Vayera: Mother Sarah Was The First Kahanist!
By Ariel Natan Pasko
This past week’s Torah reading, Vayera, coincided with the 29th remembrance of the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane. The former member of Knesset, was leader of the later outlawed Kach movement, and founder of the Jewish Defense League in America (JDL). Rabbi Kahane fought to protect Jews from anti-Semitism in America, increase Jewish identity and national pride, and to free Soviet Jewry.
But he was probably best known for advocating the transfer of Arabs out of Israel, to a new life somewhere else, to put an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict in Israel.
But was he the first to advocate expelling enemies attacking Jews?
In fact, in this past Torah reading, Vayera, we find Sarah, telling Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son [Ishmael – father of the Arabs], for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” Sarah had seen Ishmael constantly picking on little Isaac, (Genesis 21:9-10).
The Torah continues, “The matter greatly distressed Abraham regarding his son [Ishmael]. But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.’” But they can not live together in the same land. So Abraham listened to God and expelled him and his mother, (Genesis 21:11-14).
There you go, right from the start of the Jewish people, the solution to attacks on Jews, is to expel the perpetrators. Mother Sarah in her woman’s wisdom, sees the future, that the Arabs and the Jews can’t live together, and God backs up her demand on Abraham, to expel Ishmael.
Later, God codifies it in the Torah, “You shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you…You shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” And then warns, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling,” (Numbers 33:52-53, 55).
Even the nations understood this, in the 20th century, several internationally sanctioned population transfers were implimented, to separate warring peoples.
Most notably, the Greco-Turkish agreed mutual expulsion in the 1920’s, of about 1.6 million people, and the Pakistani-Indian exchange, after British decolonization in 1947, where 10-12 million people were displaced.
Then there was the forced expulsion of about 12-14 million ethnic Germans (between 1944-50), from central and eastern Europe, to create more homogeneous states, after the war.
So, as Rabbi Kahane documented in his book, “They Must Go” (1981), population transfers and forced expulsions had been being used, long before his proposal to transfer the Arabs out of Israel. In fact, his plan was quite merciful, by international standards, since he proposed offering money to the Arabs to leave.
Even some Arab leaders had previously suggested transfer as a solution to the conflict.
For example, in 1939, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine put forward a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. This proposal was published in Damascus and distributed among Arab leaders. Amin proposed that all of Palestine be given to the Jews.
“Furthermore, I hereby propose that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up among the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine,” Amin stated.
Amin proposed that this exchange of populations, should be carried out in the same way as the Greco-Turkish population exchange, and that special committees should be established to deal with the liquidation of Jewish and Arab property. He realized that at first there would be great difficulties, but he hoped they would be finally solved. (Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, (New York, 1984), p.25, and Proposal, 21 May 1939, [CZA S25/5630]).
Later, in 1946, Britain awarded Transjordan (what had been 75% of the Palestine Mandate) independence, and Abdullah ibn Hussein became its King. His Prime Minister was an Arab jurist named Ibrahim Pasha Hashem.
In July 1946, Alexander Kirkbride, from the British Legation in Amman, reported on his meeting with King Abdullah and the Prime Minister. Various ideas for the future of the Palestine were discussed and Kirkbride wrote that Abdullah was, “for partition and he feels that the other Arab leaders may acquiesce in that solution although they may not approve of it openly.”
In Kirkbride’s meeting with Ibrahim Pasha, Pasha proposed a population transfer, to avoid future conflict in Palestine. Kirkbride reported that, “He [Pasha] went on to say that, in his opinion, the only just and permanent solution lay in absolute partition with an exchange of populations; to leave Jews in an Arab State or Arabs in a Jewish State would lead inevitably to further trouble between the two peoples. Ibrahim Pasha admitted that he would not be able to express this idea in public for fear of being called a traitor.”
About a month later, a telegram sent from Amman to the British Foreign Office stated, “King Abdullah and Prime Minister of Transjordan both consider that partition followed by an exchange of populations is the only practical solution to the Palestine problem. They do not feel able to express this view publicly because having regard to the possibility of the Arab area of Palestine being joined to Transjordan they would be regarded as prejudiced.”
We can see from this, that King Abdullah had now joined his Prime Minister in favoring population transfer. (Kirkbride to Wikeley, 29 July 1946, p.1-2,[PRO FO 816/85], and Telegram, Prodrome to Foreign Office, 23 August 1946, [PRO FO 816/85 C208213]).
For an excellent review of the subject, check out, “A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895 – 1947,” by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons (2004 – it can be found at chaimsimons.net)
An expression in the midrash and early Torah commentators, is “Ma’aseh Avot Siman l’Banim,” the deeds of the fathers are signs/guides to their children. Mother Sarah was teaching her children, us, the Jewish people, an important lesson.
When will we learn it?
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master’s Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5780 Pasko
Comment by the editor: In the recent elections of 17 elul, 5799 – Sept. 17 2019 the Otzma Yehudit party went to the legal limit allowed by Israel’s anti-racism laws to advance the solution of transfer of enemies.
They got about 83,000 votes which is way below the thresh-hold of votes needed to get into the Knesset.
So although Pasko’s plan is consistent with Biblical Morality it has to be repackaged in some way to make it more acceptable to the general public, so that it can work. One should not overestimate the spiritual level of the general public when making public policy. The Biblical King Yoshiyahu (Josiah) overestimated the spiritual level of the public and it led to negative results (see Taanit 22b, Eicha Rabba 1:18). On top of this issue, there is the general problem that people in Israel feel their vital interests are under attack from the government and the courts in areas not related to the issue raised by Ariel Pasko. Many are too scared about losing on those other issues to take a risk and vote for a new party that wants to solve the problem first raised by “Mother Sarah”. To say it a more simpler way, they are under blackmail from taking a stand on the “Mother Sarah” issue.
If Pasko would nevertheless, successfully come up with the right formula of causing the evil people to leave Israel, I would be obligated to support it.
However, I think it is time to try an entirely new tactic. Given the fact that the election turmoil started about 70 years after Israel won the War for Independence (1949-5709), we should support a political party that pushes for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem or at least the restoration of the sacrificial service. Besides it being a good deed in itself, it appears to me that the Biblical prophecy of Zechariah chapter 1, which stresses the Temple being rebuilt after 70 years is telling us that there is a window of opportunity open for rebuilding the Temple in our days. As stated by our sages prophecies that have relevance for the future were written down in the Bible (see Talmud, Tractate Megilla 14a). Prophecies that did not have relevance for the future were not recorded.
Now even if I have the wrong interpretation of Zechariah chapter 1, I could still rely on Rashi’s 2nd interpretation of the request by Avraham (Abraham) our forefather at the covenant of the pieces (Bereishit/Genesis chapter 15) where he wanted to know in the merit of what deed would he and his descendants possess the land of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates. The answer he received, in the merit of sacrifices.
Rashi in his 2nd interpretation to Bereishit/Genesis 15:6 states:
Another explanation for: “How will I know?” He did not ask Him for a sign, but he said before Him, “Let me know with what merit will they [my descendants] remain therein [in the Land]?” The Holy One, blessed be He, replied, “With the merit of the sacrifices.”
For more on this subject see Sacrifices as part of a course of redemption even though they don’t do Teshuva [ Repent ]
One final note. It should be noted that even if there is some type of 70 year period leading up to the building of a new Temple, I have no proof, when the 70 years start. Is it Israel’s War for Independence? Is it the 6 Day War? Is it 70 years from the fake Jordan Peace Treaty? Or is it some Jerusalem related event that has not yet taken place? So if Israel’s election turmoil works out in a very boring way don’t come with complaints against this web site.