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Two Kinds of Doves

Depending on their attitude toward peace, people generally divide between “doves” and “hawks.” Contrary to conventional wisdom, there are no “hawks” in Israel, only “doves.” In fact, Scripture identifies Israel with the “dove.”

Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik (Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind) distinguishes between two kinds of doves. One is called yonat eilem, mute doves, doves that do not defend themselves (Psalms 56:1). The other is called g’ei yonim, proud doves (Psalms 123:4).

Regarding proud doves, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes:

As opposed to the imperious eagles, which were the emblems of power and majesty of the nations of the world, the “dove,” the symbol of weakness and impotence, is entirely at the mercy of all its enemies.

Among all the “doves”—among all the weak and powerless peoples of the world—Israel alone had the courage and moral energy to stand up with a calm eye to the eagle-like stare of the high and the mighty, to remain erect with unbowed self-confidence, and, despite its lowly position, to sense itself as a great force among the national phenomenon of world history.

Would that there were such “doves” in Israel today. It seems, however, that we have only flocks of yonim eilem—mute and impotent doves. What else are we to say of an Israeli government that engages in a one-sided cease fire with Hamas? Indeed, during the past eight years, Gaza-based terrorists have launched some 7,000 rockets on Sderot with no serious retaliation by Israel’s timid government.

What are we to say of a government, whose military forces exceed that of any Arab states, yet hobnobs with Arab thugs and is willing to withdraw from eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the holiest site of the Jewish people?

And what are we to say of the opposition parties—secular and religious—which allow this government to sell Israel’s birthright for the potage of an Arabian “peace”? To call members of any opposition party “hawks” is a profound error. If there are any predators among Jews in Israel they will be found in the Kadima-led government. Israel today is ruled by schizophrenic “doves.”

Doves are uniquely faithful. But the “doves” in the Kadima-led government are faithless: they are betraying Jews and Judaism. On the one hand, these yonim eilem coo and woo Arabs, the hawks of the Middle East. On the other hand, these “doves” behave like ravens toward Jews who identify with Judaism. The Talmud (Gittin 45a) refers to ravens as “false” or faithless. They are also cruel to their own kind. Recall what Israel’s government did to Jews in Gush Katif and more recently in Hebron.

Notice how governments brutalize Jews while releasing thousands of Arab terrorists and murderers. In other words, “dovish” Israeli governments behave like fascists toward Jews and like permissive democrats toward Arabs—an obvious case of political schizophrenia.

The schizophrenia of Israel’s ruling elites would be laughable if it were not lethal. These pathetic elites apply the democratic principle of equality to an ideological conflict in which one party, Arab terrorists, rejects that principle. Does any sane or sensible person doubt that the Arabs want to rule over all of “Palestine”? The name “Israel” has been “wiped off” the Middle East maps of these Arabs.

Their maps show only “Palestine,” and they trace their ancestry to the Philistines, a pagan people. Yes, Arabs are notorious for their inordinate pride. Not the dove but the eagle symbolizes their mentality. How, then, can Jews—yonim eilim, humble doves— compete with predatory eagles?

There is but one way, and that is by becoming g’ei yonimproud doves. But Jews can only become proud doves by ceasing to apply democratic principles to Arabs or Muslims who are anything but democrats.

Jews are not ready for such a revolution. Many think that by returning the Likud to power Israel’s present nightmare will come to an end. This is nonsense. Israel will remain dominated by yonim eilim so long as secular Jews control the levers of power in this country while religious Jews continue to burn incense to democracy, forgetful of what it means to be the Chosen People.

This is not a call for theocracy, which is actually foreign to Jewish thought (as I have elsewhere shown). The only authentic form of Jewish leadership is that of the teacher, whose power is not political but intellectual and moral.

Sooner or later, g’ei yonim will gain ascendancy in Israel, and God will again rejoice in His people.

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