17 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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Straight Talk    

Straight Talk

This is a commonplace discussion taking place on private message boards; Arabs and Israelis, Iranians and Israelis, are all talking face to face with one another…


"I can't believe you Ahmed. How can you justify the killing of innocent people? Even in war there are rules."


"You've got to be kidding. You and your people occupy our land so we are justified in doing as we please."


"Your Land? Never. From the Nile to the Euphrates it's ours. It will forever be ours. You can squat on it all you like, but the time will come."


"We will be waiting for that moment with a sword in every hand."


"Fine. By the way, how are things with you and Ammara?"


"She's well. It's been a week since she got the flu, but she's up and about now. I can't wait for our summer vacation. I am going to ask her to marry me."


"That's great Ahmed. You always wanted a fall wedding."




"I will send you a wedding gift."


"You Zionist swine! If I get anything from your country I will smash it. I will burn it. I will spread the ashes and dance on them."


"Relax. It will come from my mother in law. The return address will say New York City."


"Thank you my honorable adversary."


This is a commonplace discussion taking place on private message boards throughout the Middle East. Arabs and Israelis, Iranians and Israelis, are all talking face to face with one another.


My wife is a very passionate Zionist. She has on her wall a picture of the Third Temple right where the Al-Aqsa mosque used to be! For this, hundreds of people offered to "friend" her in just to salute her holy boldness. She even got an email from a Palestinian living in North America asking, “When did Al-Aksa fall?”


Then came the shock. A good 10% of her friends are Arabs, Iranians, and Muslims. Most of them are equally as passionate about their faith, their history, and their perspective on the Palestinian People.


Living in a "settlement" in Gush Etzion for 6 years, you don't have to guess our perspective. But when Arabs and Iranians approach us directly, the question is: How polite should we be?


My wife never holds back. She tells Arabs about our ancient and eternal connection to the Land of our forefathers and G-d willing, our great great-grandchildren. She shows pictures of the Jordan Valley, illustrating in full detail how the same set of mountains is green and lush on the Israeli side but wasted and barren on the Arab side just hundreds of meters away.


She is never polite. She will make her case and enjoy destroying their argument. Sometimes things get so heated words are shared that would offend just about anyone.


But they keep coming back. Very few, if any of them unfriend us. They live for the bluntness. They respect a straightforward conversation. They are looking for Jews who represent everything that stirs their passions and live for the direct engagement. So do we.




We discovered that with honesty comes respect. Sure, for the things we proudly say there are those who call us "racist," "narrow-minded," “terrorist,” and a four letter term that begins with the letter “n”. So what? You can't fight if one side is queasy about throwing a punch.


We learn in Chovos Halevavos not to be afraid of anything. Nobody in this world can hurt us. If we need to be taught a lesson for our own good, it comes from Hashem, and only Hashem. He sends us the brute who insults us when we are taking out the garbage. He sends us the tax agent who flags us for a ridiculous regulations violation when in reality we failed to give enough to charity.


Why should we ever hold back in this world when we are obligated to pursue life with everything we’ve got? Why should we be embarrassed to be straight talkers? "Straight" and "truth" are opposites of "crooked". We don't have to be diplomats.


It won’t be the diplomats who make peace in the Middle East. It won’t be the ones who choose protocol over bluntness that end the bloodshed. It will be the honest ones that will shake hands over the final agreements. Even today the most influential players in Israel, on both sides, are the ones that believe in what they believe, refuse to bend, but understand that they have to deal with the “enemy” in order to live.


It’s very complicated, but here it’s routine.


My wife is stronger than me. I play it safe. I watch my words at the office. I probably hold back a little bit in my writing. She knows people from places I can only hear about when she decides to tell me. She experiences unique perspectives on things that you cannot get in any newspaper, but only on the other side of candidness.


She has faith that there is nothing wrong with telling the world exactly what Hashem has planned for us. She concerns herself with only the feedback of Hashem, and nobody else. That faith is sensed by everybody around her, and all sides want to be a part of it.


From our worst enemies to our best friends, this is what the world is waiting for from the Jewish People.

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
shea2/4/2016 8:11:43 PM
  "Greater Israel"
D Cripps2/1/2016 10:23:30 PM

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