Monday, August 23, 2004

Honey from a Rock

Honey from a Rock
August 23, 2004


A couple of days ago I noticed an interesting feature in Ma’ariv newspaper. Headlined “No entrance to settlers,” the article went on to describe attempts being made by 115 countries to prevent Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza from entering their countries. These so-called unaligned nations include almost all of Africa, most of Asia and Central and South America. The conference also called for severe political and economic sanctions against Israel. All of this, allegedly a reaction to Israel’s refusal to obey the International Court ruling in Hague, outlawing the ‘fence’ which is transforming Israel into a ghetto. Where was this conference held? In the infamous city of Durban in South Africa. You might recall that Durban is where, in 2001, Yassir Arafat declared that is the last of the colonial nations and that colonialism must disappear. He stated that Israel is racist and in the words of Charles Krauthammer, “… Arafat did not just declare his own rejection of Israel’s right to exist. He tried to enlist the entire international community to join in the rejection.”
So it comes as no great surprise that Durban is again the home of virulent anti-Israel  declarations.
How did Israel react to this latest disgrace? A Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying, “this is only a declaration, not something which can be implemented in the near future.” In addition, he said, “it will be difficult to identify a settler because passports do not show a person’s accurate address.”
That’s a response to a brutal attack on Israeli citizens – which they will be difficult to identify? Why didn’t the foreign ministry offer tit for tat – in the vein that ‘all Israelis are settlers’ – if one Israeli isn’t allowed in, we won’t allow any Israelis into your country.’ Keep in mind that Israeli tourists flock to places like Thailand and India – an injunction forbidding Israelis from visiting these countries would make a dent in their tourism. In addition, Israel should make it clear – if you boycott us, we will boycott you! Who needs you!
But no. The lukewarm answer to blatant racism against Jews is ludicrous – you won’t be able to identify them. It makes you wonder.

Or does it? The events taking place in Israel today also make you wonder. Yesterday a new government agency came into being – it is called Minhelet Sela. Sela, in Hebrew, means rock, and in this case is an acronym for Siuya l’Toshavei Hevel Aza – which in English means Assistance to residents of Gaza. In other words, this is the first official Israeli ‘disengagement’ agency assisting Jews to abandon their homes and their land in Eretz Yisrael, and more specifically, in Gush Katif and northern Shomron. It is designed to offer monetary bribes, otherwise known as financial compensation to Gush Katif residents, hoping to convince them to ‘leave peacefully.’

It seems that Ariel Sharon is determined to be remembered in history, among other things, as the great dictator. He totally disregarded the Likud referendum, which rejected the abandonment of Gush Katif and eviction of its Jewish residents. Now, again, he is ignoring last week’s vote of the Likud Central Committee which effectively condemns, not only a so-called unity government with Peres and Co., but also the desertion of  Gaza. Sharon has tossed democracy to the dogs, at least where he is concerned, and is following a cataclysmic path. It’s like playing a game with two sets of rules, one for me and one for you. We have to play within the guidelines of  ‘law and order’ and democracy. Sharon can do whatever he wants, no holds barred.

Such is the commencement of Sela. The government has not yet officially decided to abandon Gush Katif. The Knesset has not yet ratified any laws allowing legal financial bribes to persuade families to leave their homes and land. There is absolutely no legal framework from which Sharon can offer money to anyone. Yet he is going forward, full steam ahead.

The director of Sela is none other than a ‘religious’ kibbutznik for Sde Eliyahu, in the Beit Sha’an Valley. His name is Yonatan Bassi and his phone number is: 972-4-6096620. His fax is: 972-4-6581090. The phone number of the Sela office is: 972-2-5311028. Its fax is: 972-2-6529271.

Why advertise these numbers? I firmly believe that disengagement is a good idea. The question is, who disengages from what? So, I would like to suggest two possibilities:

There is a Biblical verse towards the end of the Deuteronomy, when Moses is speaking before his death. Speaking about the people of Israel, he says, “He (G-d) made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he did eat the fruit of the field; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock (Sela), and oil out of the flinty stone. In other words, if it is possible to find honey and oil in rocks, than anyone can discover the positive, even in the hardest places. So we too, have to suck honey from the rock, from the Sela.

So I suggest that you call Yonatan Bassi and send him faxes with one (or both) of the following ideas:
  1. Yes, I too believe in disengagement – we must disengage our enemies for our land. Any foreigner who rejects the legitimacy of the State of Israel and preaches or practices violence against Israelis, must be disengaged from Israel. All Arabs who are not willing to live peacefully must be disengaged, and sent elsewhere. We suggest that you offer our Islamic neighbors financial compensation to leave, and leave us alone.
  2. Yes, I too believe in disengagement – all Jews must disengage from the Galut – from the Diaspora. We must all move to Eretz Yisrael. However it is not easy to leave one’s home and employment. For this, we need financial assistance. So please, help us to move to our land, to Kfar Darom, to Netzarim, to Neve Dekalim, please help us cover our costs, assist us in disengaging from the likes of those preaching hate in Durban, South Africa. Help bring us back home.

I would expect that if Yonatan Bassi gets several thousand calls and faxes each day, he’ll get the idea. Maybe he’ll even pass it on to his Boss. Maybe then, despite his unbelievably hard head, something will sink in. Remember, if it’s possible to extract honey from a rock, even Arik can be persuaded.

With blessings from Hebron.

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