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  Dr. Israel Eldad

Principles for a Hebrew Liberation Movement
by Dr. Eldad

Transcripts of Dr. Israel Eldad on IDF Radio

Excerpts from Dr. Israel Eldad's Op-Ed Column

Collection from Zote Ha'aretz
by Dr. Eldad

Memorial for Fighters for the Freedom of Israel
by Dr. Eldad

What We Need Is A King
by Dr. Eldad

You Should Be Ashamed!
by Dr. Eldad

Jabotinsky Distorted
by Dr. Eldad

The Fifth of Iyar
by Dr. Eldad

Temple Mount in Ruins
by Dr. Eldad

Jerusalem: The City of Faith
by Dr. Eldad

The Challenge of Jerusalem
by Dr. Eldad

Between Giving the Torah and Receiving It
by Dr. Eldad

The Jewish Defense League of Shushan Habira
by Dr. Eldad

An Open and Distressed Letter to Menachem Begin
by Dr. Eldad

Elnakam: Story of a Fighter for the Freedom of Israel
by Dr. Eldad

The Israel Restraint Forces
by Dr. Eldad

The Real-Politik of Our Sages
by Dr. Eldad

Jerusalem: A Burning Issue Trial of Faith
by Dr. Eldad

A New Type of Jew
by Dr. Eldad

Foundation Stones
by Dr. Eldad

Dr. Eldad & the Supreme Court of Israel
Selected Judgments

Biography: Dr. Israel Eldad
by Chaim Yerushalmi

    The Israel Restraint Forces
by Dr. Israel Eldad
Sulam #19 (1951) - Abridged, free translation
When the state was established people argued about what to name the army; it was more than just wordplay [.…] Some of those who argued, evenPalmach . . . . . justified the addition of the word "Defense" to Israel Defense Forces based only on sentimentality, in order to memorialize the Hagana ("Defense") militia [….]

At first, while our spirits were soaring in those heady days, it seemed as if the emotional ties to the name Hagana were superficial. Once the news reports began announcing the cities captured: Lod…Ramle…Beersheba…no one remembered that the foreign term "defense" had been appended to the ancient Hebrew concept of the Army of Israel.
Palmach To be precise: The concept of defense as a means of war does not appear once in ancient Hebrew sources. One can of course argue that many technical terms are absent from our ancient military handbook. Obviously tanks aren’t mentioned. But basic military concepts haven’t changed, just as the basic laws of war haven’t changed, and the proof of this is the number of lessons we can still learn from the wars fought by David or the Hasmoneans. Perhaps someone will argue that words and language do not stem from or reflect worldviews and ideas, but they are children of necessity; yet it would be foolish to claim that there was no need for "defense" in the past [….] Nonetheless, it has only now become a military doctrine.

It may be worth mentioning that insofar as reference was made in the ancient past to defense and protection, they were to be supplied by G-d. He is the Defender of Israel. The people strike, fight, or pursue. It was never written: They protected themselves.

It is no accident that today, it is the same generation  - and in some cases the same people - who foisted upon us the concept of defense as a military strategy, who also created the concept of Torat ha’avoda (the Torah, or teaching, or theory of labor): Labor was presented not as a necessity, not "with the sweat of your brow will you eat bread" as a punishment, not "he who works his land will eat bread" as realism or good advice, but labor became an ideal. These two false teachings, the Torah of defense and the Torah of labor ? were obstacles in the path of Hebrew freedom, they blocked the path of those who fought for freedom, and they closed other people’s eyes towards reality. This reality beat again and again against the ideology of defense and today it is beating even harder, it strikes with economic laws and psychological truths, against the Don Quixotes of Torat ha’avoda . If one day in the future we are actually defended as we should be, it will be despite and not because of the philosophy of defense, and if one day we are a productive and creative people, it will be despite the priests and teachings of Labor.

Now let us return to the addition of the word "Defense" to the Israel Forces [….]

There was once a debate between the Hagana members and the followers of Jabotinsky about the "morality" of shedding blood. In truth, however, only a small number of people in the Hagana took their own argument seriously, and even they talked about the "purity" of weapons only because they had a tendency to idealize and they were inherently hypocritical. In actuality the real debate was: whether to preserve the status quo within the boundaries of laws set by foreigners for them, or to go beyond the status quo and the laws imposed from outside.

Israel Defense Forces In any case, for the worshipers defense, the word "conquest" was used only in reference to labor or to swamps purchased with money, and was never juxtaposed with territory or power. In their lingo, swamps were conquered, or one conquered an open job [….]

Over the years, the essential military and political purpose stayed the same: defending the status quo within the limits of laws imposed from outside. Land was not viewed as an object for liberation, and invaders were not occupiers of the homeland;  rather, these invaders were "poor unfortunates." Had the invaders in the past stopped at the state’s borders, none of our guns would have fired. On the other hand, when forces ventured beyond the existing borders, it was only out of defensive necessity. This itself was not an innovation: even in late 1938 the Hagana began coming out of the bunkers in the kibbutzim and going on attacks into enemy territory to strike at the Arab gangs (this was after Wingate revolutionized Hagana tactics). These defensive incursions are similar to what is done in different uniforms and on a different scale by the Israel Defense Forces [….]

When Israel avoided crossing into Abdullah’s territory [Jordan], and agreed to withdraw from Egypt as soon as it was ordered to do so, and then to obey a cease-fire, the Israeli leaders who agreed to these steps did not only show stupidity and cowardice, but they showed that their essential character trait is obedience [….]

The question is that was posed then and is being posed now is: "Will Israel have an army or a Hagana that wears different uniforms and is bigger?"

[…] The British didn’t accept the UN decision for partition and the Arabs didn’t accept it. The UN decision existed only on paper…In reality, on the ground, it didn’t exist. Note well: the leaders of Zionism in the past, like the government today, never looked at reality, they always looked at pieces of paper (the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations’ Mandate, and so forth). Therefore they didn’t see that in reality, in  political and military terms, the country was open territory. These leaders sat holding UN’s fictitious map and they trembled: Will we be attacked or not? […] They waited for the holy date May 15 and waited for an invasion. If the Hagana was changed at all, it was the enemy that transformed it into an army, because the enemy came in tanks rather than in mobs or gangs. But the transformation was skin deep.

Only an army that isn’t an army but a "Hagana" in military uniforms will forego a strategic move on Ramallah and Shchem and El Arish and Beirut. The only justification for a real army not to undertake such necessary strategic moves, is if it doesn’t have the military strength to do it. (It goes without saying that from a national perspective, the Jewish relation to Shchem […] means that it wouldn’t just be a necessary strategic conquest for the security of the state, but the liberation of parts of the homeland.

If in the past we made concessions, and if we refrained from advancing because of an order to cease fire, this proves the army wasn’t an army and the war wasn’t a war of liberation, but rather a defense with all that means.

If this wasn’t abundantly clear, or if someone wishes to believe it was true only at the start, let us call as witnesses the current security situation, and the blood, and the absurdity.
Only someone who is able to view the state as it really is - as a new framework to hold the old Zionist institutions for aliya and settlement, though on a wider scale - instead of buying the story that the state is what some people want to believe, the freedom of Israel?

Only someone who can distinguish between real qualitative transformations and mere quantitative changes?

Only someone who can see in hundreds or thousands of day-to-day occurrences the continuation of the pre-state period, with the leadership’s running to London to lobby and plead, and with our dependence on funds and donations from outside, then only he will understand what I mean when I say that from a security point of view we are now at the start of the Arab pogroms of 1936-1939.

Again: Don’t be fooled by the uniforms, the state, the army and borders. Of course these exist but they add only shame, for the essence has remained as it was.

Just like the Hagana is now called an army, we now call the Arab gangs of the past infiltrators.
Remove the change in names and the technical advances, and nothing has changed.

The initiative belongs to the gangs, of course. And what is surprising isn’t that they are operating within the state. The surprise is that they aren’t yet operating at the level they can. Apparently, the reason for this is not their inability. For who today can prevent an Arab gang member (with or without an Israeli identity card) from putting a suitcase full of explosives in Jewish centers? If someone doesn’t do so it isn’t because he is bound by the dictates of good citizenship, but rather: He hasn’t gotten an order to do so yet [….]

Yet there are still newspapers that publish reports of thieves and robbers and murderers as if they were writing of new immigrants from France or England, as if the newspaper editors and Intelligence offices didn’t know that Arab gangs robbed all along and all Arab thieves, even the most professional, are always national heroes. Other commentators try to lie to their readers by talking about supposed internal Arab dissension behind the attacks of infiltrators. This while Arab public opinion in its entirely admires the gang members and helps them in all their attacks on Jews. It was that way before their past defeats and it certainly is now.

In the same vein, only fools can talk of the need to differentiate between loyal Arab citizens who are peace seekers, and gang members. I repeat: only fools. For there is not one Arab on the right or left who doesn’t have within him the desire for revenge in addition to the desire for power and the desire to murder and steal from us. They wanted to steal and murder even before they wanted revenge. Certainly they want to do so more now than when they murdered in Hebron in 1929 or during 1936-1939.

But the similarity of the past to the present goes deeper: Our previous restraint is alive and well in all its details.

Details such as: 
1. Before acting we first seek the representatives of the UN to submit a strong protest (then, in the past, it was to the Chief Secretary or High Commissioner).
2. Then we move to clean up a particular area (as in the days of Wingate).
3. We search for those actually responsible.
4. (This is the most similar) The articles in the press, are word for word copies of what appeared then: "How long?" "We won’t stand for this!" "The criminal hand will be cut off!" "End the provocations!" etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile they are killing us, our citizens and soldiers, with guns and knives and mines [….]

A day after the mine in Bet Jubrin, a day later, we renewed the Israeli-Jordanian Committee talks at Abdullah’s suggestion. Once again they’ll talk about the Latrun Road, electricity for the Old City, water. Between meetings they’ll submit protests and then decide to renew joint patrols….

If there is any change from the days of the old restraint, it is to our detriment today, and to our shame. In the past we at least had a scapegoat: the British rule here. Today we have a state and an army, and Arab gangs are murdering on the roads and in towns just as they did before we had a state and an army.

So we see the discussion of what to name our army wasn’t just over words: The Israel Defense Forces.

For no other army in the world would let its borders be open to the enemy only. An army that protects borders, that protects honor, whose job is to give security to citizens, this army is obligated even without orders to act as the enemy acts: as if the borders don’t exist. This would be true even if there were logic to the borders, even if we weren’t dealing with arbitrarily drawn lines.

But if these are the Israel Defense Forces, and if those who give it orders are those who gave orders to the Hagana and those who have sanctified "restraint" for decades already, then there is no doubt: The restraint in all its forms and justifications and political explanations are alive and well.

See the dead, see the shame, see the proof: There has been no change in the mindset, in the soul, in the concepts.

Size and uniforms are not enough to turn a "Yishuv" into a state, nor a "Hagana" into an army.