Is This the Same Country?

[From "Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" – Parashat Bereshit 5770 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Question: Since the Gush Katif expulsion, I’ve got a terrible wound over my heart that to this day has not healed. Quite the contrary, I’ve changed my relationship to the State of Israel. For me, it’s no longer the “first flowering of our redemption.” When I see a film in which our soldiers forcibly evict mothers, fathers and children, from their homes, in which synagogues are destroyed and graves are moved, I say, “It’s not the same country. It’s not the same army.”
Answer: Why not mention Sabbath desecration, breaches in Kashrut, sexual immodesty, the warped legal system, poor education, graft, and corruption? Indeed much of the Jewish population living in Zion has lost their faith in the government’s struggle against public corruption, and they believe that the public sector is very corrupt. Indeed, the situation is problematic.
Yet even when we arrived in the Land after the redemption from Egypt we had troubles immeasurably worse than those today, and it was the same in Ezra and Nechemiah’s time. And before that, just when Yaakov’s family began to grow strong, Yosef was sold by his brothers.
And when you get down to it, after Adam was created, Adam sinned and Kayin killed Hevel. Don’t you know that life is complicated? Life only looks simple to the drunkard (Yoma 75). “When one casts his glance on the cup, all looks smooth” (Mishlei 23:31). Life looks simple to him, but he only sees the surface. Haven’t you read Chapter 1 of Mesilat Yesharim? Haven’t you learned that man faces a two-front battle? Haven’t you learned that man has a good impulse and an evil impulse? Haven’t you heard of Noach’s flood and the Generation of the Dispersion? Of the destruction of the First and Second Temples?
One way the evil impulse tempts us is towards hatred, and we’re not allowed to feed that temptation. Jewish law states that one is forbidden to read a book that provokes the evil impulse (Orach Chaim 307:16), let alone to see movies that increase our desire to hate. Neither may we feed our evil impulse to despair. The evil impulse works alone. It needs no help. By contrast, the good impulse needs much strengthening. See Mesilat Yesharim, which states that one has to look for the ways and means to build it up, and that one has to take precautionary measures against those deleterious elements that would erode our good traits. True, there have been many crises since the start of the return to Zion. They didn’t start with the expulsion from Gush Katif, and there will be many more crises to come. The definition of a crisis is something that goes against our will. But open your eyes and see all the kindnesses that G-d performs for us. This Land was empty and now it houses millions. It was in the hands of the Turks and the British, and now it is in our hands. It was spiritually desolate and now it is full of Torah. The Jewish People were under the control of the world’s evildoers, and now we have an army that defends us.
Apparently G-d did you a kindness by letting you be born in the right time and place, so you don’t know how lucky you are. As for myself, I was born in the wrong time and place, and as an infant I had to be hidden lest I end up in the concentration camps. Thank G-d that infant was never sent there, but six million others were. Those sent to the camps would have paid a million dollars to be protected by that army you say is “not the same army.”