In the Book of Judges the story is told of how the
Jewish hero Gideon was commanded by G-D to choose only those soldiers
who "lapped with their hands to their mouths" for the coming battle with
the Midianites. "Whoever fears and trembles," he was instructed to send
home. Next to be given their leave were "everyone who laps from the
water with his tongue as a dog laps" and "everyone who kneels on his
knees to drink." As an ex-middleweight boxer, I believe I have a special
insight into the prerequisites the G-D of Israel required of the 300
Jewish fighters eventually chosen to contend with the Midianites. And
it's all about prudence.
Anyone who's ever watched a boxing match
will notice that seldom do fighters actually swallow the water given
them in the corner, between rounds. There is a reason for this: if too
much water is swallowed, the fighter will suffer debilitating cramps or
become unnecessarily pervious to the pain caused by "body-shots" to his
midsection. Many of Gideon's army remaining after the fearful were sent
home were also winnowed out because they were not mindful of the
impending combat. Only those who "lapped with their hands to their
mouths" were deemed fit for battle because these men were thinking like
fighters; they were anticipating the martial challenges ahead of them.
These fighters were conscious of the terrible consequences of losing a
one-on-one to such a cruel enemy as a Midianite because of a body cramp.
situation faced by the State of Israel today is not so dissimilar to
that faced by the Jews of Gideon's generation. Today the State of Israel
is also confronted with an enemy who is quite willing to destroy her
completely. And today, as in Gideon's time, Israel's survival is impeded
by those who refuse to consider the religious voraciousness of her
enemies. The Midianites intended that whoever "aggrieved" Baal "should
die by morning." Many of Israel's Muslim enemies are of the same mind,
although some fools choose not to believe this.
Jews are continually threatened by a preponderant Islam whose Arab
adherents are "aggrieved" by the very existence of a sovereign Jewish
homeland in their midst. Compounding this obtrusive danger is the fact
that many of Israel's leadership, like the fearful and imprudent of
Gideon's generation, have wilfully ignored every indication of impending
military confrontation. They are afraid of sounding like "hawks" in
Western ears at a time when sounding like hawks in Middle Eastern ears
is not a bad idea. These are the politicians whose sycophantic rhetoric,
although pleasing to Western leaders, has done nothing but besmirch the
proud history of the Jewish people and belie the careful dedication of
the Israeli Defence Force to the survival of the Jewish people of Israel
in a predominantly Muslim (and therefore anti-Jewish) Middle East.
was the Oslo Accord but the abdication of Jewish pride and history in
return for a dangerous nothing. Arafat, the king of terrorists, had no
intention of recognizing the "right of the State of Israel to exist" nor
of renouncing terrorism. What was the "Disengagement Plan" but a
perfidy without precedent: Jewish families forced from their homes, not
by SS or Gestapo or European collaborators but by Jewish soldiers under
orders from Jewish leaders within the borders of a Jewish Israel at the
behest of a non-Jewish world.
"I am peace," wrote the Psalmist,
"but when I speak, they are for war." Times have not changed for Jews
living in the Middle East. There has never been a shortage of enemies
there for the Jewish people. But instead of dealing resolutely with
these enemies, Israel's leadership continues to plead with them and
bargain with them, as though they were somehow anything but implacable.
How much time is required for the Jewish leadership of Israel to fully
comprehend what it takes to conquer such an enemy? They are lapping like
dogs and kneeling on their knees when they should be envious of those
prospicient Jews who are spoiling for a fight. The men of Ephraim were
offended that Gideon had not summoned them to fight with him against the
Midianites. When was the last time an Israeli politician was offended
by not being summoned to fight an enemy of the Jewish people?
the non-Jewish world dictates to the Jews how Israel should pander to
their enemies, and Israel sheepishly obeys. Just as the Jews of Gideon's
day were fearful of offending the peoples of other gods, so Israel's
present leadership is afraid of offending the non-Jewish world. Today
Israel fights her enemies by cover of night, as though Jews should feel
ashamed of turning back her enemies from the gate. Gideon may have been
afraid of offending "his father's household," but he got the job done:
he broke the idols of Baal and cut down the Asherah-tree regardless.
and his 300 finally came out from under the cover of darkness and
conquered the Midianites. HaShem had told him to "go with this strength
of yours," and so he did. The Jews of Israel today need a leader with
this kind of personal strength. Is Mr. Netanyahu that kind of leader? I
don't know. But what I do know is that the equivilant of Gideon's 300
are residing somewhere in Israel today. All they need is a Gideon to
seek them out.