"Neither The Army Nor The Government Wants To Win This War!"
By Shai Gefen

An exclusive interview with Rabbi Zalman Melamed, leader of the Rabbanim of Yesha and rav of Yishuv Beit-El * Rabbi Melamed doesn’t think the army is being held back by the government. He thinks that even military commanders are still dreaming of "peace."


What is your understanding of the situation in Yesha, when the army does not respond to the bloodshed and mayhem?

We are highly critical of the I.D.F. and the government. They are misguided and are endangering the entire nation, not just the settlers. This is leading us to an even more severe conflict than we had before. This weak behavior is not only not leading us towards peace, it’s distancing us from it.

Some people think that the army’s hands are tied and that the government does not allow them to win. Is this true?

I think that the army’s position (by that I mean the military commanders) is close to that of the government. They fully identify with what the government is doing. In other words, the army is tying its own hands. There’s no question that the premise under which the military commanders are operating is way off.

Decision-makers in the military think there is someone with whom to make peace. This perspective is flawed. They are sure that the quarrel with the Arabs is a political one, and that political battles have political solutions. It’s quite obvious though, that this battle with the Arabs is not a political battle.

Did this battle begin because we conquered Yesha?

This battle began when we became a nation, i.e., when the Torah was given to the Jewish people. Whoever doesn’t understand this cannot arrive at a real solution and true peace. On the contrary, all the fawning of the secular leadership and the attempts to make concessions and divide Eretz Yisroel will lead to a harsh reality and to bloody war. Concessions over parts of the country and attempts to appease Arafat will lead to further bloodshed, ch’v.

Uzi Landau nicknamed the present I.D.F. commanders "Oslo Commanders." What do you think?

It’s exactly the case. Neither the government nor the military commanders believe in the uniqueness of the Jewish nation, its awesome spiritual strength, and the eternity of the Jewish people. They don’t believe in the connection the Jewish people has with the Holy Land. So obviously they have no motivation to fight. This view leads them to think that we can’t win, which is why they are taking the route of withdrawals and concessions, as though only "peace" will solve the problem.

This view is leading to problem after problem. They just look at the simplistic political side of things, which leads them to terrible blunders. They think one can have political collaborations with Israeli Arabs, which is why they made political connections with the Arabs to try to preserve the existing government. The head of the terrorists tells the Arab Knesset members what to do and how to respond. There’s no question they’ve gotten themselves into a mess they can’t get out of.

Then you don’t think the new slogan of the Yesha council, "Let Tzahal win," is apt, because the problem is within the army itself?

It’s definitely disingenuous on their part. The problem is within the I.D.F., and it’s not just that they are not being allowed to fight. Neither the I.D.F. nor the government wants to win this war! They think that through these unfortunate agreements we can arrive at a solution.

Perhaps the negotiators sense that there is no motivation to fight and there’s nobody they can take out to battle...

That’s completely untrue. The Jewish nation is strong. The Jewish people are strongly motivated to fight for its existence, and whoever says the nation is not willing to fight for its life is lying. The leadership broadcasts weakness and fear to the public, but the people themselves are healthy and strong and know what they want. The Jewish nation has always fought and always carries on. Now that we are close to Geula we have the strength to complete this endgame.

Yet the military commanders say that the only road we have to survival is by means of agreements with Arabs.

If the I.D.F. isn’t strong, then no agreement will help. We all see that every agreement that was signed up until now is not worth the paper it is written on. Look at what happened to the agreement they signed in Sharm-a-Sheik. The agreement was broken while it was being signed!

We must continue to act fearlessly, striking at them so they understand it doesn’t pay to mess with us. This will help us continue to exist here; not some worthless agreement.

We must all move forward fearlessly and build and settle the land, and prepare for the Geula, which will come speedily in our days through Moshiach Tzidkeinu. Only then will the argument between us and the Arabs be solved.

Don’t our leaders understand this?

Unfortunately, the leaders of the Left and the military leaders don’t understand the situation. They have convinced themselves that they can take the route of agreements and concessions, which leads them nowhere. I am afraid that the Arabs will show the Leftist leaders their mistake the painful way. They’ll teach them until they wake up from their miserable dream of peace.

Aren’t you afraid for the future, since the leadership broadcasts the message of weakness and self-restraint?

We believe that Hashem protects and guards us and we have nothing to fear. We rely on Hashem. The people in Yesha are strong and they are believers. We know exactly why we’re here, and we’re ready to pass these difficult tests. We have the strength to deal with it, and I believe and I am confident that in the end, our leaders will also open their eyes and we will be victorious.

Are you in contact with the leaders of the security forces about the situation?

I spoke with senior officials, among them one very high up in security. I explained to him the mistake we think they are making. Unfortunately they don’t get it yet, and that’s what frightens me more than anything. All those at the head of the security forces are blinded and have no faith in what the Jewish people are doing. So they continue step after step, which, chalila, will lead to further tragedy.

What did you tell him?

I asked him something very simple: Did you in security, which is composed of intelligence experts, anticipate the uprising in the Galil and Wadi Ara? He said that these events were unexpected by the various security agencies. I told him that we, who are not experts when it comes to war, knew this would happen.

Then I said: You gave them tens of thousands of weapons and ammunition. You gave them the appetite to fight us. How could you not have realized that this would lead to their attacking us and using these weapons against us? Didn’t you know that one day these weapons would be turned on us?

He didn’t have much to say, yet it still doesn’t seem as though they understand. They are held captive by their views and by their closed minds that broadcast tremendous weakness and lack of faith in the right way to proceed.

According to what you say, things are bleak. The Arabs have clear goals. They know exactly what they want, while the political leadership in Israel doesn’t know where it’s going.

That sums it up precisely, and that is the greatest danger we have today.

Is there hope that the situation will change?

I think the nation is strong and knows what it wants. Most of the nation is either religious or traditional, and there’s faith in the justice of our position. The nation must take hold of itself and take the leadership back into its hands. We can’t allow the leadership to operate with an extremist minority, a minority which has crossed all red lines. Fortunately, the majority of the nation supports sane and healthy positions. I’m sure the time will come when all of them will understand what’s going on here, and the right way will prevail and be victorious.

Is there a chance that we will unite and succeed in overcoming all our obstacles?

One of our problems is that we only unite when there are problems. We have to unite now, before, chalila, it’s too late. The believing public, who understands that Eretz Yisroel rightfully belongs to us, must unite without waiting for additional problems to arise. You have to understand that there are people out there who want to change this country from a Jewish country to a pluralistic democracy, thereby destroying all the foundations upon which we live.

What do you think the breaking point was for the Zionist leadership, which has brought the country to the brink of disaster?

It has been a long process. It started with the loss of belief in the Creator of the world. At first, they still had faith in the Jewish nation and in Eretz Yisroel, and they spoke about rebirth, hope, and Zionism. Over the years they lost this too, and this process developed until we’ve reached the situation we are in now.

Every human being has a survival instinct. Even animals have a survival instinct. How do you explain what’s happening to the leaders of the country?

I don’t believe they don’t want to survive. They are simply erring and think that their road to peace will lead to survival. They are mistaken in their approach, but this mistake endangers the very existence of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisroel.

What do the rabbanim of Yesha have to say to the residents in light of the critical security situation and the lackluster response of the security forces?

The Torah says, "If somebody comes to kill you, get up and kill him." You don’t need to hear this from the rabbanei Yesha, since it says this in the Torah. Any Jew who’s being attacked must attack in return with the intention to kill. This is a well known halacha; we don’t have to pasken it anew.

How are things in the settlements these days?

The settlers in Yesha are stronger than ever. People keep coming to live in the various settlements with strength and emuna. We have a girls’ school attended by girls who live in Yerushalayim. No one has stopped coming. The same is true for all the schools here, yeshivos and kollelim, attended by people from around the country. People know why they’re here and they are prepared.

The media reports statistics about a mass flight from Yesha. Is there any truth to these statistics?

Not at all. The opposite is true. Daily, there are more families moving here. I repeat: our people are strong and they’re maaminim. I won’t say they aren’t enduring difficulties, but they are definitely standing strong and gaining strength by overcoming their trials.

As far as what the media says, I would like to say something very important: the media is actually the ruling party in this country. Thanks to the media’s pressure, the army left Lebanon, and the media is leading the government to leave Yesha, too. However, they won’t succeed with Yesha, because there are citizens here who won’t leave. All the battles these days take place in the media. The Palestinians are winning the media battle. We have enough power to change the media, which controls the government and the army, as well. We can legally make revolutionary changes in the media.

Are you alluding to the fact that the parties on the Right and the religious parties are not doing anything about this?

Of course I have serious complaints about these parties. We could have changed the media with an unequivocal and strong confrontation when we were in the Coalition, without getting involved in side issues. We should have said that we want a media that represents our positions. This is the most important battle that needs to be waged against the Left.

The leaders of the religious communities don’t understand the media and they’re just not interested in it, which is why it has been neglected. Yet we must realize that the media is what decides the critical issues of the day and is the most powerful force in Israel.

If not for the Leftist media, would the situation look different?

What’s the question?! If not for the media we wouldn’t have left Lebanon, and we wouldn’t have had all the incidents taking place in Yesha.

The media is run by a tiny, marginal minority that has cut itself off from all its roots. We’re talking about an extremist group who left behind the basics of mutual responsibility between Jews a long time ago. The war for the Jewish media is a must, and we should all work on it.

What can be done?

One of the things we did was set up Arutz Sheva, but of course that isn’t enough. We must set up our own media that will represent the religious and traditional population. If we did that, the entire picture would change.

Did you think things would get this bad?

As soon as they signed the Oslo Accords, and before that – the Camp David agreement with Menachem Begin – it was clear that this is where it would lead to, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe said back then. If, chalila, they sign additional agreements, worse things will happen, r’l.

How can we strengthen the Jewish people today?

Through emuna. Every believing person knows that Hashem runs the show, not the Prime Minister or the army. We know nothing is by happenstance. It’s all in G-d’s hands, and we believe it’s all a test. Of course we are critical of all those who take part in abandoning Eretz Yisroel, but on a deeper level we know it’s a test, for Eretz Yisroel is acquired through yissurim.

If we looked at the situation with a view of emuna, it would be altogether different. We would put our arguments with the Arabs aside and get busy building ourselves up, both b’ruchniyus and b’gashmiyus.

Would the Arabs wait for us to build ourselves up spiritually?

We don’t see the government convening the cabinet every day to discuss how to fight against traffic accidents. We have to carry on building Eretz Yisroel and guarding it, while viewing the quarrel with the Arabs as a problem that has to be dealt with from time to time. We can’t spend our lives on this issue. If we acted this way, the situation would look altogether different.

We must be strong. We must work together for the Jewish people and for the Geula, which we will merit speedily in our days, amen.


Rabbi Zalman Melamed




We all see that every agreement that was signed up until now is not worth the paper it is written on. Look at what happened to the agreement they signed in Sharm-a-Sheik. The agreement was broken while it was being signed!




You have to understand that there are people out there who want to change this country from a Jewish country to a pluralistic democracy, thereby destroying all the foundations upon which we live.





The media is actually the ruling party in this country. Thanks to the media’s pressure, the army left Lebanon, and the media is leading the government to leave Yesha, too.


Home | Contents | Archives | Interactive |Contact Chat | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.