Here it is anyway:-
The Truth From The Land Of Israel
Former MK Geula Cohen’s Speech From The Recent Herzliya Conference
Given the three options – lamenting together with everyone else, looking for the coin under the street lamp, or fooling myself into thinking that everything is all right – I chose a fourth option: touching briefly on several truths incorporated into my belief system over the course of the 81 years of my life.
These truths, which I learned at my own expense, go back to when I was a young girl in the Betar Movement, demonstrating against “The White Paper.” They go back to when I was a Lehi member sitting in a British prison. They also go back to my years of fighting in the Knesset against the policy of concessions and withdrawals, my grassroots struggle to get the Jews out of Russia and Ethiopia, and my efforts to settle Jews in Judea and Samaria, liberated in the Six-Day War. I have particularly struggled on behalf of Kiryat Arba-Hebron, City of the Patriarchs.
And I experienced all of this amidst a tragic struggle against uprooting Jews from their homes. In its time, this was about Yamit, and more recently about Gush Katif. All of these experiences, and everything in between, occurred in one period to one woman, or perhaps to one country.
The first truth is that since the State’s establishment, we have been living here in Israel as “goyim” – in quotation marks, obviously. Yet if we are killed for our country, we are killed only as Jews, without quotation marks, and not necessarily with any religious connotation. Surely it is a historic truth that the Zionist Movement that established the State was cut off from religion, but not cut off from the unique meaning of the redemption process of the Jewish people. Life within this existential contradiction has a price tag, and we pay it in all walks of our lives.
The second truth is the continuing erosion of the code of life of our people. After our people wrestled with the angel of G-d, their name was changed from Jacob to Israel, and their destiny was determined – to prevail and to struggle. This meant struggling with G-d over His faith, in the sense of “I struggle, therefore I am.” It meant the struggle going back to Abraham to perfect the world. It meant the struggle down through history to discover our identity. It meant the unending struggle throughout the period of Zionist action for our survival here in Israel as a political state.
Every struggle has its price. Jacob emerged from his struggle limping. At one time, we were ready to pay the price of the struggle, but today no longer. Years ago Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas, asked Ehud Barak a question when the latter, as Army chief of staff, visited him in an Israeli prison. “Do you know why today’s Israel is weak? It is because you have lost the will to fight.” This erosion in the will to struggle has a price. Our enemies can discern that erosion. We all remember Hanan Nasrallah’s statement that Israel is “weaker than a spider web…”
But not all of us remember that the one who warned us against this erosion was Zeev Binyamin Herzl. True, he did say, “If you will it, it is no dream.” But the second part of what he said was, “If you do not will it, then everything I have said to you will turn into a mere dream.”
The third truth sounds like a Biblical parable, but it is the mathematical formula of our lives – “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18). In a normal country – like Switzerland – normal social motivation is enough to make a person a good taxpaying citizen. Here in Israel, it is not. Our nation needs an out-of-the-ordinary Messianic motivation to achieve that; they need some vision that will provide meaning, reason, purpose and an explanation to our lives.
Otherwise, as our sages said, the people will dance around a Golden Calf and descend down to the dust; and in the larger scheme of things, that is what has happened to us. It didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of many years we became a materialistic, oligarchic society with an opportunistic policy of compromise on top of compromise, until we forgot the ideals from which we started to compromise, and the compromise itself became the ideal.
People with licentious tongues slander our people by calling them corrupt, but that is not so. This people is the same people that has been in this country since 1948, and perhaps today it is even better. It is just our political leadership and intellectual elite, devoid of any vision, who have led the people to knowingly lie to themselves in the face. A leadership that relates to the people (who by nature are out of the ordinary in the positive sense of the word) as if they were normal and average, thereby transforms them into an out-of-the-ordinary people in the negative sense of the word.
The fourth truth is the fact that with our people, only what is historic is also realistic. It is true that our history is full of complexities and complications. In that regard, Dr. Yisrael Eldad once said, “It is true that Isaac was saved from the Akeidah (his sacrifice by Abraham), but he entered the bramble from which emerged the ram that was sacrificed in his place, and from that day on we have been stuck in a bramble.”
Even so, whoever tries to outsmart history by way of shortsighted shortcuts, whoever impatiently tries to save time will pay a heavy price in cash up front – in line, perhaps with the saying, “Time is money…” A leadership that instead of looking at the great historic clock looks only at the watch on its wrist will never know what time it is.
It’s no wonder, then, that all the dozens of peace plans that they’ve tried to force onto the living body of this land have been spat out like foreign growths, one by one, and they lie buried in the Middle East Peace Plan Cemetery. Cause of Death: Attempt to force unreality on reality.
The fifth and last truthis the fact that the real distinguishing factor today is not between Right and Left, nor between those who want a larger Eretz Yisrael and those who want a smaller Eretz Yisrael. Rather, it is between those – either from the Right or the Left – who continue to believe in the justice of the Zionist process, to struggle for it and to pay the price involved, and those who in despair have jumped off the Zionist ladder.
In our younger generation, we have enormous potential for self-sacrifice for the Land and the country. This was revealed in our religious youth who struggled against the uprooting of settlements, as well as in our secular youth, who recently fought in Lebanon.
What we still do not have is a leadership of politicians and intellectuals who believe in this potential, and who are capable of transforming it into a practical force. What we are lacking is a leadership that will have the sense to restore to relevance the vision and meaning of our existence here in Israel, and to restore the meaning of “here” to our existence.
Here's a version from the Conference site:
Out of two options – to lament with everyone else, or to look for something that is right under your nose – I have chosen to the third option:
To touch upon some of the truths that have escaped us in the past two days but affect our daily lives, some of the truths of the “I believe” sort that I have personally experienced since I was a young Beitar member protesting the White Paper and my time as a Lehi prisoner in British jail, my wars in the Knesset against the policies of concession and withdrawal, my fights to bring the Jews from the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and the settlement of Jews in Judea and Samaria that were liberated in the Six Day War, especially in Kiryat Arba – all this during a tragic battle against uprooting Jews. All of this and everything in between – during one time period, one woman.
The first truth is that since the establishment of the state we are living in our country as non-Jews, in parentheses of course. But to be killed for our country, we are killed here only as Jews, without parentheses, without a religious connotation, but not disconnected from the uniqueness of the redemption process of the Jewish people. To life within this existential contradiction, there is a price that we are paying in all aspects of our lives.
The second truth is the continuing erosion of the code of life of our nation, a nation whose mission has been destined for service and struggle. The struggle that has existed since Abraham Our Father for tikkun olam (healing the world), the struggle for our identity throughout our exile, the struggle of Zionist action for our existence here as a state. Struggle has a price. Once, we were prepared to pay the price of this struggle – today not any more.
“You know,” Ahmad Yassin, the founder of Hamas, asked Ehud Barak, then chief of staff who had visited him in Israeli jail, “You know why the Israel of today is weakening? It’s because you have lost the will to fight.” This erosion of the desire to fight has a price. Our enemies have identified this erosion. We all remember Nasrallah’s “spider webs” … But not all of us remember that the first person who warned us against this erosion was Ze’ev Benjamin Herzl. The second part of his saying “If you will it, it is no dream,” was “If you don’t will it, all of what I have told you, will become a dream.”
The third truth sounds like a biblical saying, but is actually the math formula of our lives: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. “ In a normal country like Switzerland, there is normal societal motivation to be a good, tax-paying citizen. In Israel, there isn’t. Our nation needs abnormal messianic motivation for this … We need some kind of vision that will give meaning, taste, purpose, and meaning to our lives. Otherwise, as our sages said, our nation will dance around a golden calf. And this is what has happened to us - not in one day, but in many days. We have become a materialistic, oligarchic society with an opportunistic policy of compromise, so much so that we have forgotten the ideals with which we started. Compromise itself has become an ideal …
The nation is the same nation that has been here since ’48. Today it is possibly even better. It is only our visionless leadership, policies, elite, and spirituality that cause us to be insincere. The leadership that refers to a nation who is by its very nature an abnormal nation in the good sense of the word as a normal nation turns it into an abnormal nation in the negative sense of the word.
The fourth truth is that for our nation only what is historical is ultimately also realistic. It is true that our history is filled with complications, about which Dr. Israel Eldad once said: “We were saved from the binding (of Isaac), but we entered into the thicket from which the bound ram that took our place left, and until today we are still anointed. However, whoever, out of impatience, outsmarts history with short cuts, whoever wants to save time, pays in cash. For leadership that instead of looking at the hands of the large clock of history, looks at only at the hands of the small clock, whose hands will never really tell the right time, it is no wonder that every ten peace plans they tried to force upon the live body of this country were rejected like a foreign transplant, one by one, and are buried in the peace plan cemetery in the Middle East. The cause of death: an attempt to a non-reality on reality.”
The last truth for tonight is that the true understanding of today is not between right and left, not between those who want a larger Land of Israel and those who want a smaller one, but between those, both on the right and the left, who continue to believe in the just way of the Zionist process, to fight for it and pay the price it entails – and between those who are desperate, who have left Zionism. We have a huge potential for sacrifice for the land and the country, which is evident in our religious youth in the struggle against the uprooting of settlements from the Land of Israel, as well as in our secular youth, who fights today in Lebanon. What we do not have is the leadership of statesmen and intellectuals who believe in this potential and are able to harness it into practical strength on the ground. What we lack is this leadership which will be able to reinstate the vision – the meaning of our existence. Let it be!