I no longer know where I am. Yesterday really threw me for a loop. But I guess that's my fault. Nothing should surprise me anymore.
From David Wilder
I no longer know where I am. Yesterday really threw me for a loop. But I guess that's my fault. Nothing should surprise me anymore.
The two stories ? one: the welfare agency is planning on 'taking' children from their parents who are arrested resisting expulsion and placing them with foster families, barring grandparents, aunts or uncles who will voluntarily give them a place to live, until their criminal parents are released from jail; and two: the young teenage girls, fourteen and fifteen, who must either stay in jail or live on a kibbutz. They cannot be sent home to Daddy, because he opposes the expulsion, and they cannot be sent to Mommy, because she lives in Gush Katif, and they cannot be left under house arrest, because at home they will continue their disruptive activities against the expulsion, and will have a 'negative' influence on their friends.
It makes you want to cry. This is what we prayed for, for two thousand years?
But, yes, there are miracles. Still, appearing before our eyes. The first, and the most amazing, in my opinion, is that people are continuing to make Aliyah, continuing to come live in Israel. A few days ago, a plane-load of new French immigrants arrived. This summer, if I'm not mistaken, Nefesh B'Nefesh, one of the most important organizations in existence today, is bringing some four full planes of new Israelis from America to the 'promised land'. In a few weeks, our wonderful Hebron Fund associate director, Ziva Glanz, is making Aliyah with her husband Daniel and their infant. True, we lost a fabulous worker, but we're making that up with a new Israeli family. And as far as I'm concerned, the latter is much more important than the former.
When people I meet, on groups touring or via email, inform me that they're making Aliyah, well, it makes my day. There's nothing more important a Jew can do today than come live in Israel. But looking around at what's happening here in Israel, I ask myself, why would anyone in their right mind want to come live here? You've got to be crazy. And it's not a case of ignorance. Today, everything is available on the Internet, and just about everybody knows everything. So why are they coming? Israel, summer 2005, is probably the last place on earth anyone would want to be. Democracy is being overrun by tyranny, the police and judicial system are fully corrupt, and the Israeli army can no longer be accurately called the IDF ? the Israeli Defense Forces. Rather than defending its citizens, the army is being ordered to attack and expel Jews from their homes. Now it's the IEF ? the Israeli Expulsion Forces.
But the planes are still arriving with new batches of Israelis. Why?
This morning, I attended a special event at Ma'arat HaMachpela. Tamar and Koshet Menlon celebrated their son Aviel's Bar Mitzvah. The Menlon's arrived in Israel when Aviel was two, eleven years ago. At first, they lived five families together in one caravan-house in Kiryat Arba. Now, they have their own home. They made Aliyah from northeast India, a place between the former Burma and Bangladesh, and are known as B'nei Menashe ? long-lost Jews from the tribe of Menashe, who have been missing since the days of the First Temple Era, thousands of years ago. Koshet Menlon, back in the old country, was a high-level administrator in the government offices of his locality. Today, he works for a very low salary at a local carpentry business in Kiryat Arba. To try and make ends meet, Tamar cleans the neighborhood school every day, and sometimes, also people's homes. The Menlons, a family with five children, have little material property to speak of. A roof over their heads, clothing and food ? the very basic necessities of life.
But at Aviel's Bar Mitzvah, I didn't see any unhappy people. Together with their family and friends, the Menlon's celebrated, not in a lost, forsaken place in the middle of nowhere; rather, they celebrated at Ma'arat HaMachpelain Hebron. After thousands of years of being lost, these people have come home. Really home. To Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel. When you stop and think about it, it's mind boggling.
So, here we have it ? two very distant extremes, which can almost tear you apart. If not physically, than psychologically. The horrors of expulsion and abandonment, Israel, summer 2005, and the magnitude of Jews coming home, from America, from France, from India, from anywhere, you name it. It's a dichotomy that's difficult to fathom.
So, why? I can only suggest my answer.
If you listen to, or read, news concerning the present war for Gush Katif, you may have frequently heard the word "Kissufim" or "the Kissufim junction". When you drive the roads to most of the Gush Katif communities, N'vei Dekalim, Kfar Darom, etc, there is only one entrance, and that is via the Kissufim junction. It makes no difference if you arrive via Ashkelon or Be'er Sheva; you must arrive at the Kissufim junction. Driving straight for a few minutes, passing entrances to various small moshavim and other communities, you arrive at the Kissufim checkpoint, which presently seals off Gush Katif from the rest of the country, turning it into something of a ghetto. From the Kissufim checkpoint, you continue on a desolate road, lined with decrepit Arab shacks, called by some "houses", which the terrorists use to take cover in order to shoot at Israelis driving on the road. (The Supreme Court forbade the army from destroying these wretched hovels, resulting in continued attacks, bloodshed and murder.)
Eventually ,you cross over a bridge, taking you into Gush Katif proper.
The Kissufim junction is currently a flashpoint - 'the place' to get to, or better put, to get through. It was the original target of last week's Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council march. However, despite what you read in the press, people are still getting through. And you'll forgive me if I don't reveal how. At least, not yet. The day will come....
In any case, Kissufim has, in the current lexicon, a special significance. But not too many people pay attention to Kissufim's real meaning. The definition of "kissufim" in a Hebrew-English dictionary will likely be "yearning" or "craving". Kissufim really is a major junction, a crossroads, not only connecting Gush Katif to the rest of Israel, but also linking Am Yisrael, the Jewish people, to Eretz Yisrael, to our homeland. For thousands of years, the uttering of "Next Year in Jerusalem," a spiritual clinging to Hebron, to Bethlehem, to Jerusalem, a soul-hunger so strong, so deep, so transcendental that it outlasted the most rampant, virulent anti-Semitic hate for Jews - thesekissufim, these desires, they kept the Jewish people alive. Pogroms could kill the body, but they could not destroy the spirit. The spark of Eretz Yisrael, one of the essential ingredients in a Jewish soul, could not be doused. The kissufim, the yearning for our land, for our cities, for our very soul, was stronger than the knives, axes and guns.
So too today. The Kissufim junction joins so very much: it links the north and the south, Gush Katif to the rest of Israel. But even more, it signifies the dreams of Am Yisrael from time immemorial, the dream of coming home, of settling the land, of living the way a Jew is supposed to live, the way a Jew was created to live.
And that is why today's events are so heart-wrenching, because they negate the very ideals that kept us going for over two millennia. Now, after having fulfilled the dream, we're going backwards, and it doesn't make any sense.
But the Jewish people do not give up. The kissufim of our fundamental nature are much stronger than dictators, generals and plainly stupid people. We've gone through it before and been victorious. That's why Ziva and Daniel Glanz, together with thousands of others, will make Aliyah this summer, the summer of horrors, 2005, and why families like the Menlons can live they way the do here, in Eretz Yisrael, as opposed to 'the good life' back there in the long-lost Shangri-La of northeast India. Because our kissufim, our longing, our desire, our yearning to live what we really are - these kissufim overcome all else that may seem to stand in the way.
And that is why we will not give up ? not now, not ever. That is why next week, tens of thousands, and in the end, I expect, hundreds of thousands, will take to the streets, marching in one direction ? from all directions, but marching in one direction, marching towards our kissufim, the kissufim that kept us alive through the generations, towards the Kissufim that will continue to bind us to our land ? from Morag to Homesh, from Kfar Darom to Sa-Nur, from Eilat to Kiryat Shemona, the kissufim that unite Am Yisrael with Eretz Yisrael, forever.
Sharon is running scared. D-Day is getting closer and closer and Ariel
Sharon is starting to panic. The signs aren't hard to read.
Following last week's attacks in London, Sharon immediately issued
orders to his underlings, otherwise known as ministers of the Israeli
government. The command: Don't discuss the London terror attacks and don't
compare them with terror plaguing Israel.
Why? Quite simply. Should the Al-Qaeda be linked in any way, shape or
form, actually or even tacitly, to our 'good, peace-loving neighbors,' the
entire Gush Katif abandonment plan would evaporate, instantaneously. G-d forbid
that such an idea should enter normal people's heads. After all, can you
imagine making a deal with creatures who kill, wound and maim innocent civilians,
on buses or trains. Israel would never be able to consider such policies. So,
the solution is easy: stick your head in the sand, way down deep, so you cannot
see, hear, or even possibly image what might be happening up out there in the
Another indication of Sharon's
galloping dread: Last night the state attorney general, Manny Mazuz, conducted
a meeting with a group of seven 'religious-zionist' Rabbis, hoping to persuade
them to end all opposition to the expulsion plan. He accused the Rabbis of
leading opposition to the plan and not doing enough to prevent violence by
'extremists.' According to the INN report, one 'moderate' Rabbi responded,
"The idea that we will stand silent is a mistake. Our children and our
grandchildren feel that have been trampled. The limits initially were broken by
the government and the Knesset and afterwards by the judicial system. If we are
speaking about a rebellion..., the government has rebelled against itself and
against the country."
The meeting took place as part of
'discussions' between the 'two sides,' aimed at defusing tensions and
possible mass violence. It is very important to note the tone of such
coordinated discussions. It goes something like this: "Either you stop
everything you're doing, no more protests, no more opposition, or we will come
after you, beat you, arrest you, and put you away for a long time.' This is the true face of Israeli justice: the
attorney general's office, the prosecution, and the courts.
Still, Sharon is petrified: he's terrified of the Rabbi's, he's
frightened of the masses, he shakes thinking about massive refusal by military
forces, soldiers and officers alike. He knows that blanket dismissal of
hundreds or more officers will disintegrate the IDF. And most of all, he cannot
sleep at night knowing that, with all this, if he doesn't continue taking apart
Judea and Samaria, an indictment is still waiting for him and his thug-sons,
right around the corner.
Another sign of Sharon's worries can be easily identified following Tony
Blair's comments, after the London attacks.
I think this type of terrorism has very deep
roots," Blair said. "As well as dealing with the consequences of this
— trying to protect ourselves as much as any civil society can — you have to
try to pull it up by its roots," he said.
That meant boosting understanding between people of difference
religions, helping people in the Middle East see a path to democracy and easing
the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he said." [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3110189,00.html].
In layman's terms, Israel is to blame. If we
gave the Arabs what they want, (all of Eretz Yisrael), England, Europe and the
free world would be safe and immune from continued Arab terror.
This doesn't ease Sharon's plight, because it
is almost certain that he has plans to annihilate the Iranian nuclear reactor
following the summer debacle. Blair's statement, which is representative of the
entire European Union, at the very least, is only a forerunner of the fire they
will breath following an Israeli preemptive strike on the greatest present
threat to world peace – nuclear weapons in the hands of the Arabs. Sharon knows
that he will have to find a way to appease them, and quickly. The only way to
do that is an accelerated 'road-map,' i.e., the expulsion of tens of thousands
of Jews from their homes throughout Israel, and, for desert, division of
These words are not totally figments of my
imagination. In an article published late last week in the Israel press, a
senior (unnamed) military figure was quoted as saying, "Israel has plans
to continue unilateral concessions through 2008." In other words, the fun
is just beginning.
Maybe. Maybe not. If Bulldozer Sharon is
scared, he has a good reason to be scared, as enumerated above. When a wild dog
runs scared, sometimes it bites. But sometimes, if you pick up a rock and make
believe you're about to throw it, the scared dog takes off in the opposite
Sharon's tried biting. He's given it all he's
got. But it still hasn't worked. Almost all of Gush Katif's 9,000 residents are
still there. Very very few have signed compensation agreements. Thousands of
people are arriving in Gush Katif, living in makeshift caravans or tents. And
the battle is far from over. Next week, a national march, with people from all
over the country, leading to Gush Katif, will begin. IDF officials have already
proclaimed that they don't have solutions to tens of thousands of people.
We can still stop the madness.
Aviel Tucker, from Netzer Hazani in Gush
Katif, posted an open letter "To the People of Israel, to every Jew
wherever he may be."
…In another five weeks, they will knock
on our doors but we know now very
clearly that the "evacuation" will not be done gently. We will
until we bleed, and then dragged cruelly from our homes.
Here in the Gush, we're still anticipating a miracle, we're still
for salvation. But you, dear brothers, must be ready to move! We have
carried out our part; we have remained strong, and we will continue to
so until the end.
But now, we need you. On the day that Gush Katif is closed, I ask you,
please, please, don't sit at home! Get up and start walking! Don't say
too late or there's no chance; if everyone gets up and comes, perhaps,
perhaps we will succeed! Maybe the Master of the Universe will hear and
will save us. Each and every person must feel that in the merit of his
actions, Gush Katif will be saved.
Those of you who might prefer to sit on a comfortable sofa in your
room and watch us on television being cruelly beaten and our beloved
sold away to murderers will have to live with this his whole life. He
will have to explain to his grandchildren, who will ask him again and
again, "What did you do to save the Land of Israel? What did you do
behalf of your brothers in Gush Kati?"
We have not lost our faith, and even when and if the situation gets even
worse, we will continue to believe for the Master of the Universe does
only good for His children. But the moments of truth have arrived and
soon it will be too late."
Our fate is in our hands – it is up to us, all of us, to scare away the
wild dog, running with his tail between his legs.
Last week Mort Klein did it again. The President of the Zionist
Organization of America released a nationwide US poll concerning the Gush Katif
abandonment plan and other topics related to the Israel-Arab conflict. The
results are amazing.
Some of the poll's findings:
Sixty-three percent of the population opposes “Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from a section of
Gaza and Northern Samaria”
and “forcing 10,000 Israeli Jews from their homes and businesses.” Only sixteen
percent were in favor.
Eighty percent oppose a continuation of three
hundred and fifty million dollars of US aid to the 'palestinians.' Fifty
eight and fifty three percent respectively believe that a 'palestinian state's'
goal is to destroy Israel,
and that it would be a 'terrorist state, not a democracy.
Sixty three percent, as opposed to five
percent, believe that Jerusalem
should remain under Israeli sovereignty, and not 'palestinian' sovereignty.
However, in my opinion, the most important
statistic deals with the question of acquiescence. Fifty percent against twenty
eight percent believe that 'the Gaza
plan sends a message that Arab terrorism is being rewarded.' [http://www.zoa.org/pressrel2005/20050630a.htm]
These numbers speak for themselves. But it is imperative to understand
what they say.
I quote from the beginning and conclusion of Mort Klein's statement
concerning the poll results:
“This national poll exposes the myth that
Americans support the Gaza/Northern Samaria Withdrawal/Expulsion Plan.
Americans realize that it’s a bad deal for Israel to make these major
concessions without getting anything in return. They also understand that
this rewards the Hamas and Fatah suicide bombing terrorists whose counterparts
are killing Americans every day in Iraq. This Plan harms the US
war against radical Islamic terrorism by sending a message that terrorism pays
and pays well…The responses make it crystal clear that Americans are fervent
supporters of the people of Israel, understand the terrorist nature of Abbas’
Palestinian Arab regime…"
If I were your run-of-the-mill American, Jewish or not, living in New
York or L.A., I think I'd be having a fit, reading press reports of the
upcoming Israeli expulsion plan. Perhaps not so much because I would care about
people losing their homes, that might not be my business. But knowing that the
only so-called democracy in the Middle East is acquiescing to Islamic Arab
terror; and knowing simple arithmetic, two plus two equals four, realizing that
terror is not an Israeli problem, rather it's an international problem, a
problem which struck at the very heart of the United States on 9/11; and
knowing that the terrorists haven't changed their plans, and might very well
attack again, especially in light of Israeli's surrender to terrorist demands;
I think I would do everything in my power to convince the American government
to prevent the capitulation, or, at the very least, not to support and
encourage it. Not because of Israeli interests, rather because of American and
international interests. It's simple reasoning and logic: Lighting can, and
does, strike twice.
Mort Klein and the ZOA are to be highly commended. It's only a pity that
other major American Jewish organizations do not jump off the Bush-Sharon
bandwagon, open their eyes to reality, and join the forces of sanity.
Exactly twenty nine years ago today I was on a plane, heading to Israel. At
twenty two, I had just graduated from university, and wanted, more than
anything else, to come back to Israel,
where I'd spent my junior year of college. That day, July 4, 1976, was the 200th
birthday of the United
States, and expecting a lot of traffic into
NYC, I parted from my family the night before and slept over at an airport
hotel, next to JFK. Being very excited about coming back to Israel I had trouble sleeping, and
at about two in the morning turned on the radio next to my bed.What I heard was unbelievable. A 'news flash'
broadcast that Israeli commandos had just rescued hostages from the hijacked
Air France flight in Uganda.I couldn't believe my ears.
Flying into Israel
the next day was like arriving in Wonderland. Their was a magnetic atmosphere
that permeated every walk of life. Israelis walked around as if in a dream. The
Israeli Defense Forces had managed, somehow, miraculously, to fly a Hercules
jet to Africa, land, rescue the hostages and kill the hijackers, and get back
in one piece. Only one commando was killed – Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu. There are
almost no words to describe the euphoria that saturated Israeli society.
Perhaps it was somewhat similar to the emotions following the Six-Day war
victory in 1967.
What was the reaction to Entebbe?
was seen by world opinion as having triumphed over international terrorism. The
morale of the Israeli people was lifted. The Israeli army regained its
reputation earned in the stunning victories of the Six Day War and its
self-confidence was restored.The PLO
and other terrorist groups would start a long decline in the aftermath of Entebbe…" (LESSONS TO LEARN FROM ENTEBBEby Arno Weinstein [http://www.saveisraelcampaign.com/atad/Articles.asp?article_id=675&])
proved again, to itself, and to the world, we will not give in to terrorism, at
Much has been written about the Entebbe
operation. What seems very clear is that the person behind the entire episode
was then Defense Minister Shimon Peres, who initiated, put together and then
convinced Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to accept implementation of the rescue
mission. How times have changed. We can only ask ourselves, what would happen
during an Entebbe,
version 2005? Not with Yitzhak and Shimon, but with a slightly different cast
of characters – Arik and Shimon. What would Israel agree to concede, in return
for the lives of one hundred and five hostages? Undoubtedly, the current
'leadership' would prefer a 'negotiated solution' with the welcomed
intervention of our good friends, Abus Mazen and Ala. Why risk the 'peace process' for a hundred
people. After all, what would the rest of the world say?
has a case of massive amnesia. We don't remember our national pride, we don't
remember our national essence, we don't remember our responsibility, to
ourselves, to our heritage, to our land, to the rest of the world. It's
preferable to throw in the towel rather than fight for what is right.
We are living in the age of Entebbe,
forgotten. I wonder what it will take to eventually wake us up?