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The Emperor IS Naked

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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The battle frontlines have shifted inland. Instead of placating the enemy and bringing anticipated quiet and security, Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from Southern Lebanon and Gaza have brought deadly rockets on Ashkelon, Haifa and Safed.

In a summer Shabbat gathering in 1970, the Rebbe discussed the danger inherent in ceding land to sworn enemies, and warned against falling into the “cease-fire” trap—a ploy used by the enemy to regroup and rearm. The Rebbe broke down crying as he echoed the words of Isaiah:1 “Why have I come, yet there is no man? I have called, but there is no answer?”
The Rebbe’s call remained unheeded. No one wanted to “occupy” a strip of land which is inhabited by more than a million hostile citizens. The politicians intoxicated the Israeli populace with promises and visions of peace. After ceremoniously signing the Oslo Accords, Yitzchak Rabin proudly proclaimed that “no longer are we ‘a nation who dwells alone’”!

This dream was so hard to discard—especially when considering the alternative, which was the continuation of an indefinite occupation. Without a doubt, “Give peace a chance” is so much more alluring than “We must fight on!”

It would be wrong to harshly judge the Israelis for agreeing to these concessions and ceasefires, especially for those of us sitting in the Diaspora, who don’t send our children to patrol the alleyways of Gaza and the minefields of the Lebanese security buffer zone.

All the peace accords and “painful concessions” have not brought us one inch closer to peace. Instead, these moves have empowered and emboldened our enemies
But now the cover has been blown. The emperor is indeed naked. All the peace accords and “painful concessions” have not brought us one inch closer to peace. Instead, these moves have empowered and emboldened our enemies. Saying “We told you so” has never been more painful.

It is now clear that only two options exist: either we fight for our existence or we pack our bags and leave the Middle East. There is no other option. Our enemies won’t allow another option.

The battle will continue until Moshiach comes, but will drastically diminish once our enemies see our determination to tenaciously punish terror and never reward terror with concessions. When the futility of achieving any goals through terror becomes apparent, they will certainly meet us at the negotiating table—but on our terms.

As the situation slowly crystallizes, only one question remains: How many people will continue to insist that the emperor is clad in magnificent royal garb? How many will continue to extol the importance of ceding land to murderers whose stated goal is our utter annihilation?

I am not naïve enough to expect the politicians who brought this calamity upon Israel to impugn their “legacy of peace” by admitting that their policies were irresponsible and dangerous. I do hope, however, that current events will persuade the Israeli electorate to emphatically reject any and all future proposals for unilateral concessions.

We Americans also have our mission cut out for us. American public opinion plays a very large role in Middle Eastern politics. A body of voters united on an issue has a great effect on the legislative and executive branches.

It is our duty to put in a good word for Israel wherever possible, and contact our representatives to express our expectation that America stand firmly behind its only true ally in the Middle East.

Last but not least, “The voice is the voice of Jacob”:2 our prayers are our most potent weapon. Let us unite in prayer, and plead with G-d to protect our brave brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, and may He return with mercy the soldiers who are in captivity.

And may we soon see the fulfillment of the prophecy3 “I will provide peace in the Land, and you will sleep with nothing to frighten you,” with the coming of Moshiach. Now!


  • 1. 50:2.
  • 2. Genesis 27:22.
  • 3. Leviticus 26:6.


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(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
1. One of the greatest prophets, lived in the 7th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, containing the prophecies of Isaiah. The book is filled with prophecies concerning the Messianic redemption.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.