The issue of releasing the Jewish political prisoners is a reliable yardstick in measuring “Love of Jews” (Ahavat Yisrael.) What person with a Jewish heart can bear to see Jews, who acted out of nationalist motives, decay in prison while Arab murderers are set free. Only a Jew who has something dead inside of him cannot identify with the plight of the Jewish prisoners who acted out of pain, retaliation and sometimes self-defense.
Yet, we see so many right-wingers adamantly against their release. Elyakim HaEtzni, considered an extreme right-winger is against releasing the Jewish prisoners, as is the new “savior” Benny Begin. Benny Alon as well says he has a “moral problem” with helping them. We can see from this that there is sometimes no connection between nationalism or “love of land” and “love of Jews”. All the staunch Zionists (including religious ones) don’t even mention Jonathan Pollard anymore. He is simply not in their consciousness. For so many YESHA types, Eretz Yisrael is the only goal that stands before them, while Ahavat Yisrael falls by the wayside. (The attitude of so many of them is that Pollard is an “American”, and anyway, aren’t all Americans crazy?) This is their level of Ahavat Yisrael. Even their slogan “Ahavat Chinam” (unconditional love) is reserved strictly for the secularists, and is only a manipulation to placate the secularists and further the cause for strengthening the settlement enterprise. For this reason, their “Ahavat Chinam” does not extend to the “Haredim”, since the “Haredim”are not settlement supporters.
Note: The point here is not to take away from the importance of settlements,but there is a disproportionate emphasis on this one subject, while other values are ignored. When a Jew is murdered by an Arab, they scream for more settlements instead of for vengeance or the expulsion of the Arabs. Another example: Several years ago when the Russian Jews were coming out of the Soviet Union and going to America instead of Israel, many wanted the Soviets to shut their gates to these Jews, since they are not making Aliyah to Israel. But true “Ahavat Yisrael” would dictate that we should want those Soviet Jews freed in any case, even if they don’t come to Israel. Again, the ideal of Zionism does not have to overshadow the value of “Ahavat Yisrael”. That is why Rabbi Kahane fought anti-semitism in the exile, even if he knew that the ultimate answer is Aliyah to Israel.
Today is the 50th Anniversary of the blowing up of the King David Hotel by the Irgun. We often discuss the history of the Lehi and Irgun in order to remind and educate ourselves of the self-sacrifice that is necessary in order to bring change and to swiften the redemption.
In these days of materialism and unraveling of the social fiber, along with the total breakdown of national morale, the awesome spirit of self-sacrifice has become a thing of the past. But we must pay attention to the fact that there are a few Jews today who have followed the footsteps of past heroes, and have undertaken deeds of “msirut nefesh”. Many are sitting in jails today, as prisoners of Zion inside Zion. In certain respects, their sacrifice is even greater than their predecessors of the Jewish undergrounds of the Irgun and Lehi, because today’s incitement against any national sentiment, along with the self-hate and emphasis on materialism is so much stronger than it ever was in past times.
We must remember that while the action of the blowing up of the King David Hotel is considered heroic today, it certainly was not considered as such atthe time it was done. Then, it was condemned as “terrorism”, “insanity”, and”violent”. Let this comfort us and teach us that the condemned of today are the heroes of tomorrow, and today, as well, let us not get upset by those who attack the right and the righteous, for their light will surely shine tomorrow.
The return of the bodies of the soldiers Yosef Fink and Rachamim Elshich, May G-d Avenge their Blood, after the mental torture that their families endured – was looked upon as a great “achievement” for us. Experts were quick to talk about “breakthroughs” in relations with the Hizbollah. And so the main point was forgotten: The two soldiers were murdered in cold blood by their captors!! And not one of us is shocked in the least. We take this lowly behavior of the Arab as something for granted. Where is the justice that the State of Israel should be demanding for the blood of her children and soldiers that has been spilled in such a cheap way.
But we have grown used to it all. Arabs act like vulgar wild animals, and we play the gentlemen, obeying the international law to the T.
And we recently saw another example of this sickness. Parallel to the scandalous decision of Weizman and Netanyahu to grant pardons for”Palestinian” terrorist murderers, it was decided that the sentences of some of the Jewish prisoners should be lightened. And the truth was, that just hearing such news warmed the heart for a moment, despite the fact that it was done to legitimize the atrocity of releasing Arab murderers. But the joy was premature. To counter the release of Arab terrorists, it turned out that the following decisions were made: Dani Eizman received 17.5 years, Nir Efroni got 22 years, Alan Goodman 24 years, and Nachshon Walls 15 years. What “balance”! How even handed! And let’s not forget that Yehoram Shkolnick, who was given a life sentence for killing a terrorist, was not even mentioned. This is pure evil! Oy to the nation that pardons its enemies and abandons its lovers!
Benyamin Ze’ev Kahane wrote this article in 5756 (1996), fifteen years ago. What has changed? Have the authorities stopped arresting Jews for the crime of teaching Torah that opposes the government and its policies? Tell that to Rabbi Ginsburg, who 15 years after this article was written, has been imprisoned again for writing a well researched and sourced halacha book “Torat HaMelech”, and Rav Dov Lior who was also imprisoned for writing a hakdama (recommendation) for the said sefer. Maybe we should also mention Haim Pearlman, who was sent to prison and possibly tortured for showing the whole nation what a joke Shaba”k really is (the joke’s on them — he was released, and they are still losers). Today there are still many Jews languishing in Israeli prisons for various crimes such as self-defense, ‘sedition’, and incitiment. Think about how you could help these proud and strong Jews in their difficult struggles, today.
There is no more appropriate time than Passover, which is the Holiday of Freedom (“Chag Hacharut”), to mention the 30 political prisoners who languish in Israeli prison AND ARE NOT FREE MEN – because they wanted to see their people free men.
And now, the newest crime at the top of the agenda of the Israeli authorities is the speaking of truth. Binyamin Kahane was sentenced to four months for “rebellion”, and most recently Baruch Merzel was sentenced to three months imprisonment for the uttering of a single word, calling Faisel Husseini (“Ya mach shmo”) a “murderer” in a court room!
And Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzberg Shlita joins the list of rabbis who have been tossed into jail. He joins Rabbi Moshe Levinger Shlita who was sentenced to prison for 7 months for performing a mitzvah, and he also joins Rabbi Ido Elba Shlita who has already sat a year and half in prison for a Torah essay he wrote.
The edicts which the authorities have set down against Torah have become harsher and harsher. For they know that the real danger to their power is the Torah truth which these rabbis are willing to express. But on this Passover Holiday, we come to teach the tyrants a lesson: While you may be able to imprison our bodies, you cannot break our spirit! You will not subdue the truth – you will only sharpen it through your falsehood. For it is the speaking of the Jewish truth which is the front-burner issue in the struggle for redemption today.