Rabbi Haim Views - An Open Letter to the Hon. Ariel Sharon

An Open Letter to the Hon. Ariel Sharon


Dear Sir:

I know that you have great insight into the "Arab mentality." I know that you, more than most people know how to strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of Israel. I also know that you are not afraid to speak out in the most direct way to the oppressed, and/or threatened Jews throughout the world. You do this with not the slightest fear of alienating one of the greatest of the old Colonial Powers. For this, I am proud of you, and am proud of our shared political heritage in the party of Menahem Begin OB'M.

With all of this in mind, I ask you to take seriously, but without taking offense, my suggestions regarding your relations with the "World's Greatest Power."

I think you need to know something about the "American mentality," and you may be a little surprised to learn that it is not too different from the "Arab mentality," or even the "Israeli mentality." Please listen carefully and, maybe, this old Rabbi can teach you something. I know that you love the Negev, even more than I do, but I live in the South East of the United States now and I think that you might understand this lesson as sharing "Southern Wisdom" from one "Southerner" to another.

If there is one characteristic that Southerners appreciate more than most, and especially admire in Israelis and in the general character of the State of Israel it is "gumption." Gumption is almost as translatable as Hutzpa. They are related, in that both have a large helping wild spirit and jackass stick-to-itivness. Gumption also includes a lot of the fabled Israeli Alef-Bet attitude. The idea that there is no other option, and so holding on can only bring benefit. Gumption includes fighting for what is right and sticking to your guns. It also includes standing up to overwhelming force(s) and stating the truth about a situation.
You know that most people think you have a large amount of gumption in your own character.
Fairness in dealing with friends and enemies alike is another characteristic Americans honor. The "handshake" deal is legendary in this country, and many of the Jewish immigrants to this country built great fortunes because the word went out that they were "men of their words." Business empires rose and grew as the word spread that "if he says so, he surely will do it." Similarly, businesses toppled when it was discovered that the owner's word was not his "bond."
When you put those two together, you arrive at the trait that I am taking the liberty to advise you to display at this moment with the American government. It is called "standing up on your hind legs." There comes a time in most relationships when there is a requirement that one of the parties "lay it all on the line" and "stand up on their hind legs" and tell the other party in the relationship, "this is it."
Israel has just taken a beating in the ICJ and in the UN (again). The United States is, as I read in the Israel press online, putting pressure on Israel to keep to "agreements" and not build in Jerusalem.
I suggest, sir that the proper response, at this time might be to "stand up on your hind legs and show some gumption." Mr. Prime Minister, tell the President of the United States that it is time for the United States to keep to some of the promises the U.S. has made to Israel.

1. The United States, under Bill Clinton promised to free Jonathan Pollard. It is time for Jonathan Pollard to be let out of jail. Israel, as you know has kept its word and complied with that agreement, which should have led to the release.
2. Every United States administration since 1967 has promised to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Each, in turn, has found an excuse to delay any such move until it was too late for that administration to act. It is time for the United States to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

President George H. W. Bush paid Jordan, (for what I don't know), as Jordan supported Saddam Hussein in Gulf War I, and asked Israel to lay low. In this Gulf War President George W. Bush is asking Israel to cede lands to a nascent Arab terrorist state as Israel's contribution to the War on Terror.

Understand, please, that the people of Israel, and the people of the United States, and the "Arab Street" all respect righteous and firm positions taken by leaders who "stand up on their hind legs" and show some "gumption." The terrorists who fear the fence fear it because they feel "it will serve as a border." Many of us throughout the world who otherwise could be counted as your supporters despise the fence because they are sure that the world will view it as a border. Already, the press speaks of "incursions into Palestinian territory." As far as I can tell, "the Green Line" is no more valid as a border of the State of Israel than the current cease-fire line.

Mr. Prime Minister, there is not any way that you can be forced to "keep your promises" when the government of the United States has consistently reneged on its promises to Israel.

Start with this, sir: "Everything is on the table and open for discussion, but Israel will not accept the validity of any agreement with the United States until the United States honors its commitments to Israel under those agreements." Understand this, sir, the Mediterranean Sea is just as wet and just as deep no matter who pushes you into it.

I know that if I remind you of Baba Matzia and the resolution of the opening question, "Two people are holding the same garment," you will remember that what you cede is lost, and is no longer contested. Cede nothing, and you will find friends all over the world. Cede everything, and your enemies will still be your enemies.

You will find strength and support as soon as you "stand up on your hind legs" and show some "gumption."

Shalom, Berakha, VeTova,

(c) Rabbi Haim Cassorla 2004ce.

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Rabbi Haim Cassorla

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