Israel Forever

For the week ending 7 September 2002 / 1 Tishri 5763

The War We Are Losing

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"The Palestinians are winning the Media War!"

This is the sad comment heard over and over again in Israeli government circles. While Israel seems to be winning, thank G-d, its war against Palestinian terror, it is far less successful in presenting the justice of its cause in the international courtroom of public opinion.

Lengthy articles have appeared in the local and foreign press which have attempted to explain the reason for Israels failure. Perhaps a theological perspective is in order.

The Children of Israel were exhorted by their leader, Moshe, to remain faithful to the command of the Torah for "this will demonstrate your wisdom and understanding

in the eyes of the nations" (Devarim 4:6). He then went on to warn them that if they abandon the ways of Hashem the nations of the world would look upon them as fools (Rashi ibid. 4:9).

No one doubts that the Israel government and Jews everywhere must make a greater effort to combat the efficient, albeit vicious and mendacious, propaganda machine of the Palestinians and their anti-Semitic allies. In addition to better handling of foreign journalists covering the scene in Israel it is important to establish courses for Jewish students on campuses abroad to train them in combating pro-Palestinian activism.

In the final analysis, however, we can only expect limited success regardless of how right we are in defending our right to exist in the land divinely promised to us. We must come to grips with the realization that just as ultimate victory on the battlefield is determined by Heaven so too is success on the battlefield of public opinion.

If we long to change the image which is being projected of us as a confused nation fighting an immoral cause we must heed the warning of our great teacher. Only by returning to the divine role of being a "light unto the nations" can we hope to dispel the darkness of the propaganda which engulfs us.

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