May 6, 1997
The Honey and the Sting
For the honey and for the sting
For the bitter and the sweet
For our baby daughter
Guard over, my good L-rd.
For the burning fire
For the pure water
For the man returning home
From far away.
For all of these, for all of these
Please guard over, for me, my good L-rd
For the honey and for the sting,
For the bitter and the sweet.
Please dont uproot the planted
Dont forget the hope
Return me and Ill return
To the good Land.
These lyrics, in Hebrew, along with the music, written and composed by Naomi Shemer, are over 15 years old. They became something of a anthem and still bring tears to many eyes. The song became an anthem 15 years ago, when Israel abandoned Sinai and uprooted numerous communities and destroyed the city of Yamit. Fifteen years ago today the last Israeli left the ruins of Yamit in Sinai, and turned the area over to Egypt. Today, are we on the road to another version of the bitter and the sweet?
Yesterday it was reported in the Israeli media the Arabs have declared death on anyone selling land to Jews. The Arutz 7 account reported "that Freih Abu Middein, responsible for the Justice portfolio in the Palestinian Authority, said that the PA will impose the death sentence on any Palestinian involved in selling land to Jews or Israelis. The Palestinian Legislative Council voted last week to authorize the PA to strengthen security and judicial frameworks in order to crack down on such land sales." Can you image both the Israeli and world responses should the Knesset pass a law, or even suggest a law forbidding Jewish land sales to Arabs. As a matter of fact, a minor example is taking place before our eyes.
Each year a number of Israelis are honored with the Israel Prize on Independence Day, usually for outstanding contributions to Israel during their lifetime. This year two journalists were selected for their work: Chaim Yavine, anchorman of Israels TV evening Channel One news since its inception, and Shmuel Shnitzer, an eminent columnist who has written thousands of articles over decades. These two men also represent, to a great degree, two polarities. Yavine is known for his very left-wing opinions and tendencies. Shnitzer is decidedly right wing.
After the announcement of these two recipients of Israel's most prestigious prize, an Ethiopian Labor Knesset Member charged Shnitzer with bias and prejudice because of an article written a number of years ago, which he claimed offended Ethiopians. The issue was actually taken before the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled that the committee which decides who receives the prize must reconsider its decision. The committee then reversed its original decision and will not award the Israel Prize to Shnitzer.
What about Chaim Yavine? He has used the TV studio as a stump to preach his philosophies for years. He, along with most other Israeli radio and television journalists literally campaigned for Peres during the campaign last year. He has never said anything to offend anyone in Israel? And finally was this really an issue relevant to a Supreme Court decision?
Has Israel caved in to terrorism? Yesterday terrorist Abu Marzouk was released from an American prison where he had been held for almost two years. Who is Marzouk? He is a PR specialist for Hamas. He raises money to support Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. He was taken into custody in July 1995 and Israel requested his extradition. The US courts agreed to ship him over here, until Israel changed its mind. The Netanyahu government reversed the extradition request for fear of retaliation by Hamas during and after Marzouks t trial and expected conviction in Israel.
Is this the same Netanyahu whose brother Yoni was killed leading the 1976 raid in Entebbe? Is this the same Netanyahu who writes about never succumbing to terrorism - the Netanyahu who specialized in combating terrorism? Abu Marzouk promised not to carry out terrorist attacks against Americans or Israeli civilians in return for his release and plane ticket to Jordan. Did he denounce terrorism? Are Israeli soldiers any less valuable than Israeli civilians? Yet, now Abu Marzouk is a free man, and you can be sure that in a very short time he will be back in the business he knows so well.
Next week Israel celebrates its 49th birthday. What kind of birthday present is Bibi giving the Israeli people? Perhaps todays actions are a good hint. Three structures, sitting on a hill top in the Israeli community of Yitzhar in the Shomron were destroyed, by order of Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. The houses were built three years ago, and according to Mordechai, they were illegally constructed, without the proper licensing. Yet, the previous Rabin-Peres administration saw no need to remove them. For some reason, it didnt bother them. But it bothered the Likud Defense minister. After a year in office. After they have been standing for three years.
So the Israeli riot squad went at it again. Their leader, Effie Havivian is on trial for police brutality, having beaten three Hebron women in Jerusalem after police arrested their daughters. This time the targets were Yitzhar citizens, protesting the destruction of the buildings. The riot squad did its job. Anybody in their path was battered - men, women and children. And the goal was achieved - the buildings were torn apart.
Why did Yitzhak Mordechai choose today? Very simply. Tonight President Ezer Weitzman met with Arafat to try and revamp the piece talks. The Yitzhak barbarism was to an act of conciliation - a gesture of good will. Yitzhars three buildings and their residents were sacrificed to appease Arafat.
Tonight I was interviewed on a San Francisco radio station, live from Jerusalem. The speaker before me was MK Yael Dayan, Moshe Dayans leftist daughter. She said, "we dont have to trust in G-d, rather only in ourselves, in our might, in our economy, in our soldiers. Bibi seems to be going in the direction of Yael - he is collapsing. Fifteen years ago, as Camp David, the precursor of Oslo, (not only in time, but also as a curse), led to the abandonment of Sinai, we sang Naomi Shemers tune, and pleaded: Please dont uproot the planted, Dont forget the hope. Then we were still able to speak, not only of the sting, but also of the honey, not only of the bitter, but also of the sweet. This time around the song might be different. The sting has grown and seems to be overtaking the honey, and the bitter is swallowing up the sweet. The only thing that is left is the good L-rd" to watch over us - and in spite of what Yael Dayan thinks, we really do need His help.