To be a Serious Army in Our Land

["Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" – Ki Tavo 5769 – translated by R. Blumberg]

1. To remain in the exile and to imagine that we will not be hurt by assimilation and pogroms constitutes silliness and irresponsibility. I am not saying this to make an accusation, but only to express sorrow.

Yet to return to our land and to rebuild it, to establish our state, economy and army -- that constitutes taking a serious, responsible approach.

2. To sit complacently in our land and to imagine that we no longer have enemies, that we are living in a New Middle East in which there is no more war, only a few guerrila forces, and that in exchange for conceding a third or two thirds of our land, our neighbors will make peace with us, that we have almost no need of reserve duty, that we have almost no need of emergency warehouses -- that constitutes irresponsibility and worse. I am not trying to cast blame, only to arouse the public.

Yet to dispel illusions, to understand with a realistic, courageous perspective that we still have stubborn enemies, that the appeasing outlook of Chamberlain who said, "Peace, and no more war," is a mistake that led to the Second World War, to realize that Churchill answered him, "Your kind of peace is followed by war, and my war will be followed by peace" -- that is the serious spirit of the human race.

3. To conceive a new doctrine, that against terrorists you needn't use all your weaponry, bombs and tanks, but should be gentle; to think that certainly you shouldn't harm those arbitrarily defined as "innocent," for you have to be concerned about their welfare, and even targeted killings of terrorists aren't nice because it isn't good and proper to punish a person without first trying him in court – to think all this and thereby to lead our loyal soldiers, fighting like lions, to their deaths, and to evacuate from their homes a million and a half faithful citizens -- that constitutes silliness, an academic ivory tower on some other planet. My purpose is not to attack, but only to illuminate.

Yet a strong army that is always ready to smite the Arab wolves who come to annihilate us, an army that advocates "total war" in order to save us and our wives and children -- that is seriousness. That is responsibility. That is sanity.

4. To foster a national fantasy of transforming our army into an effeminate army, a maternal army, an army in which no one is endangered, an army in which one neither kills nor is killed, a luft-army, a show-case army, an army of peace, a shlemiel army -- is self-delusion. It is silly. I am not trying to accuse, only to improve.

Yet to recognize that we emerged from our exile and our lowliness of spirit, that we were saved from some sort of bizarre masochism -- that is morality, that is naturalness, that is healthiness! To absorb from the spirit of the university, science and technology, economics and organization, yet to draw our spiritual values and worldview from the depths of the life of our people rising to rebirth -- that is a proper, serious perspective on reality. To realize, with pain and fortitude, that armies and wars involve killing and being killed, that when we are not ready to be killed, quite the contrary, even more are killed, and when we ready to be killed, quite the contrary, much blood is spared; to know that it is impossible to easily heal what was broken and to say, "All is well" -- that is seriousness. That constitutes genuine leadership which contains a vision for which we are ready to pay a price.