Thursday, January 23, 2014

An open letter to Isi Leibler

The Jerusalem Post

Wow. You called me an extremist. While at the same time you compare Jews to Cossaks and KKK. To the best of my recollection both of those groups indiscriminately killed. I don't know of too many Jews who have done so. Certainly not those who you are attacking.

I have also decried so-called 'price-tag attacks.' There is no justification to burn down a Mosque or paint graffiti on Moslem holy places. But Cossacks. Do you remember what Cossacks did in Kishinev? And you dare to compare?

It must be noted that there is proof of Arabs destroying their own property and writing such phrases as Price –Tag (in Hebrew) on their own land.

But let's leave that for a moment.

You attacked my article about Ariel Sharon. So, first of all, I do not retract one work that I wrote. Perhaps I have one regret, that being that my words were not harsher.

You are upset that I called Sharon a monster.

So, if you will, Mr. Leibler, please take a few moments to read the following, written in Hebrew, by Rabbi Yigal Kirshenzaft. Perhaps you remember the name. He was a Chabad Rabbi in Gush Katif. He was shot and nearly killed. His recovery was miraculous.

So please read his words, written not too long ago:

The Sharon Sclerosis: The Weekly Diary from Nitzan
by Rabbi Yigal Kirshenzaft

Suddenly, and without prior notice, Miriam burst into tears uncontrollably . It happened at noon today at the spices store. Well, this is not really a store , there are no shops at Nitzan . This container was placed "illegally '' and became a store for selling peanuts .

"For every resident there will be a solution," said Israeli residents in television commercials , the twisted brainchild of the '' ranch '' . Until now, no established commercial center as had been promised for Nitzan : not one shop , one factory or one job . Do not think that the government is lazy. Threatening letters , demolition orders, threats, police are sent regularly to the hundreds of displaced in delicate flimsy mobile structures. Once upon a time they would come and repair the problems. "Do not ask what we are going thru"  said Miriam to my wife, when she met her at the 'store' and was  with tears : "My husband suffers from extreme diabetes since the expulsion. They chopped off one leg and we are fighting to save the other. We went to a private doctor which costs 3600 Nis per visit, to save his leg. We were there many times, but now we ran out of money and nobody helps us . The doctor told my husband that everything is caused 'from the head' , from the depression . What is there to do ? "

Yud Shvat . A historic date of Chabad history . For the past ten years, Chabad House of Gush Katif organizes the meeting for Yud Shvat with a memorial service held by the Ohayon family. The father Rabbi Avraham came from Yeruham to Neve Dekalim many years ago . He was privileged, R. Abraham , that his children and grandchildren lived around - because five of his children made their homes also in Gush Katif. On this date, 10 years ago, he heard Sharon 's announcement about the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. He collapsed and his heart stopped. Z"L (may his memory be blessed) . More precisely : HY"D. (May G-d Avenge his blood).

So many good people, our friends died from sorrow and heartbreak . This week we buried another member of Nitzan . Yisrael, z"l . Came from France and settled in Neve Dekelim with his large family . Since immigrating to Israel he would not leave. Heroes and generals  seemed to him to be angels . The greater the appreciation, the greater the fall. Israel built a '' permanent '' home in Nitzan but did not recovered from the expulsion. Z"L  HY"D.

According to the Ministry of Health, serious injury and deaths among expelled are twice the national average. Maybe this is what they meant, the  heads of state, saying that the problems of the deportees are resolved . Deceased, they meant.

After the expulsion, they threw us in to the hotel for two weeks. We were there for seven months. We were promised up to two years in a mobile home (hell in the summer.) Today hundreds of families are tormented, still living in dilapidated, flammable  buildings that the law prohibits human beings to live in.

Successors  of the ''ranch forum'' devised an ingenious invention: move the mobile communities to the ''permanent communities'' . But they still have not found anyone who will violate the law and approve the integrity of these'residential structures.'

Another invention are the sewer pipes . In light of the '' peace '' that came after expulsion , Nitzan residents also suffer from rockets launched from Gush Katif . Since all of our refugee camp , which is called a Nitzan , is made of plaster and cardboard, large  concrete sewer pipes were placed outside, where all the residents run to hide in during an alarm .

This week I met Avi, my best friend . His wife led him to the medical  clinic in Nitzan . A large clinic , given the many needs here, it has doubled in size. Avi barely recognized me. Suffering from a terminal illness , barely even remembers his name.

I went to visit Reuben. His  house is in the middle of construction , but he has no money to finish the job . The contractor fled in the middle of the work, as happened to many of his friends .

Now he is not working. His wife came down with the '' disease ''. "I have nothing to eat on Shabbat," he said. "I never request help, but I have no choice . Trips for therapies , drugs. In Gush Katif I was a king," he whined . " I helped everyone, but today I'm finished ." I left him an envelope with lots of cash. So he could buy food for Shabbat and for gas for traveling to treatments .

Chabad trys to help as much as possible , but the needs here are so great. We endeavor to fulfill the mission that the Rebbe gave us : to rejoice and delight .

Even welfare department has difficulty helping all that need,  and sends the needy to charitable organizations.

This is everyday life at Nitzan . Chava came home today from hospitalization with bad diabetes. " I know that it is from nerves and anger ," she said . But what can I do ?" Her husband abandoned her , her son went to Germany and doesn't  want to hear about the state that betrayed him .

This week , finally, the new school opened in Nitzan - after ten years when students have not had a normal, regular place to study. They went from a hotel room, to leaky classrooms , to a community center. They are still wallowing in the mud to get there,  but thank G-d at least have a structure .

This week , unusually , there were smiling faces in the streets Nitzan . It was during Sharon 's funeral . At Synagogue it was declared : "Today we will not say supplication during prayers " !

 The sad reality was caused by somebody.  His name is Ariel Sharon . Right, everything that happens is determined in the heavens, but people are led in the direction they deserve to go in. It is difficult to understand how a general and military hero deteriorates so greatly; How a Jewish leader , head of state, abandoning the lives of hundreds of thousands of its citizens to save himself from prison , to absolve himself of the punishment his friend received . He was convicted and is in prison for giving him a bribe .

How evil must you be to abuse and destroy the great life of thousands of Jews and expel them , to uproot 49 dead righteous from their graves , destroying synagogues , Talmud Torah and facilities – evil acts no worse than what was done to us by those who hate us ? ? ?

This crime is very painful and unforgivable. The depth of the withdrawal should be the scope of the investigation .

One request to you Arik: Now you are in the world the truth.

 Please reveal yourself to he who has replaced you as leader  and update him on the mistakes you made, that he should not, G-d  forbid, repeat the terrible crime of uprooting Jews from their land . Make sure from above, that the fruits of his work will not be like yours.

 It should be that these are the last pains of messiah and we will soon be really true and complete redeemed and God also will return to his Bayit – Beit HaMikdash.

So now I ask you, Mr. Leibler, is he a monster? Or not? Perhaps it's me, the 'settler.' Or Rabbi Kirshenzaft, the 'Messianic Chabad fanatic?' Or all those who lived in, and were expelled from Gush Katif, because, how dare they…..

how dare they what, Mr. Leibler?

Mr. Leibler, I do not view myself as an extremist. Rather as an idealist. I don't only write my ideals, I live them. But also express them to others. I do not force anyone to think as I do, but freedom to think, to express, to believe, is a tenet of our lives as a free people.

I tend to see extremists as Hizbullah, Hamas, Fatach, Al-Qaeda, the Syrians, Iranians, and yes, also, people like Sharon, who, as an elected leader, rather than  implement the ideas for which he was elected, believed in by those who voted for him, he betrayed that trust and forceed destructive policies upon his people. For his own personal reasons. For his own personal gain.

If this is not a monster, I don't know what is.

But, should it be decided that I really am an extremist, I will wear such a crown with joy and delight, proud that I may express what I believe, and what I know to be, without any doubt, truth.

I prefer this title to that of, what is called in Hebrew, a 'yafe nefesh' – translated as 'bleeding heart,' trying to find favor amongst others via condemnation, while turning a blind eye towards victims, denying truth.

I can only suggest that you look yourself in the mirror and decide for yourself, who you are, and what you are. Then, if you are truthful with yourself, maybe you'll apologize for labeling Jewish youth Cossacks.

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