From The Other Side Of The Bench

By David J. Seidemann, Esq.

There is only one question Mr. Obama needs to ask himself. Did the United States exercise any restraint at all in Afghanistan? In Iraq? In World War I or World War II? To be sure, when Obama exercised “restraint” in dealing with Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the floodgates of terror, torture, and anarchy opened.

So we, Israel, should not exercise one ounce of restraint. Wars are won–and yes, we are at war–by defeating the enemy, not by appeasing the enemy or the United Nations or other nations of the world.

Israel is at war with Hamas, and any belief that we are not at war is false and will lead to the demise of the Jewish State.

I know the loss, because my cousin was murdered in a bombing in Jerusalem. I know the fear, because a little over a year ago, a friend and I were surrounded by six Arabs in a deserted field not far from where our boys were kidnapped and murdered. I reached for my phone to call my family for what I thought might be the final time. My friend reached for his gun, which was the only reason the enemy dispersed. We did not negotiate.

And I know fear is being passed down to our children. In the last 24 hours I have spoken to a number of teenagers who say they are now afraid to visit Israel.

In that regard, Hamas has won. It is up to Bibi to allay those concerns. He must tell Lapid and Livni that if Israel wants to stop burying our children, and if Israel wants Jews from across the globe to visit in the thousands, we must once and for all rid Israel of its enemies. Bibi can rise to the occasion or he can continue to pay shivah calls.

Sometimes the only way to survive is to make sure the enemy does not survive. Restraint? Escalation? There is no higher degree of escalation than to murder three teenagers.

And the world’s reaction? Who cares. What exactly has the “world” done for Israel? It is precisely when Israel incorporates world opinion into its plan for existence that Jews suffer most. Every land swap, concession, and peace proposal was to advance either the interests of other nations or Israel’s standing in the eyes of other nations.

And every concession resulted in waves of terror and killings. How many times does one need to be bitten by the tiger before he realizes that it’s time to close the tiger’s cage?

I prayed a lot in the last 18 days. I prayed for the safe return of the boys and I prayed just as fervently that Bibi would look in the mirror and resolve to make Israel not only the home for the Jews, but a safe home for the Jews.

Even with all of our shuls, yeshivot, and Jewish institutions, America is not our home. Even with all the First Amendment rights afforded to us, this is not our home.

Just last night I was at Marshalls on Rockaway Turnpike. In front of me was a group of women that I will describe as looking very different from you and me. Out loud, in public, after seeing me as well as another Jewish woman on line in front of me, they said, “Don’t they have their own stores? Shouldn’t they be shopping in their own stores?”

This is not our home. Neither is France, England, India, or anywhere else in the world where Jews are hunted down and killed in the streets like prey.

We have our home. It is time to make that home safe. It is time to rid our children of the fear of going to Israel. It is time to finally admit that the “Goldena Medinah” is not so golden. It is time to replace that perceived gold with the “Jerusalem of Gold.”

May Hashem give the families strength to carry on. May Hashem give Bibi the strength to ignore the pacifists that would rather drink tea with the enemy than enjoy the warm smile and embrace of two 16-year-olds and a 19-year-old boy.

We pray every day, asking G‑d to end the exile and return us to our ancestral home. I can’t help but think that G‑d, upon hearing these prayers says, “What more can I do? I gave them a land and provided them with boats and airplanes to travel there. But they won’t go. I gave them an army and technology to deal with the enemy. But they hold back. I gave them hands, but they won’t make a fist. I gave them children, but they won’t do what is necessary to allow those children to become adults.”

As we return these three precious souls to the earth, we must similarly resolve to return our hearts to our land. v

David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or

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