President Obama's Favor

[Opening words of Ha-Rav on his radio show]

President Obama has truly done us a great favor, despite what many think, because when people give us trouble, it unites us. The Nation which dwells in the Land is not panicked by threats and dictates. There is obviously a dispute within the Nation of Israel whether to evacuate settlements but when a demand comes from Obama it infuriates many Jews. They say: "This is an inner dispute between us. He is going to tell us what to do?! Furthermore, he doesn't want us to expand existing houses to allow for natural growth. Where should we put our children? – outside in boxes!" The Nation of Israel is therefore strengthened, and he is in fact doing us a big favor.

This obviously does not mean that we do not take into account what the Americans say. But we need to understand: we need them and they need us. Do not think that the Americans help us because of loving-kindness. Everything is based on cost-benefit analysis. They give aid to where it will benefit them. They give us military help because they profit from it. There was once the "Rogers’ Plan" – it is always the same plan to expel us from parts of Eretz Yisrael but they change the name. Rogers said to Prime Minister Golda Meir: If you do not accept the plan, we will not provide you with weapons. Mrs. Golda Meir replied: We will live and see. In the end, they provided weapons. We do not need to panic. They need us just as we need them.

Regarding the money which we receive from the Americans, this is truly a shame and embarrassment which cannot be describe. Have we become beggars? Being a beggar is shameful when it is an individual and all-the-more-so when it is a nation. Why does an American need to provide me with a livelihood? We are an extremely wealthy Nation – the fifteenth wealthiest Nation in the world. We receive a few billion which is a negligible part of our budget. After the establishment of the State we did not have any money to buy weapons and to develop means to provide jobs – it wasn't good then – but I understand why we took money. But now, taking money from America is an illness. This is similar to the people who collect money at the Kotel and they are extremely wealthy. They continue to beg for money there because it is a sickness. There was once a beggar there and his brother said to him: "Stop. I will give you money to establish a business." The beggar said: "Do not judge your fellow until you walk in his shoes. Come to ask for Tzedakah with me at the Kotel and then we will talk." The brother put on rags and stood at the Kotel all day with his brother asking for Tzedakah. The beggar said: "We leave at five." At five o'clock, the beggar said: "It's five, let's go." At that exact moment, wealthy tourists were coming. The normal brother said: "After them." The beggar said to his brother: "You see. One day of collecting Tzedakah and you are already addicted." It is a sickness! And now this sickness has become a national sickness, so that we are asking the Americans for a small percentage of our budget. This is a desecration of Hashem's Name. We should be doing the exact opposite: calculating how much we have received from the Americans and tell them that we are so grateful for their financial aid and we will pay it back little-by-little.

Some people think that if the Americans pressure we have to bow to the pressure. This is incorrect. Since the American see that we are willing to bow to the pressure, they exert pressure. This is a known saying: One who makes himself into a sheep, the wolf will eat him. We must say to the American that we do not interfere in their matters and please do not interfere in ours. We are ready to take advice and to discuss, but please do not dictate to us.

In conclusion: a true story. A President of the US once said: You Jews must stop dreaming of the whole Land of Israel. Two Rabbis wrote him: Honorable President, we are accustomed to you, the Americans, interfering in our affairs and giving us advice all of the time as to what we should do. But it is a huge innovation for you to interfere as to what we should dream.

Therefore, we are informing you that we began to dream about returning to the Land of Israel and building the Land, "When Hashem will bring the exiles back to Zion, we will be like dreamers" (Tehillim 126:1), before your country existed. And now – Baruch Hashem – our dream is beginning to come to fruition. Therefore, we will certainly take into consideration what you say but we are not afraid of all sorts of pressure.