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WAR OR PRAYER?
A weekly column tying current events into the Torah portion

by Joseph Cox
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer

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With the golden calf, God decides to destroy the Jewish people and make a new nation from Moses alone. Why? Because they have disobeyed his orders and because they are a stiff necked people. Moses stops God by arguing that it would look bad to destroy the Jewish people and that such destruction would violate the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

So what happens? Well, Moses kills a few thousand head idol worshipers, goes up and gets the Torah again, and then begins to teach the Jewish people the proper path. Moses devises a plan to save the Jewish people from their own stiff-necked nature. The plan has multiple parts - killing, teaching and praying. Moses, by combining many elements, finds a solution.

Today, we are facing a problem similar to the problem faced at the golden calf. We are dealing with another stiff-necked people, the Palestinians. They aren't disobeying our orders, they are simply trying to eliminate us. The question is, how do we react?

Many people have wanted war. Others have advised prayer and repentance as the only solution. Both of these solutions are incomplete. We are here for a reason and it is only partly to pray to God and kill our most resolute enemies. Fundamentally, we are here to improve and teach the world.

So do we kill or do we pray? Well, we do both. But we must also educate and integrate. We must teach the mass of the Palestinian people not to want to kill us.

The answer to the current dilemma lays in the success of Hezbullah and Hamas. These organizations are so effective because they deliver their message in a tremendously clever way. They run schools and hospitals and relief societies. Because of their programs, their message of hate is willingly accepted by some and willfully overlooked by others. As time passes, children are raised in a system of hate, programmed with blinders that teach them that their own death is preferable to their enemies' life.

How can you counteract this? Well, Israel can run schools, run hospitals and run relief societies. In the schools, Israeli teachers can teach math, physics, economics, and other topics. Through these schools they can teach an important lesson - that Jews don't exist to kill Arabs. Should these lessons be taught in communist style political classrooms? Not at all, all Israel must do is have Jews and Arabs share a classroom. In a generation, through education, we can cut the leaders of hatred off from the Palestinian people.

What else do we do? Well, we entitle the Palestinian people. We grant them title to their property and businesses, enabling them to get bank loans and to leverage their assets to improve their own lives. With a vested interest in the existing property system, Palestinians of all ages will be less likely to embrace dictatorial Marxist Arab leaders like Arafat or dictatorial oligarchies like the House of Saud. They will be living in a better system and they will support that system because of it.

We should immediately reoccupy Judea and Samaria. The current attacks are unacceptable (per capita 10 times as many Israelis have been killed in the current intifada than Americans were killed on Sept 11). Second, we should imprison terrorist leaders including Arafat. Third, we should create a social network and a strong system of titling and private property. Fourth, we should create mandatory schools where Israeli teachers teach the three Rs and show by action that they aren't out to kill the Palestinian people. Finally, we should phase in citizenship for Judea and Samaria Arabs. In 30 years, these Palestinians should be made full-citizens - citizens of Israel with a right to buy property and run businesses within the country. If Jews are afraid of being outnumbered in a democratic system, then they should have more children.

In 30 years, through this peace process, Arab terror can be erased and replaced by a flourishing Jewish and Arab - Israeli - society.

We aren't here just to kill or to pray. We are here to improve the world. This is a golden opportunity to do just that.

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Joseph Cox, a close friend of the Torah from Dixie family, is the founder of givedaily.org. He writes a weekly column tying current events into the Torah portion.

You are invited to read more Parshat Ki Tissa articles.

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