Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in Israel National News: The Ramadan Ruse
February 28, 2024

by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in the Israel National News

Is there anything more preposterous than abruptly halting Israel’s war against Hamas in order to allow Muslims to observe Ramadan? Well, rewarding our invaders with an independent state so as to facilitate another massacre leaps to mind as equally absurd, but still. The assumption is that our enemies will use Ramadan as intended, as a month of fasting, charity, prayer, contrition, and reflection. For sure, many pious Muslims do, but it is equally true that Ramadan has frequently been celebrated with an upsurge in violence.

Those with long memories will remember that Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel on Yom Kippur 1973 – during the month of Ramadan. In many circles, it is still called the “Ramadan War.” Somehow the prayer, contrition, and reflection did not inhibit that sneak attack that ultimately claimed about 2700 Jewish lives. Neither did the fasting; as I recall from the period, apparently Muslim soldiers are exempt from fasting during Ramadan because, presumably, they are engaged in the religious duty of killing the infidels.

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Those with short-term memories – which excludes many individuals in the Biden White House and State Department – can easily ascertain that our enemies have long used Ramadan in order to murder Jews.

-In 2016, Hamas gleefully labeled the murderous attack on the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv the “Ramadan Operation” and celebrated the “First Attack of Ramadan.” Other terrorist attacks on Jews soon followed, making that Ramadan a particularly bloody month in Israel.

-It is not even limited to Jews. In 2016 and 2017, ISIS twice bombed a popular street in Baghdad during Ramadan, killing hundreds of Muslims.

-During that same 2016 Ramadan, a radical Muslim attacked the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, murdering 49 people.

These are not isolated examples. Arabs have historically fought vicious wars against each other during Ramadan.

Several years ago, the Institute for National Security Studies titled a report: “With Ramadan Approaching, the Fear of Escalation,” referring to increased terrorist attacks in Israel before and during Ramadan.

Even our current Defense Minister pays too much deference to Ramadan. Thus, for years, we have been routinely warned to be extra cautious during Ramadan because Muslim emotions are very sensitive during that month, they are even more prone to violence, and that nothing should be done to provoke them…

Obviously, to a Jew, such sentiments sound bizarre, because they are bizarre. I do not recall ever becoming so agitated on Rosh Hashana or the Aseret Y’mei Teshuvah or Yom Kippur that I felt the urge to run out and attack innocent Gentiles, or even guilty ones. Nor have I ever heard of that passion afflicting any Jew.

For that matter, it is inconceivable to any Jew – or any normal, moral, right-thinking person – to yell “G-d is great” as a prelude to murdering, raping, marauding, beheading, exploding, stabbing, shooting innocent people- ever.

Perhaps good Muslims should use this Ramadan for soul searching and how best to uproot this savage evil from their midst. The problem is that in the parts of the world where this soul searching would be most needed, any non-violent Muslims live in fear, petrified that these radicals will turn on them, as has happened across the globe.

Nevertheless, in George W. Bush’s felicitous phrase, it is “the soft bigotry of low expectations” that so-called security experts, politicians, diplomats, and statesmen nod their heads and say, “well, of course, tensions always run high during Ramadan, and as such Jews should keep a low profile, because Muslim violence must be anticipated.” Such a sentiment insults the majority of the world’s Muslims, as well as our intelligence. It is the very definition of surrendering to bullies rather than confronting them and vanquishing them.

As such, it is hard to take seriously Biden’s demands for a “Ramadan” cease-fire. It is tantamount to acquiescing to Hamas’ survival and what for it would be a victory in this conflict. Hamas would be getting away with murder.

No person who genuinely wants to see the destruction of Hamas and the eradication of the evil that it represents could be pressing today for a cease-fire. It is important to note that nothing inherently connects a hostage deal and a cease-fire. Israel could agree – foolishly and dangerously, as many believe – to exchange innocent Jewish hostages for murderous, bloodthirsty convicted Arab terrorists, but such need not be accompanied by a cease-fire that lasts any longer than the few hours it takes to make the exchange.

The pressure has only one goal, and it is not to allow all to celebrate Ramadan in peace. It is to deprive Israel of victory and preserve Hamas. That is the opposite of common sense, decency, morality, and stability.

Some will plead that the poor Gazan civilians deserve to observe Ramadan in dignity. One problem is that many Gazan civilians are indistinguishable from members of Hamas because quite often they are members of Hamas. Most Hamas terrorists do not wear uniforms (in gross violation of the much-heralded international law that is designed to only inhibit us) and thus look like civilians. When they are smoked out of their tunnels, caves, and ratholes and killed, they die in their civilian garb, allowing our enemies to claim they are civilians.

It is certainly a clever scam that has worked on Biden and others but, more egregiously, on our government, which repeatedly fails to underscore the parity of Hamas terrorists and many of the civilians on whom is constantly bestowed what is called humanitarian aid. It is a mistake for which we are paying a terrible price and must be rectified immediately.

The innocent Gazan civilians are not all so innocent. Our hearts need not bleed for them. Their newfound opposition to Hamas has evolved not because they are suddenly horrified by Hamas’ massacre of Jews, but because they are horrified by the consequences to them of Hamas’ massacre of Jews.

The Ramadan cease-fire request is just another ploy to thwart our war aims, restore the status quo ante, and again leave us vulnerable. A good deal of Muslim soul-searching and an abrupt change of behavior and values will be necessary before such proposals are taken seriously.

Indeed, we should show as much concern for Ramadan as our enemies showed for our Simchat Torah this year or, for that matter, our Yom Kippur of 1973. It is a ruse and it should be treated, and dismissed, as such.

Originally published in the Israel National News

Photo Credit: Amila Tennakoon on Flickr

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