Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 10:00:29 -0500

From: mark rosenblit <>



To: Hon. Ehud Barak, Rosh Memshalah (Prime Minister) and Defense Minister of Israel

To: Dr. Ephraim Sneh, Deputy Defense Minister of Israel


Although I was born and raised in the United States, I am a frequent visitor to, and vocal supporter of, Israel. I am married with three boys, the oldest of whom will soon make aliyah and directly enter the Israeli army (despite the fact that many who now consider active duty to be freier's (sucker's) work have instead urged him to first complete college and thereby avoid active service). In light of the ongoing fiasco in South Lebanon, I felt compelled to put my thoughts into the form of an essay. I hope that you will find time to read it and consider its message.

Thank you in advance for your time.


Mark S. Rosenblit




God Himself warns the Jewish people: "You shall not present any of your children to pass through [the wall of fire] for Moloch, and do not profane the Name of your God -- I am HaShem" (Lev. 18:21). In obeisance to Moloch, the deity of the ancient Ammonites, parents (regrettably including Jews, even Jewish kings) would force their own children to pass through a wall of fire, often resulting in their painful deaths (see 2 Kings 17:17 and 2 Kings 21:6). Since sacrificing the life of one's child to appease a false god -- or a false ideology -- creates a Chillul HaShem (desecration of God's Name), the Torah's prohibition against profaning God's Name directly follows its reference to the worship of Moloch.

Unfortunately, in our confused times, the Jewish people have once again returned to the worship of Moloch by permitting their children to pass through that wall of fire in South Lebanon woefully misnamed the "Security Zone". Due to the government's fear of the World's predictable reaction should it allow the IDF to finally treat the 52 year old conflict with Syria and its Lebanese appendage as an existential war -- to be fought according to true military prerogatives rather than untenable political restrictions -- our children are forced to dwell within a compact "Killing Zone". Every day our children are subject to bombs hidden in barely detectable fiber glass boulders along well-traveled convoy routes and/or to TOW anti-tank missiles which smash right through our stationary fortifications. The body count increases owing to our enemies' cynical use of sympathetic villages north of the Zone as their sources of fire (-- our adversaries know that the Israeli government is loathe to risk killing these "noncombatants" --) and also owing to the widespread collaboration by residents of the Zone with our adversaries (-- this deadly phenomenon was created by our leaders' own incessant public pronouncements over the years extolling the holy grail of leaving the Zone, with the unstated corollary that our former militia allies would be left to the mercy of Syria and its vassals --).

Although Syria's long range goal is to defeat Israel and absorb it (as it has absorbed Lebanon) into a Greater Syria, in the short term it will settle for killing Jews within range of its guns -- through its proxy Hizbullah -- in continuation of the war of attrition that it waged against northern Israel from the Golan Heights from 1949 to 1967. While the Zone was created precisely to protect these same Jewish communities from another war of attrition, all we have done is to offer up our children to Syria as a sacrificial substitute for our northern communities. Apparently, we -- like the ancient Ammonites -- have convinced ourselves that if only we pass our children through the fire, then Moloch will spare us his fury. And, in point of fact, it matters little to Syria whether it sheds Jewish blood in the Zone or in the Upper Galilee, because a successful war of attrition results in either case. But it should matter to us that, lo these many years, we have entered into a political compact with Syria which legitimizes -- de facto, if not de jure -- the killing of our children in the Zone.

Our Sages clearly foresaw this time period. As they wisely counseled (in Tanchuma, Shoftim 15) "'When you go forth to battle against your enemies ...' (Deut. 20:1). What is meant by 'against your enemies'? God said, 'Confront them as Enemies. Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them any mercy.'"

If our leadership would permanently unshackle the IDF and thereby stop feeding our children to Syria in a futile attempt to avoid a war that is already upon us, the Killing Zone would indeed become a Security Zone, and we would transform a Chillul HaShem (desecration of God's Name) into a Kiddush HaShem (sanctification of God's Name).

The choice is in our hands. However, if our leadership does not have sufficient Yirat Elohim (fear of God) to confront our enemies as Enemies from inside the Zone, then it is better to cease feeding Moloch -- and the Chillul HaShem it causes -- by withdrawing from South Lebanon immediately. But even this will be no real solution if, even after withdrawal, the IDF is still not permitted to confront our enemies as Enemies from outside the Zone. We will merely be trading one Chillul HaShem for another, even greater, Chillul HaShem.

I have a son who will soon make aliyah and join the IDF. I am not a pacifist. I have taught my son (and his two younger brothers) that it is a great mitzvah and a Kiddush HaShem to defend the borders and people of Israel (even at the cost of his life, God forbid), and especially to place the safety of Jewish soldiers and citizenry above those of our adversaries -- and certainly above the criticisms and reactions of the nations. I have also instructed him, however, that until the government conducts itself in accordance with this self-evident proposition -- namely, that we are required to treat our enemies as Enemies -- he is to sit in jail rather than to sacrifice himself to Moloch.

Mark Rosenblit


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