Monday, March 24, 2003

Swimming in the Mediterranean

Swimming in the Mediterranean
March 24, 2003


It was only a couple of months ago when terrorists knocked on the door of the Uzeri family, living in a make-shift house, just north of Kiryat Arba proper. When Nati answered the door, he was instantaneously shot and killed. Two children were injured. The terrorists arrived complete with materials to burn down the house. The fact that the others, including Nati’s wife Livnat, the children and guests survived was, in and of itself, a miracle.

Last night, at about midnight, the Uzeri home was swamped with dozens of soldiers, police and other security forces. The road between Kiryat Arba and Gush Etzion was closed to Israeli traffic. A curfew was declared in Kiryat Arba and the Givat HaHarsina neighborhood. The area surrounding the Uzeri home was declared a ‘closed military zone.’ Livnat, her children and several others living in three shacks, were forcibly evicted. Then the Uzeri’s home, along with the other “buildings” were brutally destroyed.

All the while, Livnat’s murdered husband Nati, was undoubtedly twisting and turning in his still fresh grave. One can only imagine him standing before the Holy Throne in the heavens, pleading before G-d, “this is my wife’s reward?” “This is what my children deserve?” “It was not enough that they lost their father, murdered before their eyes? Now they must watch their home destroyed, being viciously expelled, in the middle of the night?”

Nati Uzeri’s scorched voice echoes through the sky: “Dear G-d, all through the long history of our Galut, our exile and scattering amongst the nations, our people were persecuted and our homes were destroyed, but that was only to be expected, after all, we were Jews, living among those who hated us. Finally we came back to our beloved Eretz Yisrael, but here too, we were victimized. In Hebron, in 1929, our homes were devastated, men tortured, women raped, Torah scrolls burned – sixty seven dead, seventy wounded, and the survivors expelled. But this too could be expected. After all, there was no state, there was no army, there was no government. The cursed British, ruling in our land, were interested only in their own good and that of the Arabs. They cared not one iota about Jews.”
But now, my G-d, now, in the state of Israel, a state over 50 years old, our own people are repeating the acts of our enemies, not the Jew-haters of Spain, not the British empire, but the government of Israel, the Israeli army. They are standing by helplessly while Jews are cut down in their homes, and then their wives and families are evicted, forcibly expelled from their land?” “My G-d, what have we done to deserve this, that our own people have turned against us. Our enemy watches from the side, laughing, enjoying, saying to himself, “We will kill them and then inherit the land.” “My G-d, this is our reward, or is this our punishment? Why must my wife and children suffer so, at the hands of my people, in our land?”

And I ask, what can possibly be the answer? Can anyone answer Nati Uzeri? Perhaps the Israeli Supreme Court, that issued orders demanding all permanent structures on Hill 26 be evacuated and destroyed, due to claims of an Arab living in the vicinity? Did the Supreme Court take into consideration that two of those Arab neighbors would take up arms and murder Nati Uzeri in front of his family?
Or maybe the Israel army, which yesterday told a group of religious soldiers that they were on their way to Hebron for a ‘major operation,’ only to find themselves in the shoes of inquisitors, expelling a widow and orphans from their home?
Or maybe the Defense Minister, or Prime Minister, who, rather than protecting Jews in Eretz Yisrael, are watching them being slaughtered, and then giving orders to throw them off their land?

Who can answer Nati Uzeri’s howl? Who can dry widow Livnat Uzeri’s tears? Who can explain to the Uzeri orphans why it is forbidden to live normally in Eretz Yisrael, why their father was killed, why Israeli soldiers woke them from their sleep in the middle of the night, kicked them out of the home their murdered father had built with his own two hands, and then tore it down, in front of their eyes? How can they understand why, today, their books, toys, and furniture are ruined, in piles of rubble?

There are no answers, but there is an answer.  Too many people don’t care about Eretz Yisrael. They do not understand that Eretz Yisrael is our blood, running through the veins and arteries of our People. Why else would Jews be willing to burn at the stake, just to say “Next year in Jerusalem? Why else would Jews return to a barren, malaria-ridden wasteland, calling it ‘home’ after a 2,000 year exile? Why else would refugees from the camps leave the boats for the battlefield?

For the past week, cars and buses have been attacked on the road between Hebron and Jerusalem. Dozens of automobiles have been damaged by rocks, thrown by Arabs from their villages. This morning we received a pager message from Kiryat Arba security saying, ‘for the past few days massive stone-throwing from Beit Umar, El Arub and other places. Much damage to cars and buses. Already this morning, two buses and tens of cars damaged. The army hasn’t succeeded in overcoming the problem. Anyone who can do something should contact the commanding officer of the region.’

Why can’t the army stop the stone-throwing? Because they are busy tearing down houses of widows and orphans. Last night, police tried to forcibly take Livnat and her children to the city of Ariel in the Shomron, saying that they had “rented her an apartment there.” Thanks a lot.

It seems that Arik Sharon is seriously considering forcible evacuation of communities in Yesha. Otherwise, actions such as last night’s upheaval would not have occurred. The writing is on the wall. It’s time to wake up, before we find ourselves swimming in the Mediterranean.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

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