At the Yom Iyyun for first year semikha students in 1978, Rabbi Norman Lamm recounted how he once had the occasion to read through Yiddish papers that were published in the early to late thirties. He was struck by the purple prose, and the giant headlines, as different Jewish groups duked it out on many sundry internal issues. Most of these were Orthodox organs, so you can well imagine the type of issues that were discussed: kashrus, Zionism, Qitniyos etc.
What struck Dr. Lamm, he noted, was that other items were modestly posted in smaller letters: 'Hitler becomes Chancellor' 'Nurenberg Laws Passed in Germany' etc.
I was reminded of this story, upon considering the types of undeniably important issues that have been fiercely debated recently within the Orthodox Community.
However, things need to be placed into proportion. President Obama's artificially created, but no less real, diplomatic crisis poses an existential threat to the State of Israel. He is, apparently, hell bent on imposing a 'solution' to the Arab-Israel conflict, in time to ensure his re-election. That 'solution' requires withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and the division of Jerusalem. Since, according to him, the Palestinians are the injured party, they need not concede anything.
The problem runs deeper. First, by stressing Jerusalem in the first stage, Obama is willy nilly making it impossible for the Arabs to compromise on anything (including the Kotel). This is because the emphasis on Jerusalem focuses upon the specifically religious aspect of the conflict which is insoluble, by definition. Second, even if a formal scheme is worked out, does anyone really believe that it will be honored by the other side? Third, Obama has consistently advocated the Palestinian narrative that Israel is a payback for the Holocaust and that, by extension, Jews have no natural right to a state here. In other words, he is striving to undermine our very legitimacy.
Predictably, the press in Israel has already started beating on the drums of concession, as part of its ongoing campaign to liquidate Israel as a Jewish State. Israel has become far more Jewish in the past few years, but I'm never sure just how long we can withstand the kind of brainwashing that the media dishes out.
From my vantage point, the situation in the United States is equally grave. Most American Jews don't seem to care about us here. Even official leaders (did someone mention the leading Reform rabbi?) seem to have naively accepted the essentially racist position that if we only give the Arabs more, they'll be nice to us. (The position is racist, because it ignores what the Arab and Muslim world says to our faces, and assumes they think just like enlightened westerners.)
Of course, while we rely first and foremost upon HaQadosh Barukh Hu, it seems that the Orthodox community is our only human ally. It is critical that that community be mobilized to pressure Democrats, especially, to stand up for Israel as it's being bullied by an ideologically driven, Palestinian ally (backed by his inevitable Jewish advisors).
I am not an alarmist. However, this is potentially a matter of life and death. The Arabs have waited for decades for the US to abandon us. All of our neighbors are sitting on Islamist insurgencies, which could easily force them to war. They are also well aware of the global rise in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment (especially in Europe), and that the American Jewish community is slowly dissolving any national sentiment it might have.
We need to stand fast now.