Meir Ettinger is much more than the latest Jewish “terrorist” and prime target of the Israeli authorities. He is more than just the grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane. He is a humble Torah scholar in his own right, and at just 23 years old, has been the unofficial leader of the hilltop youth for several years now. Besides his activism on behalf of Jewish settlement, his sharp pen cuts to the core of the conflictbetween a Jewish state and what he sees as a Hellenist, secular one.

When someone is termed a “Jewish terrorist”, that should ring a bell in our minds.  Yair Stern and David Raziel, leaders of the legendary Jewish undergrounds in Israel’s pre-state days, were also called hooligans and terrorists by the same Jewish establishment. When Jewish blood was being spilled by Arabs in the 20’s and 30’s, they bombed Arab marketplaces, killing Arabs, and thereby breaking the “havlaga” (self-restraint) policy of the Jewish leadership when Israel was under British rule.

Today, they are considered Jewish heroes.  It is only through the reflection of history where one can gauge the true perspective of the daily events that occur. Ben Hecht once said: “Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.”  History will judge these young men, and not the hysterical headlines of cheap tabloids or sound bytes of cheap politicians.

People like Meir Ettinger have come to the conclusion that if we continue down the same path we have been heading, there is no future for the state of Israel. They feel that if we want a true Jewish state, it’s just not happening through the Knesset. Can you imagine a Knesset vote to build the Beit HaMikdash, to vanquish the Arab enemy, to establish Jewish education in all the schools? Let’s face it, they say: this country is going in the opposite direction, and it doesn’t matter how many MK”s are wearing yarmulkes. It’s pretty obvious that the Knesset is not the mechanism that will bring the blessed change they yearn for.

And here, it’s proper to mention Meir’s grandfather, Rabbi Meir Kahane. He tried, through the existing mechanism, to become a leader of Israel through democratic means, and might have succeeded if he weren’t banned from running in the elections of 1988. Let us never forget how hundreds of thousands of Israelis were disenfranchised by that shocking Knesset vote which was upheld by the Supreme Court – for it exposed the bluff of Israeli democracy and also represented the last chance of trying to effect change in this country through the vehicle of the Knesset to those who supported him.

And so, what are we supposed to do? Continue to vote every few years in this sham of “right wing” vs “left wing” election as the country – in our view – just deteriorates? Can you blame idealistic Jewish youth, who take Judaism seriously (unlike many of their elders), and sincerely believe it is our duty to build an authentic Jewish state (with all the ramifications of what that means) for wanting to rebel? This, of course, does not excuse taking the law into their own hands, or committing acts of violence, but that has not yet been shown to be attributable to them.

Still, being called “Jewish terrorists” puts these youths in pretty good company. It’s true that in the days of David Raziel and Yair Stern (Irgun and Lechi) we were under the British mandate. But there was also the Jewish establishment (the “yishuv”) back then, which sided with the British and created the policy of “havlaga”.

Yes, we have the IDF today, thank G-d, but what can one do when their hands are tied and Jewish blood is still cheap?

I would suggest, that instead of only expressing shock and dismay over Meir Ettinger, instead of the recent violence, we start to read what he has to say. He may be right.

By Lenny Goldberg

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