March 14, 2005
These days, with everything that's going on, it's not too difficult to get discouraged. Actually, it's fairly easy. But, just like anything else, in the end, it's not always the way it looks, rather it's the way you look at it.
For instance, I heard a story last week that can illustrate the point. Two children were playing, a toddler and his older brother. The baby picked up a small coin, put it in his mouth and swallowed it. Well, almost swallowed it. The coin got stuck in his throat and he started choking. His brother ran to get help and the boys' father, virtually putting his hand down the baby's throat, managed to extract the coin. All's well that ends well.
The next day the older brother approached his father and said to him, "Dad, from now on I'm willing to forgo my chocolate milk and cookie in the morning." The father, somewhat surprised, asked him why. "Well, after what happened yesterday…"
What does the coin getting stuck in your brother's throat have to do with your breakfast?" asked the father. "Well, I know we really can't afford it, so I'm willing to live without it." Seeing his father's still questioning look, he added, "look, you worked so hard to get that coin out of his throat, well, we must really need the money."
Of course, we can all laugh at the child's approach to life, but that's the way he saw it, from his vantage point. But vantage points can be distorted, even by us adults. Someone looking from afar might also be laughing at us, at our reactions to what is taking place around us.
For instance, I guess this week's big news is the Sasson report, written by one Talia Sasson, an attorney, working for the prosecutor's office.
If you'd like to know who Talia Sasson is, well, there are many many examples, but the one I remember best goes back a few years. The attorney general was Eliyakim Rubenstein, then still fairly new. A meeting was arranged between Hebron community leaders and him, to try and bring down the tension level between us and the prosecutor's office. One of the people at the meeting was Ms. Sasson. She had, sitting in front of her, a huge computer printout, about the size of the NY phone directory. At one point during the meeting, she spoke and said something like the following: "I went through the records and printed out, (picking up the printout), the crimes committed by Hebron's Jewish residents." As she started to open it up, to read out some of it's contents, I held my breath. What surprises did she have up her sleeve? What embarrassment were we about to face? "Listen here: insulting a police officer, insulting a police officer…" She began going through a list of 'criminal offenses.' "Preventing a police officer from carrying out his duty, insulting a police officer…etc. etc. etc." Those were the 'serious crimes' our residents were accused of. Not thievery, not drugs, not sexual assault, or the like. But her face was so grave, her voice so serious. In her opinion, we really were criminals.
As I said, this in only one of many examples, but we need not look any further. After all, if Ariel Sharon approached her, initiating her latest project, well, he knew exactly what he was looking for, and the results he would obtain, well before the report was written and conclusions reached.
Sharon requested from Ms. Sasson to investigate 'illegal communities' throughout Judea and Samaria – no, not illegal Arab settlements, rather 'illegal Jewish communities.' Ms. Sasson came up with something in the vicinity of one hundred and fifty such places. Wow! Yesha folk are not just lawbreakers - we are hardened criminals!
Immediately the illustrious Justice Minister, the Likud's own Tzippy Livny, jumped on the bandwagon, declaring the necessity to wipe these illegal monstrosities from the map, and now heads up a ministerial committee to investigate how and when to begin pushing the delete key.
It was truly heartwarming to hear that Education minister Limur Livnat's defense: 'Of over 100 such places, only 24 were constructed post 1991,' i.e., there must be a differentiation between those twenty four and all others. Whee, did I sigh a breath of relief.
Yet the bandwagon rolls on, with other Likud ministers, like Mufaz, Olmert and Shitrit, agreeing the Labor party demands to rid the earth of these abominations, which have brought such disgrace to the State of Israel. Such horror, Jews building on Eretz Yisrael. How terrible!
OK, I guess by now you've got the point. But just to be sure, what we are seeing today, be it in Gush Katif, or the northern Shomron, or throughout Judea and Samaria, is a declared war, against Eretz Yisrael. I mentioned this a few articles ago, and have seen it written by others also, but it must not be forgotten. These people, the Sassons, the Livnats, the Livnys, the Mufaz's the Sharons, and all the others, these people are reproductions of the ten spies who rejected Eretz Yisrael, some 3,500 years ago. But they might be considered worse than the spies, because these people have experienced what Eretz Yisrael is, over decades, they have tasted the 'sweetness of the land' and they know, all too well, the alternative. This week a new Holocaust museum is opening at Yad v'Shem in Jerusalem, again, bringing to light the horrors of our national life without Eretz Yisrael. Education Minister Livnat was quoted as saying that the inevitable lesson of the Holocaust can only be Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. Yet I get the impression that her Zionism exists only as a paper map, and perhaps some color pictures. But Jews, Living the Land, G-d forbid. How else can one explain her vote in the cabinet to expel Jews from their homes in Katif and the Shomron? How else can one explain her readiness to declare twenty four Jewish communities 'illegal settlements?!"
So, returning to our story of the little boy and his chocolate milk – why should anyone from the outside be laughing at us.
Simply because everything that is occurring today is a necessary stage in our return. Not only our return to our land, but our return to ourselves, to our self-understanding of who we are and what we are. The present current events are an indispensable clarification of our identity, and who, in reality, stands on which side of the line. All of those people we identified with, who we thought, quite mistakenly, were 'on our side,' well, now we know, for sure. It's like sifting the flour, separating the little insects crawling around, mixed together with the pure stuff. That's exactly what we are doing today.
Not easy, I agree. It even hurts. But sometimes medical procedures, used to save lives, cause pain and leave scars. But in the end, they bring extended life. So it is today. And I have no doubt that when the air clears and final results are in, whenever that spies like Talia Sasson will be long forgotten, and the land will be packed full of Jewish communities, with the expression 'illegal settlements' deleted the Hebrew lexicon.
In the end run we must remember, not "In Sharon We Trust," - not "In Bibi We Trust," - not even "In the National Religious Party We Trust" – rather, "In G-d, and only IN G-D We Trust!"
With blessings from Hebron.