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The Slogan 'Let the People Decide' Is a Return to the Sin of the Spies

[Nadia Matar - Women In Green]

Summary ... In my humble opinion, the campaign for a referendum is actually spreading calumny about the Land, and is a return to the Biblical account of the sin of the spies.

Egged buses are currently festooned with huge posters bearing the slogan: "Let the People Decide." My stomach turns when I think about the hundreds of thousands of shekels — and perhaps more — that the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is wasting on this campaign, instead of channeling the money to preparations for the upcoming struggle this summer — the renovation of empty houses to absorb the thousands of new residents, the purchase of generators, tents, stores of food and water for the tens of thousands of people who will dig in, and the like.

But what is even more troubling than the waste of money, is the message of the campaign itself. We must declare, once and for all, that whoever promotes the "Let the People Decide" slogan inflicts the greatest possible damage on our struggle for The Land of Israel. In my humble opinion, the campaign for a referendum is actually spreading calumny about the Land, and is a return to the Biblical account of the sin of the spies.

When the spies returned from scouting out the Land, the people had to decide whom to follow. Would they follow the ten spies who told them how beautiful the Land was, but "we cannot go forward against that people, for it is stronger than we ... the country is one that devours its inhabitants" — or would they go with Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun, who declared: "Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it" (Deuteronomy 13)?

Let the people decide? The people did decide. Not only did they want to stone Caleb and Joshua, "the whole community broke out into loud cries, and the people wept that night. All the Israelites railed against Moses and Aaron ... 'Why is the Lord taking us to that land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be carried off! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!' And they said to one another, 'Let us appoint a new leader and head back to Egypt.'" (Numbers 14:1-4)

Could any modern referendum be clearer than this? All the Children of Israel, the whole community, an overwhelming majority, were against Caleb and Joshua, and for a return to Egypt. What did G-d say to this? Did He accept the results, and say that, since a majority of the people wished to renounce the dream of the Land of Israel, they should return to Egypt? Definitely Not!

And the Lord said to Moses: "How long will this people spurn Me, and how long will they have no faith in Me despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst. I will strike them with pestilence and disown them, and I will make of you a nation far more numerous than they!" (Numbers 14:11-12)

G-d wanted to destroy all the whiners and those lacking faith. Only after Moses intervenes, does the Lord agree not to kill them all. Instead, the punishment is that they will not see the Land of Israel. Only Caleb and Joshua would merit to enter the Land, together with the new generation. That night, when all the people wept, was the night of Tisha B'Av. The midrash says that G-d told them: "You wept for nothing, therefore I will establish this night for you as one of lamentation for future generations."

If G-d was so harsh with the liberated Israelite slaves when they were still in the wilderness on their way to the Land of Israel, a land that they had never seen — how much more scandalous is it when we, who have already settled and taken possession of this Land, dare to speak about the possibility of handing it over to the enemy?

Therefore, in my humble opinion, those among our camp who call for a referendum are essentially no different from Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres. All belong to the faction of the ten defeatist spies who spread calumny about the Land. All are actually saying that in certain instances we must — obviously, with a grieving heart — surrender the Land of Israel or parts of it. All are weak people who do not have complete faith in our divine destiny, who do not believe in our ability to remain in the Land and protect it. All say: "We cannot go forward."

If we do not want endless lamenting here, once again, if we truly desire to be victorious, to block the Sharon plan, to prevent the deportation and uprooting, and to thereby save the State of Israel and the Land of Israel — goals that are within our reach, if we only organize properly — then we must follow only leaders who speak in the spirit of Caleb and Joshua. Leaders who say clearly, without stuttering or hesitation: The Sharon plan is a crime. A crime against the Holy One, blessed be He, a crime against the Torah, a crime against the people, a crime against the land.

This land belongs to us because G-d gave it to us, and no Jew is entitled to give it away. Likewise, no government or Knesset is entitled to give it away, even if an absolute majority votes in favor. Consequently, every Jew — soldier, policeman, Border Patrol soldier, attorney, government official, etc. — is forbidden to participate or assist in this criminal plan, whether directly or indirectly. On D-Day, all the people must leave their homes to stand and be counted in Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron, to prevent, with their bodies, the realization of the crime. If our leadership will speak in such a clear manner, and act and organize accordingly, then, with God's help, we will succeed in preventing the execution of the decree.

To all those in our camp who — still — advocate only the policy of "With Love We will Win," we say: Don't you understand that Sharon and the band of Oslo criminals around him plan to love us to death? To all those in our camp who send mixed messages and weaken our cause with demands for a referendum; to those who sabotage our struggle with talk about the "moral" obligation of soldiers to obey the patently illegal and immoral deportation order; to those who are too fearful to say like Caleb and Joshua, "If G-d desires to help us, He will indeed bring us into the Land and give it to us ... only you must not rebel against the Lord" — to all these well-meaning people we say what Mordechai told Esther thousands of years ago: "If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter" (Esther 4:14).

[ Published: March 18, 2005 ]

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