For a full decade, the mighty armies of Russia fought unsuccessfully against rebel forces in Afghanistan before withdrawing from the country. Then came the equally unsuccessful campaign of the massive forces of America against the vastly outnumbered Taliban rebels in a war which spread over twenty years until its recent debacle for the United States.
Both campaigns were battles of modern fighter jets and missiles against rifles, yet both wars failed to crush the meagerly-armed bands of guerilla fighters. How could it be? Writing in the Hebrew weekly Olam Katan (English version at the Begin-Sadat Center), Res. General Gershon HaKohen states that the Taliban forces attained their victory via the invisible yet all-powerful weapon of Emunah – heartfelt religious faith. Although Taliban beliefs are evil, he wrote, their passionate faith in them led their warriors to overcome the Goliath forces of the world’s foremost military powers.
How does this affect Israel? Firstly, as General HaKohen points out, one of Taliban’s main goals, openly declared by its founders, is to liquidate the State of Israel and turn it over to Arab rule. This intent should not be taken lightly. True, Israel’s powerful and sophisticated military should be able to easily crush the tiny Taliban army, but that was the case with the armies of Russia and America as well. We witnessed how both of those superpowers eventually scampered away like a badly-beaten dog with its tail stuck between its hind legs.
After all, Israel, with all of its mighty military, has not even managed to have the determination to wipe out the terrorists of Hamas whose forces are pinned down in a tiny bordered enclosure with nowhere to run. We are free to bomb them at will, yet they keep firing back.
How can this be? Because our army and its leaders, both the leaders of the IDF and the leaders of the Government of Israel, whether it be Netanyahu or Bennett, Lapid or Gantz, lack the Emunah needed to stand up to world opinion and finish the job. If we can’t overcome Hamas which is trapped on all sides like a chicken in a coop, how can we expect to overcome the forces of Taliban who have taken control of a mountainous country almost twice as big as Iraq?
And we can expect that the recent Taliban victory will further whet the appetite of every terrorist leader who dreams of Israel’s destruction, Heaven forbid. In addition, the victory in Kabul will surely ignite millions of Arabs to become eager new recruits and zealous fighters for the cause.
General HaKohen makes it clear that armies fueled by religious faith and demonic doctrines can only be vanquished by an even greater religious faith, coupled with the firm belief in the absolute righteousness of the battle. Where will we find the great Emunah needed to eliminate the Taliban and the other faith-driven enemies which surround us on all sides? Certainly not on the Left of the political spectrum in Israel. Not in the Center either, and not in the Haredi world which possesses sincere Emunah in Hashem but which lacks the national patriotism and military know-how which are needed in a back-against-the-wall war that could pit us not only against Taliban, Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, but also the superpowers that may back them.
That leaves us with the Religious Zionists. It is questionable whether the Dati-Lite sector of that community, many of whom tend to favor compromise and submission, could muster the mettle to stand up to the armies of Islamic Fundamentalism and their allies. So we are left with the camp of the more fervent Religious Zionists. Small in number, they seem to have inherited the passionate genes which characterized our heroes of old – Moshe Rabenu, Yehoshua, Pincus, Shimshon, King David, and the Maccabees. It turns out that this camp of the Nation, often scorned by the Left, the media, and lesser believers on the Right, is the key to winning the war against the armies of Islam.
The salvation of Israel will not come from the “Government of Change” with its anti-Torah leftist parties and anti-Zionist Arab alliance, nor from the ranks of the largely secular Likud, but from the “Taliban-like” (solely in the realm of Emunah) proponents of hardcore Religious Zionism.
It remains to be seen whether the required leadership will come from the present political composition of the Religious Zionist Party with its differing faith-filled partners, or from some shepherd youth currently grazing sheep on the hilltops of Samaria. The main thing is to recognize that in the face of our Jihad-crazed enemies, Israel’s power of survival and triumph can only come from our devotion to Torah, from our unflinching love of Hashem, and from an uncompromising commitment to our Land.
Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."