American president Donald Trump has stumped me again. Who is this politician who time after time makes me jump for joy and leaves me giddy? Moreover, who am I that I should react that way?
There was a time when Israeli politicians disappointed me, to the extent that I ceased being disappointed. I refused to be a battered wife; no more false hopes, no more excuses. American politicians never even made it that far — we never even dated.
As a youth, I learned from my rabbi that politicians don't have friends or sympathies, they have interests. If letting the Germans occupy themselves with murdering millions of Jews rather than using their resources to fight the allies, why interrupt them? I also learned from him that “Never Again” doesn't mean that it will not happen again, but rather that Jews will not behave as they did again.
So how does a Jew react to Trump's "Deal of the Century?"
Trump's plan is being proclaimed as the best deal possible, it gives us just about everything we could hope for, it unties our hands and puts the Arabs into the position that they have to go back to being Arabs and stop being "Palestinians." This is the windfall. The Palestinian movement that has been accurately described as a genocidal weapon masquerading as a nationality, created to destroy Israel's legitimacy, is required to delete its own murderous identity.
Trump has recognized all of Israel's legitimate concerns and called the Palestinian bluff. For them to receive a state, they must forgo the reason they were concocted in the first place and maintain that status for four years to even get to “Go.” A hyena that agrees to become a clawless, toothless vegetarian is no longer a hyena.
In short, they must cease the masquerade — and they are incapable of doing this. They are not like the Germans who built an Aryan myth about themselves and then underwent de-nazification. The Arabs of the Land of Israel have no pre-1964 (the year Palestinians were proclaimed by the Egyptian Arafat) history to revert back to. The windfall here is that Israel has rights but the Arabs have obligations — the exact opposite to the basis of every proposal before.
As Jews, who have the sole claim to this land, how do we react to “Let's Make a Deal?” Do we answer that we are the Jews: the rightful owners of this land and we make no compromises over our inheritance? That is the people we strive to be.
I long to leave the embarrassing concessions of the past in the past. In 1947, the yishuv (the Jews of the Land of Israel) faced just such a conundrum with the Partition Plan. They opted for the untenable, undefendable and unjust beachhead allotted them, whereas the Arabs said, “All or nothing at all,” and G-d did us well. In 1967, Israel decided only to engage the Egyptian and Syrian threats while begging King Hussein of Jordan not to enter the fray and it is only because he did that we also liberated Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Again we had more heavenly intervention than fortitude. Even Jacob did not meet Esav as Israel, he met him as Jacob; he bowed to him. He did not confront him as someone who carried a promise from G-d in his shirt pocket.
Today, out of nowhere has arisen an American president who knew not Jacob. It is as if we are being compensated for Pharaoh, with G-d guiding Trump's heart, step by step. He respects us as Israel, our namesake as well as our State.
I wish the process were different, but I am reveling in this; I am dizzy with what I see as another gift from heaven. I am also humbled that once again this is something more bestowed rather than something earned.
The author moved to Israel in the 70’s, making aliyah from New York. After serving in an armed infantry unit in the IDF, he lived in Gush Katif for 23 years until its destruction. Married with four children and 11 grandchildren, he works as an ESL teacher and is writing a memoir of his life. This article appeared previously on the author’s blog. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.