Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, March 17, 2008
Why is the Jewish reaction to violence against us so subdued?

From the Holocaust to Oslo to Gush Katif to Peki’in to Mercaz Harav, the Jewish people, with certain exceptions, tend to take an exceptionally passive response to violence against us, until pushed into a corner. Honestly, even the wars Israel has been in, Israel usually fought them only because we had no choice.

Jews don’t seem to get excited. Jews don’t seem to react to violence with action.

Look through the stories in Tanach. Again with certain notable exceptions (Shimon, Levy, King David, the Judges), the people tend to be extremely passive, until some real leader comes along and drives us forward, or until a situation becomes so unbearable that the alternative to no response is destruction.

I’m not saying if this is a good thing or a bad thing, it just seems to be the way we are.

Let’s look at the reaction to the murder of the Yeshiva boys.

Until yesterday, no one reacted. The tent wasn’t ripped down. There were no riots. No counterattacks. Public calls for violent revenge came literally from the fringe, in fact, when the Left went looking for extremism (“extremism”?, more like any reaction whatsoever) they couldn’t find any, so instead they made up some stories.

Finally, yesterday around a hundred people went into the Arab neighborhood and threw stones (and had stones thrown back at them).

And the police?

They commented that they were surprised at how violent and angry the Jews were. They weren’t expecting so strong a reaction. In fact, they weren’t really expecting any violence at all - from the Jewish side.

Perhaps this passivity, thinking (and thinking some more) before acting (if at all), not rocking the boat has helped us survive many situations since Abraham. On the other hand, could it be that we’ve taken it too far, and by not responding properly, or at all (or leaving it into the hands of others who also react in a limited fashion) it is now working to our detriment?

I don’t know, and I’d like to hear what you think.


Anonymous said...

There is a time of grief (7 days) and it is a time to also "step back", pray and find composure (sp) rather than flying off the handle and doing something rash. Patience has a lot to say for itself in Rabbi Pliskin's book "Patience".

On the other hand, this is NOT the thing to do if one is in combat be it with Arab terrorists or with the police of this leftist government.

BTW, I can't seem to get signed in other than Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the fact that God's name is "peace" (according to the gemara) has something to do with it?

Although to be honest, it is not fair to separate the "passive" people from the "active" "real leaders". The "real leader" is just the most prominent member of the people, and he could never achieve what he did without thousands of "passive" individuals fighting along with him.

BTW: As far as I know, Joesettler, you too have been absolutely passive. I would like to hear otherwise. Please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

Nope. I've been too passive lately also. Can't deny that.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps reactive, rather than pro-active.

Anonymous said...

the answer is violence. the answer is to go into the arab neighborhood and rip it down. but i personally am physically incapable of doing so. i have a job, i have bills, i have a family and i do not have the time or energy to get to the neighborhood since there is no bus to go there, and to go on foot with sticks and stones would be in effective. i don't have a car, and none of my friends want to go with me and any time i bring up violence as an answer they seem to think i'm an undercover agent or something. only the police and army has that kind of manpower, and they seem to be against us. i would love to have a riot, like blacks in the 60s (or in the 90s, actually). but all i have is an anonymous internet comment box. remember also that past individual actions have been ineffectual, such as that one guy in peace now that got killed, or the taxi driver who shot up his arab passengers, or the guy from ulpan who lit himslef on fire... am i to end up like one of these? dead, like baruch goldstein? was baruch goldstein an effective expression of rage? he's dead now. the only effective use of violence seems to have been the six day war, and you need the whole country pushed up against the wall to do that. and remember how ineffective and weak the prime minister was in 1967. how about tienneman square? the stonewall riots? were they in the long run effective? i just know for my personal sanity i have to do something. the gush katif protests were huge and nationwide, and they failed. the government planned for years to defeat them and brainwashed all the soldiers with psychologists and special training to deal with protesters. the government spent all their money on dealing with "us". now it's 2008 and all i have is this comment box.

Unknown said...

I recommend reading Kenneth Levin "The Oslo Syndrome" for psychological answers.

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