty to protect its citizens - individual Jews, who fear
for their lives and future, rise up and act in self defense". (Israel: Revolution or Referendum?, 1990, p.118)
It is time to heed these words. In this month of Elul, we must seek to become closer to our Creator, to beseech
Him to allow us to return to His holy Torah. It is a time to immerse ourselves in fervent prayer, to examine
our deeds and misdeeds and to rectify them.It is time to reach out to our brothers in kindness and compassion.
It is time to speak out against those in leadership who cannot and will not lead. It is time to demand a return
to G-d. This is our only path to salvation as a people and as a nation. Our date of redemption is coming closer
as we are in the midst of "Chevlei Moshiach", the birth pangs of our holy Redeemer. Our future is inextricably
tied to our efforts to infuse ourselves and our leadership with true Torah values.
May we always remember the words of the sweet singer of Israel, King David who said, "Teach me the way, Oh
G-d, that I may walk in Your Truth". (Psalms)
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