"And what is your solution?" the leftist asked me.
"I don't have one," I answered.
"You don't have one?"
"I do not have a solution for your problem, but I do have a solution for mine."
When we outline a political program, we must first of all honestly define what the program is supposed to achieve. In other words, how do we understand the strategic objectives of the State of Israel? Current Israeli consciousness dictates that the most important objective is peace. Both Right and Left claim that peace is their desire and that their program will bring the longed-for peace more efficiently.
But both sides are not telling the entire truth. For the Left, peace is a means to an end; the achievement of "normalcy." For the faith-based public, peace is a result and not an objective. It is the result of the achievement of the Jewish goals that our ancestors dreamed of.
Strange as it may sound, the National Camp has never clearly defined its strategic objectives. As a result, it never managed to present a political program and to stand behind it. If you do not define where you want to go, you will never be able to explain how to get there.
The definition of the strategic objective is not the definition of the borders of Israel or the status of the Arabs. That is part of the program. The definition of the strategic objective does not answer the question, "How should we conduct ourselves here in Israel," but rather, "Why do we have to be in Israel?"
The Left answers: So that we can be like the rest of the nations of the world.
The faith-based public says: So that we can be holistic Jews.
The truth is that the faith-based public does not dare reveal its real strategic objective - but at least it has one. Nevertheless, the only objective left on the table - the objective that dictates all of Israel's tactical plans - is the objective of the Left. That is the reason that the Left always rules. Neither the media nor the justice systems are to blame for that. We are - because we never placed an alternative to the Left's agenda on the playing field.
Let us explore the strategic objectives and dreams of the Left.
The Left's objective is for Israel to be a state of all its citizens that conducts itself by Western, liberal standards and that is not committed to Jewish values.
"For me, the Oslo Accords mean forgetting that I am a Jew."
(Authoress Dorit Rabinian, in an interview to Israel's Channel 1 on the first anniversary of Rabin's assassination).
We can say that the strategic objective of the Left is to blur our Jewish identity and to make us forget it by fashioning a liberal state of all its citizens.
All the tactical solutions and political programs proposed by the Left are the logical conclusion of its strategic objective. This is the only way to understand the apparent lack of logic of its plans. The Left strives to achieve its strategic super-objective and to detach the State of Israel from its Jewish identity. Our return to our Biblical landscape and the ideological, faith-based settlement of Biblical Israel are obstacles in its path. The Left does not desire to uproot the settlements and retreat from Hebron and Jerusalem in order to achieve peace. It desires to make peace so that it can uproot the settlements and retreat from Hebron and Jerusalem - the flagships of our Jewish identity.
What then, is the strategic objective that will dictate the tactical solutions of the faith-based public? The objective of the faith-based public is to establish a Jewish State of freedom based on the eternal values of the Nation of Israel: a state that will restore sovereignty to the Jewish Nation that was expelled from its Land, will ingather its exiles, will be a tool to develop its authentic culture, will build its Holy Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and will establish an exemplary society that will sanctify G-d's Name. In short, to create a culture and society for all humanity to emulate.
Do we think that we can achieve this entire lofty goal by tomorrow morning? That would be great, but even if there is a long road ahead of us, we will not be deterred. Our strategic commitment is to continue to march in this direction and certainly not in the opposite direction - by surrendering sovereignty on the Temple Mount to the Moslem wakf, for instance, or by surrendering parts of our Holy Land to foreigners.
We do not strive to erase our Jewish identity but rather, to strengthen and develop it. This also requires that we do not surrender the Biblical Land that ties us to our identity. On the contrary, we must do all that we can to strengthen our hold on our Land.
Now that we have clarified our objective and priorities, we can outline policies that will deal with foreign claims on our Land.
But first, a question: Is the strategic objective of the Arabs clear to us? Can we embark on a political plan without examining the objectives of the Arabs? After all, if we wish to adequately respond to the challenge with which they confront us, shouldn't we examine what they want?
The person who most accurately defined the strategic objectives of the Jews and Arabs was the (anti-Semitic) Foreign Minister of Great Britain, Ernest Bevin. In February, 1947, in his speech before the United Nations in which he transferred the mandate over Palestine from Britain to the UN, Bevin shared some of the insights he had gained from thirty years of British rule over the Land of Israel: Remember - Bevin did not like the Zionists. But he did not deceive himself, as we are wont to do. He astutely observed the following:
"For the Jews, the main point is the establishment of a sovereign Jewish state. For the Arabs, the main point is to oppose Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine to the very end."
We like to deceive ourselves into thinking that the Arabs and Jews share the same objective. But that is not true. The Jews want a state. And the Arabs want to make sure that the Jews do not have it.
Nothing has changed in the 63 years that have passed since Bevin's speech. If the Arabs would have wanted a state, it would have been established long ago. Never has an ethnic group received such generous international aid to establish its state - and the state has not been born. Their objective is not to build their own state - but to destroy ours. The last thing that interests them is a Palestinian state.
Now that we understand the objectives of both sides within our nation and the objective of the Arabs, we can go to the drawing board and design our political plan.
Believe it or not, the Likud constitution clearly states the starting point for a political plan dictated by the faith-based strategy. Not only that, but it deeply understands the Arab strategy:
"The preservation of the right of the Jewish Nation over the Land of Israel as an eternal, inalienable right, persistence in the settlement and development of all parts of the Land of Israel and the application of the sovereignty of the State upon them."
(From the Likud Constitution, Chapt. 4, "The Goals")
It's as simple as that. Just as we applied Israeli sovereignty to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, so we must do for all parts of the Land of Israel that are in our hands. If we do so with confidence, if we do not leave any doubt as to our firm belief that this is our Land, if we stop nurturing the hopes of the Arabs to succeed in their strategic objective to destroy our sovereignty here - then peace will be at hand. As a result - not as an objective!
And what about the demographic problem?
The Land of Israel is the strategic foundation around which we solve the tactical problems. Herzl understood this when the Jews made up merely a few percent of the total population in the Land. Ben Gurion understood this when he declared the independence of the tiny state of Israel, with a 50% Arab population. Today, we have a solid Jewish majority in Israel of over 60% from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. According to realistic forecasts, the demographic scales are tilting in our favor.
Of course, we must encourage the Arabs who live in Israel to emigrate to any one of the 22 Arab countries or to any other place in the world. These Arabs have developed a culture of work in a modern, Western society. They have professional knowledge in many important areas. Western states are desperate for this type of immigration because they are in the throes of a negative growth pattern. The question is not "Who will build in Canada?" but rather, "Will the builders in Canada be Sudanese, who specialize in building huts, or Arab immigrants from Israel who specialize in building skyscrapers?" A simple calculation shows that if Israel takes the money that it continues to spend on the Left's false solutions of retreat and spends it instead on encouraging Arab emigration, it will have over a quarter of a million dollars per Arab family that chooses to emigrate over the next decade.
What about those Arabs who remain? Will we give them the right to vote?
An Arab who is a loyal resident and completely accepts Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel will enjoy full human rights and permanent resident status. He will not have voting rights. Today, there are American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan who do not have voting rights in the US.
The automatic connection that we are used to making between human rights and political rights is false. Every country must honor human rights, protect the life, property and honor of any minority that accepts and respects it sovereignty and power. Actually, what Israel did to its loyal citizens in Gush Katif would be forbidden to do to any foreigner or citizen in any country. Political rights, however, are a different issue. Some countries grant unchecked citizenship while other Western countries, like Japan and Switzerland, do not necessarily grant residents citizenship even if they are third generation residents of those countries.
The State of Israel is both a Jewish and a democratic state. Not the opposite. We did not return to our Land just to establish another democracy. For that, we could simply have emigrated from Russia to America. We returned to the Land of Israel to establish a Jewish state. Around this principle, a democracy was formed to serve - not eliminate - the Jewish State.
In addition, voting rights should be given to Diaspora Jews who have tied their fate to the State of Israel. For after all, we are the State of the Jews - the state of all the Jews - not just the Israelis.
Will the world accept this plan? The existing Jewish identity-blurring plan has convinced the world, and it no longer recognizes the legitimacy of the Jewish State that even the Israelis do not want. The world expects us to be our authentic selves and to conduct ourselves in accordance with our Jewish strategic objective. When that happens, it will ultimately accept this plan.
And what about the Left? I do not have the solution for the Left's problem. I do not know how to flee my identity and I have no desire to do so. Other than continuing to love them, I have no answers for the identity crisis plaguing the leftist minority. But there certainly is a solution for the large Jewish majority in the Land of Israel.