Jerusalem Day - What are they celebrating?

Sunday, June 5 this year is the anniversary of the day in the Hebrew calendar on which the Zionists conquered the Old City of Jerusalem, on the third day of the Six Day War in 1967. Zionists to this day celebrate the occasion, but in retrospect, even they must admit that this conquest caused them endless suffering and may even lead to the end of their entire movement.

At the time, as the Zionists swelled with pride over their swift victory, Rabbi Amram Blau warned prophetically: "With this lightning warfare they think they have won. There is no doubt that they are now at the peak of their powers, and from here it is all downhill. It won't be long before they see the troubles that their conquests bring them. The Arabs' hatred toward them will only grow as they look forward to a day of revenge. The Zionists now have hundreds of thousands of enemies within their borders. We are all in serious danger here." (Shomrei Ha'ir, p. 204)

Unwilling to return what they captured, the Zionists rapidly became prisoners of their own victory. And if the conquest was initially reversible, decades of settlement building have rendered it impossible to turn back the clock. Already in 1980, at the dawn of the settler movement, Shimon Peres commented, "I fear it is already too late. Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he's doing. He's creating the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Jewish prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jewish people. " (Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, v. 3, p. 133)

Under the Sharon administration, the Israelis began to see that maintaining what were now millions of Palestinians in their borders posed a demographic threat as well as a violent one. Ehud Olmert said in 2003, "We are approaching the point where more and more Palestinians will say, 'There is no place for two states between the Jordan and the sea. All we want is the right to vote.' The day they get it, we will lose everything." (One Country, p. 55)

Sharon and Olmert undertook a new policy, unilateral disengagement, which, they hoped, would allow them to draw a snaking border around most of their settlements and potentially subtract Palestinians from their population. But placing the West Bank's Palestinian residents in such a state would only aggravate their situation.

For example, the Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the northwest of the West Bank is sandwiched between the 1967 border with Israel on the west and north and the settlement of Alfe Menashe (population 5000) on the east. Under a 2003 plan called the Geneva Initiative, Israel would keep this settlement and annex a wide swath of territory around it and a corridor linking it to Israel. This mushroom-shaped land grab would completely encircle Qalqilya from the south, severely limiting the growth potential for the city and its neighboring villages (population 60,000). The corridor connecting the settlement to Israel does even more damage by bisecting two Palestinian villages, cutting them off from each other and cutting many more Palestinians off from Qalqilya. (One Country, pp. 75-76)

Thus the 1967 conquest, followed by the settler movement that made it impossible for the Israelis to return what they conquered, are leading to the end of Zionism. How ironic it is that even today, Zionists march in the streets, celebrating a victory that is actually leading to their defeat.

But for us as Torah Jews, there is nothing surprising about this idea. On Purim we read about Haman, who was hung on the gallows he himself built. And as the Tanach says, "The foolishness of a man twists his own path" (Mishlei 19:3). "The nations fall in the pit they made; in the net that they themselves placed, their foot was caught" (Tehillim 9:16). We can only pray to G-d to protect all of us and bring this conflict to a peaceful end.