Rosh HaShana is the season for summing-up, of drawing up a final accounting of the past year. Yet concentrating on the past is of no account without an equal or greater focus on the future.
Only if we know where we are going does it make sense to ask how far we have come. If we have no clear destination, how can we determine the direction in which we are moving?
Zionism wrought a major transformation in Jewish life. Tragically, the Holocaust destroyed a third of our people before the Zionist goal that could have prevented the destruction of European Jewry was attained. After the trauma of World War II, all the energies of the Jewish people were directed to the Zionist aim.
The Zionist principle is very simple: No more wandering, no more exile, no more dependence upon others; the Jewish people returns to its home to be master of its destiny. In the words of the prophet, The children return to their own borders. Any moral act that advances the fulfillment of this goal is progress; anything that subverts its accomplishment is failure.
The rise of the State of Israel, the ingathering of the exiles, the struggles and victories against enemies roundabout, the building of the land which lay waste for centuries, and the blooming of the desert were all stations along the road to the realization of our national destiny.
Recently though, a psychic trauma has seized us. Government ministers seriously advocate uprooting Jewish towns and villages in our ancestral homeland. They speak of expelling and exiling thousands of Jews in order to curry favor with Arab potentates - Hafez Assad and his ilk.
We have made a pact with an unrepentant terrorist, and even as Jewish blood is shed in all parts of the country, we are told that if only we surrender more to the PLO, Yassir Arafat will take charge of our security, and he will control terrorism.
Meanwhile, Arafat himself continues to incite to jihad in speeches on Arab television, and implies that his agreement with us is merely a stage in his drive to throw the Jews into the sea. He mocks and taunts Yitzchak Rabin by name.
In sheer numbers of casualties, terror has reached unprecedented levels. In response, some of our leaders argue that just as in war one must be prepared to suffer loss of precious lives, so too peace extracts a bloody price. In typical double-speak, the renewed Arab attack on our land, our security, and our very lives is described as the peace process.
To Arafats credit, it must be acknowledged that he does not conceal his intentions. He made one commitment: to cancel the PLO covenant which calls for the destruction of the Jews. This he has not done, nor does he ever intend to do so. His great concession in Oslo 1 is now being sold to us again, for a higher price, as his great concession in Oslo 2. As we draw the bottom line on the accounts of the past year, we must ask ourselves where we are going.
When Jewish policemen beat peaceful protesters and herd rabbis into jail for daring to question the governments double-speak; when government ministers prefer to meet with Arafats henchmen at the very hour when Jewish victims are being buried rather than join the thousands of mourners; when no place in Israel is safe and, at the same time, we bring in and arm thousands of terrorists, newly-turned Palestinian policemen from Algeria; when the wholesale release of Arab murderers is defended by our justice minister as perfectly legal, can thinking Jews anywhere remain silent?
The race towards self-immolation must be stopped.
The government of Israel must be brought to its senses.
Our lives and the existence of the Jewish state are in the balance.
The author is Dean of Yeshivat Birkat Moses - Maaleh Adumim, Israel
(This article originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post)