הרב שמואל אליהו

This wasn't God, this was us

ז' חשון התשפ"ד(22/10/2023)
זמן קריאה: 15 דקות


Many questions have been asked following the current war in Israel. Itamar segal, Olam Katan reporter interviewed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in Hebrew, here is the full interview

These days Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is visiting the soldiers, the civilians and the decision makers in order to encourage them and strengthen the spirit. We spoke with him about the lies that caused the massacre and about the great awakening that needs to be cultivated.

The interview was published in the 2024 issue of Parashat Noah of the weekly bulletin Olam Katan.

Itamar Segal

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu recognized the magnitude of the event on Shabbat Simchat Torah, and already at 10:30 am he issued a widely distributed message calling for people to carry cellphones and weapons due to the concern that the incidents would spread throughout the country, Judea and Samaria, the mixed cities and the north. "We are currently engaged in a great battle… This is life threatening in every respect," the  message stated.

"There is no doubt that there was a great disgrace here, very great." the Rabbi says in a conversation we held with him this week, about a week and a half after the outbreak of the war that surprised us all on the morning of Simchat Torah. "It's a disgrace that began in Oslo and then in the Disengagement Plan, because there was a concept here that if we pet the snake, it will turn into an innocent sheep.

"For thirty years we've been thinking that this method will work, and every time it backfires and explodes in our faces. This was the case in Oslo, buses exploded here, and we refused to admit that this is what is happening. This was the case with the Disengagement, we thought that "the Singapore of the Middle East" would be established in Gaza, because that's what all the false prophets – headed by Shimon Peres – said, and the entire press applauded. This was also the case in Operation Guardian of the Walls: they began blaming the Torah communities (in the mixed cities) instead of facing the truth.

"The media and the judicial systems, the policymakers in the government and in the IDF, they all piled one lie on top of another, and all of the lies shattered on the quay of reality on Simchat Torah."

How can this blindness be explained?

"This is exactly what we read in the haftarah of last Shabbat, Shabbat Bereishit. The haftarah speaks of blind people who have eyes but see nothing. "Listen, you who are deaf, you blind ones, look up and see!. Who is so blind as My servant, as deaf as the messenger I send? Who is as blind as the chosen one, as blind as God's servant?" [Isaiah 42,18-19]  The reality was written on the wall in huge print, but they didn't want to open their eyes. It started on the first day of Oslo, we all remember that. But all of the Oslo leaders said: There are the extremists on both sides, these are victims of peace. I do not understand how a thinking person can circulate such slogans.

"For thirty years they've been trying to change reality, and of course it's not working. When you pet the snake, it bites. How much more blood needs to be spilled before people realize that the snake is really a snake? They believed that petting will turn him into a sheep because it is a pleasant illusion, like all of the false prophets who we know from the Bible. Instead of striving and sweating, they offer the easy way, pleasant and simple, which is more tempting than strife and sweat. People believed, because these false prophecies were spoken by people with honorable titles, which tempts people to believe them. We naturally tend to go with the easy solution, and in the end we paid a steep price."

1,300 Jews were murdered in one day. It seems much bigger than the shattering of a security concept. Can this be seen as a divine message? 

"I think it's a big mistake to attribute something here to God," the Rabbi surprises us. "It's a fallacy of faith. There is a verse which says, "A man's folly undermines his way, and his heart rages against the Lord" [Mishle 19, 3]. The brothers sold Joseph, and then said in wonder: 'What has God done to us?' [Bereishit 42, 28]. You brought the tragedy upon yourselves; Why are you blaming God?

"We gave them weapons and the Gaza strip, we gave them independence and nurtured the snakes, now we are surprised that they bite. Who has the audacity to approach God with any complaints? After all, everything was written in advance in the Torah: 'They shall not remain in your land,' [Shemot 23, 33] ,' But if you do not disposses the inhabitants of the land, those whom you allow to remain shall be stings in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land in which you live" [Bamidbar 33, 58]   Everything is written explicitly! The Torah told us what would happen, why do you have complaints to God?

"In my opinion we had an unbelievable miracle this week! If not for our heroic soldiers, who fought with self-sacrifice to stop the massacre that took place there on Simchat Torah, there would have been more than 1,300. Many thousands or tens of thousands. Had they not stopped the massacre there, it would have flared up in seconds on the northern border. They (Hizbulla) would have seen the tremendous success of Hamas and would not have sat quietly.

"The same thing would have happened in the Galilee, Lod and Acre, they wouldn't sit still. Why shouldn't they slaughter and rape? Who would stop them? The massacre in the south was stopped by heroic soldiers and civilians who risked themselves, dozens and hundreds, and some of them paid with their lives. These heroes stopped the conflagration of the whole country.

"The danger still exists! The incidents in Judea and Samaria have risen to a mad level, on the northern border also,  because they also want their share of the cake. But it didn't reach the point of conflagration like in the south.

"Fortunately, the people of Israel woke up and realized that these were people who are worse than the Nazis, even though this was known to everyone. We knew this after the lynching in Ramallah, after what they did to the Fogel family, after they smashed the heads of children in the pogroms of 1929. We always knew that, nothing was new. Syrian soldiers beheaded soldiers in the Golan Heights. We knew very well what would happen if they had the power to act.

"We told ourselves fairy tales even though the truth was written on the wall. Anyone who signed the Oslo Accords or supported the Disengagement must repent greatly. The concept of Oslo and the Disengagement still dominates the Army's code of ethics, and so the head of Military Intelligence stood a few weeks ago and said that Hamas would not attack us. He was sure that what would stop the disaster was the granting of work permits to Arabs to work in Israel."

Between Light and Darkness

"Hamas gave this operation the name 'Al-Aqsa Flood,'" the Rabbi recalls. "They say it's a war for Al-Aqsa. As far as they were concerned, every neck they slashed, they saw it as a war for Al-Aqsa, and every person they burned alive or girl they raped, that's how they defend Al-Aqsa. The temple they work for is a temple built on throat slitting. We have to choose which temple we want, which will light the way of the world: a temple of Hizbullah, ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hamas or a temple of the God of Israel.

"The test here is not just an event in the south," the Rabbi continues. "It could flare up into an Islamic Jihad event, and Biden also understands that if these matters catch fire, European Arabs will slaughter babies in Europe, and then the Arabs of the United States will take out their machine guns, start spraying bullets and kill dozens every day.

"That's why Biden gave such a pro-Israel speech. Suddenly he realized that the soldiers at the front of the world war between light and darkness are IDF soldiers on the southern border, which is why he brought, for the first time, his two largest aircraft carriers here. This is not out of love for Israel, but because they absolutely fear that within hours such an event can spiral out of control and the entire j'annah of Islam will be put into actual practice. Who will stop them from raping and slaughtering? What morality will inhibit them? After all, Islam sees these actions as the key to merit paradise."

How should the whole issue of captives and the missing persons be addressed?

"I think that all their families should demonstrate in front of all the decision makers, so that they will not turn back on the water or anything else to the Gazans, throttle them until they return the captives. Turn off the faucet until everyone gets home!"

Even at the cost of severely harming uninvolved civilians?

"If you don't put pressure on the neck artery, they won't return the captives. Shut off all of the taps, let the Egyptians or Persians give them water.

"The people of Israel are at the forefront of the global struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between abomination and holiness. This is the reality. The enemy sanctifies rape, bloodshed, cruelty and torture. They sanctify all the abominations which God hates, Sodom and Gomorrah. Gaza is the most Sodom and Gomorrah there is in the whole world, and if we do not stop their abominations, they will spread all over the world just as Nazi ideology took over the world. When the world realized that the whole world was in danger of destruction, it rose up and destroyed  the Nazi ideology. The same thing is happening on a small scale here, and tomorrow it could grow much  bigger."

The Rabbi concludes optimistically : "There is no doubt that what brought about this war is the great controversy that has raged in this country for many months. Our enemies thought that we were divided and weak, and we really were. But the people of Israel gathered strength, threw all the disputes into the garbage can and began to win. There are no objectors, there is 135% recruitment. When there is unity, we defeat them, and if we persist in this, we will win in the end."