What Have You Done For Israel?

By Martin Elsant, YC, 1975

Can you honestly say that you have done anything concrete to help Israel this week? If you are like most people, you did not participate in a demonstration, you did not phone or fax the White House, and you did not write your Senator or Congressman. With Israel in so much danger, and facing so much pressure, how can you justify doing nothing?

Before discussing what you can do to help, it is important that you realize why you must help. Surely, we all understand that only a constant stream of amazing miracles is keeping the State of Israel alive today. Israel is so outgunned, outnumbered, out-petrodollared, out-realpolitiked and out-geopolitiked, that with or without the Golan and Yesha, there is no logical way that Israel should continue to exist for even a moment. It is obvious that only G-d's will, not borders, politics, demonstrations, or e-mail campaigns will determine Israel's survival.

But that does not free us from the responsibility of shtadlanut. Although the Rabbis had no doubt about G-d's decisive power in our lives and history, they also articulated the principle of "ayn somchin al hanays." Superficially, there may appear to be a contradiction in this set of Rabbinic positions. Upon closer analysis, however, the contradiction disappears. The Rabbis require us to do as much as we can to solve our problems, not because our efforts accomplish anything directly, but because our efforts make us worthy of G-d's miracles. By doing the best we can under the circumstances we face, we can hope to merit G-d's intervention. If, on the other hand, we do not do all that we can, what kind of people are we and what kind of miracles do we deserve?

Bearing that in mind, the question is now what you can do for Israel this week. We invite you to join our organization, VIPAC, which offers a very simple solution.

VIPAC is an acronym for the Virtual Israel Political Action Committee. Moish Berkowitz (YC/RIETS 1972) and I (Martin Elsant YC/RIETS 1975) started VIPAC in 1997. We are now approaching 500 members. We send pro-Israel e-mail to the White House each week urging more support for Israel's Biblical, historical, and security claims in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

Our philosophy is simple. In a democracy, the political leadership responds to vigorous and vocal constituencies. There is little doubt that if the White House were getting one million pro-Israel e-mails each week, its Middle East policy would change dramatically. The problem is that VIPAC does not yet have a million members! But if you join today, and urge others to join, you can be part of the solution. If you visit our site at www.vipac.org, you can review our archive of past letters, learn more about us, and hopefully join us in our effort.

There really is no excuse not to participate. For those who are very busy and have little free time, VIPAC is perfect because it requires so little time from you. For those of you who don't like the wording of the letters, you can copy and edit the letters and change them to your liking so they precisely reflect your point of view. At VIPAC, we encourage you to do so for two reasons. On an ethical plane, we do not want people sending out messages with which they do not agree. Secondly, on a practical level, we believe that many different letters supporting Israel, instead of many copies of the same letter, will have a greater impact on the White House.

And for those of you who think e-mail has little impact, and that the White House gives more weight to conventional mail (from the post office with a stamp on it), you can still join VIPAC. You just have to click on the printer icon once you've edited the VIPAC e-mail, and then send it off in an envelope to the White House every week. You can get the street address for the White House, as well as easy to follow instructions for copying and editing e-mail, from our web site.

VIPAC even meets the objections of those who feel that American citizens have no right to interfere with Israeli politics. As a group, we do not send letters to Israeli leaders. We only petition the American government regarding its foreign policy and aid programs. This is something that we, as responsible American citizens, have a constitutional right--even an obligation--to do.

All of us can and should participate in VIPAC. With a minimal amount of effort, we can demonstrate our concern for the State of Israel and thereby help prove ourselves worthy of Hashem's miracles.

Reprinted with permision