Announcement was made within the past twenty-four hours that President elect Donald Trump will appoint David M. Friedman to the post of Ambassador to Israel. David M. Friedman is a strong advocate of the annexation of Judea-Samaria, Jerusalem as the capitol city of Israel and only of Israel, and of American Embassy relocation to Jerusalem.
This Blog strongly supports the first two of these goals. Israel is long overdue to annex Judea-Samaria. The World is long overdue to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitol city and solely as Israel's capitol city. The one objection of this Blog is to the relocation of Embassies to Jerusalem.
The Jewish People are instructed to be in the world and yet to remain aloof from the world. This is no small obligation before HaShem. The secular, religious, and anti-religious elements of modern day Israel comprise today's State of Israel, which is a democracy and not a theocracy. All of the citizens of Israel bring their present and historic memories to Israel and form the State in dynamic daily life in the context of a sea of Arab States, which still do not recognize Israel's existential right, (with the notable, yet changeable, exceptions of Jordan and Egypt).
Israel is an humble nation, despite the apparent historical chip on it's shoulder and despite it's cultural bluster, which is often mistaken by the world to be arrogance. The world at large has great trouble accepting a psychologically independent and largely self-sufficient State of Israel. Yet after thousands of years of exile, humiliation, abuse in ghettoes, Inquisition, and Shoah, Israel stands today as a State, recognized in 1949 by the UN.
In the world of politics and the deal making and power struggles associated with politics, one must always "hope for the best... expect the worst" (Mel Brooks, from "The Twelve Chairs"). One only need remember Israel's ceding of the entire Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt to recall the price of a "peace" deal. The complete return of the Sinai to Egypt resulted in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and a cold peace with Egypt and later Jordan; ceding the Sinai set the precedent that the Arabs expect to have their cous-cous and eat it too, namely, that they may terrorize and seek to annihilate Israel at no ultimate cost to their territorial hegemony.
The past 60-years since the assassination of Sadat have seen the murderous bombings of the French and American Barracks in Lebanon, the Lebanese Civil War resulting in the assassinations of Bashir Gemayel and Rafik Hariri, Hezbollah domination of Lebanon, the Oslo Accords (may those Accords turn over ad infinitum in their "grave"), the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, several Intifadas, including the present Intifada and deliberate forest fires, several wars in Lebanon and Gaza, relentless missile attacks into southern Israel from Gaza, unending terrorist attacks from the geographies of Lebanon, Syria, Arab-occupied Judea-Samaria and Gaza, and then also the propaganda campaigns that have pitted the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and much of world opinion against Israel, most recently in the form of the Boycott, Divestitures, and Sanctions movement. One must not exclude as well the foolhardy unilateral Israeli "disengagement" from Gaza, which gave only one blessing -- the proof reductio ad absurdum that "disengagement" is an oxymoron with real world consequences, such as the destruction of homes and communities, the displacement of thousands, and the handing over of territorial hegemony to an enemy, whose only motivation is, was, and always will be the annihilation of Israel.
As the precedents for such an history was set by (1) the failure of Israel to annex Judea-Samaria in 1967 after the success of the Six-Day War, (2) the acceptance in principle of the idea of a Two-State Solution and the Oslo Accords, (3) the return in it's entirety of the Sinai to Egypt, (4) the "disengagement" from Gaza, (5) the freeing of thousands of terrorists from their Israeli prison cells, and (6) failure at the UN to prevent the propaganda of Arab Terrorists from becoming resolution after resolution against Israel; there is now hope (keeping in mind yet to expect the worst) that the tide is turning in Israel's favor and that some happy resolutions of the Arab Israeli Conflict exist now in the air, on the ground, and on "the table".
The consequences of the Iran-Nuclear Agreement are yet to be proven and are thus in the air. On the ground American and international acceptance of Jerusalem as Israel's capitol city (and solely as Israel's capitol city) is long overdue and may now be on "the table". Also on the ground, international recognition of the Israeli Golan and Sheva Farms, and Israeli annexation of Judea-Samaria also appear to be on "the table". (Such recognitions and annexation is long overdue; commensurately, there should be a paid opportunity for the voluntary relocation to Arab States of as many Arabs, presently residing within Israeli hegemony, who may not stomach the idea of life as a loyal Israeli, be their status as a Citizen or Refugee; as well, there should be an imposed relocation of Arabs terrorists to any nation that may accept them. Those Arabs, who celebrate Al-Naqba, should have no place in the State of Israel.
The short-term symbolic impact of embassy relocation to Jerusalem appears to be supportive of Israel; but, one must remember, that even though there is no physical Bais HaMikdash on Earth today, there was an historical time, when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem and destroyed Jerusalem and the Bais HaMikdash; at a later time in history, the Greeks, and then the Romans, occupied Jerusalem, the Royal Court, and the existing Bais HaMikdash, which the Romans ultimately destroyed. As we ready ourselves to celebrate Channukah, let us remember, that even the short separation of distance between Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim is a separation that may best serve Israel and the World in their relationships over the long-run. As one Rebbe has stated to this writer in times past with respect to involvement in the world and the in understanding of proper eruvim, "It is good to have an open mind, so long as one's brains do not fall out." It is one thing, to pray for Mashiach in our time, may he not tarry, may he come speedily and in our time. It is quite another to presume his arrival, which we will only know, when the Bais HaMikdash Shlosha descends MinHaShemayim in Yerushalayim. In the meantime as Jews we had best remember that HaShem holds Har Sinai over our heads, that we should be Bitul before HaShem and before each other.