Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lava of Love for Eretz Yisrael

Lava of Love for Eretz Yisrael

August 31, 2006


A few days my wife and I, together with our two youngest children, (aged 11 and 15) took a break from Hebron city life and drove up north. All the way up north. To Kiryat Shemona.


Actually, we had been planning on going north at the beginning of August. However, at that time, Nasrallah, Olmert and G-d had other plans for that part of the country. So we had to wait.


Life in Kiryat Shemona is, at least for tourists like us, back to normal. People moving around, cars, shopping, restaurants, etc. On the other hand, it was difficult to escape an intuitive impression that life was, very much, not really back to normal. It takes a little time to readjust after having had missiles being shot into your homes. In Hebron we had some experience with such events. True, we didn't have rockets being shot at us, but two years of bullets isn't a bad second.  


Sunday night we had dinner with old friends. It was a nice evening of 'catch-up." Monday morning we went 'kayaking' – that is, river rafting, down the Hatzbani river.  If you've already done it, obviously you're having a difficult time waiting for a repeat performance. If you've never done it, you don't know what you're missing.


Gliding down the river in a rubber boat, or kayak, soaking in the scenery, heating up under the hot sun and then cooling off in the refreshing water, playing 'splash games' with the kids and colliding with other water-travelers; it's two hours of totally losing yourself, forgetting the real world, simply drifting, mind and body alike.


Unfortunately, the two hour water venture finishes much too soon. As you disembark you feel like you could do it again and again and again. However…


Reality quickly reminds you that the Garden of Eden is still something of a fantasy.


Leaving the Hatzbani, we looked for something else to do before leaving the area. We sighted signs to Tel Chai and decided to make the short ride there.


Tel Chai is located on the outskirts of Kiryat Shemona, sort of between the roads leading to Misgav Am and Metulla. It became famous during the skirmishes between the French and the Arabs during World War One. The Arabs, thinking that the Jews were assisting the French, attacked them and the small villages they had founded along the Israel-Lebanon border. One of these outposts was called Tel Chai.

At the end of 1919, a former Russian war hero named Joseph Trumpeldor was asked to take command and find a way to protect the few isolated settlements and their meager population. It was an almost hopeless task.


Arguments raged amongst the Jewish leadership of pre-State Israel. Interestingly, according to the movie shown at the site, David ben Gurion favored sending reinforcements, saying that Jews must be protected wherever they are. On the other hand, Zeev Jabotinsky preferred to evacuate the civilians due to the excessive danger.


On March 1, 1920 – the 11th of Adar, six Jews were killed at Tel Chai, including the one-armed Trumpeldor. His famous last words, heard by three people were, "It's nothing, it's good to die for the sake of our homeland." The outpost was burned to the ground and evacuated. A year later, Jews returned to the area and reestablished a Jewish presence in the north of Eretz Yisrael.


Trumpeldor and his fallen friends were buried on the outskirts of one of these communities, Kfar Giladi, and a huge stone lion was place above their common grave, called 'the roaring lion.'


After viewing the movie, we took a short ride to the cemetery, to see the lion. It really is quite impressive. However the lasting impression wasn't formed from the lion. It came from the blackened areas, surrounding the cemetery. Black, burnt, from the katusha rockets recently aimed at our homeland by our enemies, from only a few kilometers away. It left a very empty feeling in my stomach. On the one hand, such courage, such heroism, and on the other hand, a big question mark, where has it all gone?


From Tel Chai-Kiryat Shemona we drove a few hours south, reaching Zichron Ya'akov. A tourist town, not far from the Mediterranean, Zichron Ya'akov sports a seemingly unending amount of coffee shops and restaurants. Being that there's a limit how many breakfasts you can eat, we wandered the streets and happened upon another historic site – the Aaronson home. We bought tickets and went inside.


In Israel, the Aaronson family, Sarah Aaronson, Aharon Aaronson, and their colleague, Avshalom Feinberg, are almost a synonym for dedication and heroism. Initiating one of the first Jewish spy rings in Israel in 2,000 years,  called "Nili" – (Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker – the eternity of Israel will not be silenced), the group assisted the British fighting against the Turks and the Ottoman Empire during World War One. They had one goal: to oust the Turkish invader and prepare conditions for the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.


Feinberg was killed by Bedouins in the Sinai, when trying to make contact with the British. Twenty-seven year old Sarah, after having been captured and tortured by the Turks, committed suicide so as not to reveal secrets she knew about the organization and fellow members.  Others were captured and hanged.


In the Aaronson house, seeing the bathroom where Sarah shot herself to protect others, you get goose pimples, you can experience the electricity of moments that occurred almost 90 years ago. 


And again, that sensation, the same one felt at Tel Chai. On the one hand, such unbelievable heroism, and on the other, where has it all gone? The Aaronson's and their compatriots never had a chance, and more than likely, they knew it. Who did they have behind them? There was no Jewish army, no state, virtually nothing. We are talking about Eretz Yisrael of  1915-1916-1917. (Sarah died the day after Succot, in 1917.)


Despite their miniscule chances of success, they refused to despair. A small group of dedicated Jews, against the Ottoman empire. One of those captured and hung in Damascus, Yosef Lishanski, moments before his death, declared: "We are not traitors, we did not betray our homeland, for before their can be treachery, there must first be love. We never loved the [Ottoman] homeland; we hated it the supreme hate...those of us, members of Nili, headed by the 'great Jew' (Aharon Aaronson), have dug you a huge grave, disgraced Ottomans...For as you are busy hanging us, the great British army is entering our holy city, Jerusalem and your armies are fleeing from the city without a fight."


Such dedication, such courage, such heroism,  - there aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe these people, the Trumpeldors, the Aarnonsons and Feinbergs, and others like them, who laid down their lives for one thing and one thing alone: for Eretz Yisrael.


And today I can only ask: where has it all gone? Has that same love of the land that they died for disappeared?


Despite the superficial illusions, I think not. The love is still there. But it has been buried, deep inside our souls. It no longer glows and shines as it did for Sarah Aaronson. The brainwashing of 'reality,' the indoctrination of 'a palestinian homeland,' the propaganda of self-hate, the lies of wolves in sheep's clothing, whose sole desire is the eradication of the State of Israel, all have obscured love of the homeland. Trumpeldor's and Aaronson's love of Eretz Yisrael wasn't contrived, it was natural, as natural as eating, sleeping and breathing. And dying for what you believe in.


Nature isn't easily changed.  We need only dig a little, and when we hit it, it will spout forth as a volcano spews lava – the lava of love for our land, for all our land, for Eretz Yisrael.


That's the lesson of this year's vacation.


With blessings from Hebron.


For reasons beyond my control, this article and others I author will not appear on the Hebron web site. You are invited to comment at:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Israelis or Jews? by David Wilder

Israelis or Jews?

August 24, 2006


IDF reservists are petitioning a demand for answers. Why weren't they allowed to win? Why were the decision-makers indecisive? IDF officers have started confessing: "We are arrogant."  


Blame is flying every which way and finger-pointing is at its peak. Yet, the real point has yet to be addressed.


A few days ago, following Olmert's statements that the next planned expulsion of some 100,00 Jews from Judea and Samaria is no longer on the top of his priority list, I received an email dealing with 'convergence.' In my words, the letter said, 'It's not enough to see expulsion dropped from 'number-one' priority. We have to make sure it is dead and buried, never again to be resurrected.'


Very true. How can we make sure that happens?


Why did we lose the Hizballah war? Because the Israeli army, rather than prepare for battle with the enemy, prepared for war with its brethren. The government spent millions of dollars and immeasurable man-hours training the troops, not how to win a guerilla war against terrorist-barbarians, rather, how to expel men, women and children from their homes, 'b'regishut' – sensitively, but with 'nechishut' but with resolve. The brainwashing involved  was unparalleled: One example: Participants were told to close their eyes and imagine the most beautiful scene they could think of –where they would most like to be. That accomplished, they were then told to imagine that a wall now divides between their utopia and themselves.


Following the imaging, with eyes wide open, they were then told: The dream is peace, and the wall is the 'settlers.' The one must be removed in order to reach the other.


Who were those brainwashed? Not only the man on the street, the privates and the corporals. Rather, the cream of the crop, officers in the standing army and the reserves, of all ranks. They were forced to listen, breath, and then implement, the crime of all crimes: evicting brothers and sisters from their homes and then abandoning the land to the enemy – an act never ever done before by any  people in the world.


From the moment Sharon, together with Olmert, and later with the backing of Mufaz, decided to eradicate Gush Katif from the map, the IDF was transformed into a WMD – a weapon of mass destruction – or perhaps better put, a weapon of mass self-destruction. The physical and psychological demands upon the officers and soldiers, as well as the time lost preparing for a civil war rather than a real war, there were major factors in the recent lack of victory.


However, the decision-makers who forced Gush Katif down the collective throat of the Israeli public, how can we possibly expect them to have the necessary intellect to reach  the proper and necessary conclusions concerning authentic warfare, upon which the survival of the country may be at stake?


What is guiding light of these decision-makers?


I recently heard a true, hair-raising story: A high-level delegation from Israel met with the French minister of war. The goal: to achieve French support for the 'convergence-expulsion' plan. The minister asked the group: How can a country perpetrate such an act against its own people? The answer: "We are Israelis. Those being expelled are Jews." 


In other words, we are two peoples, two nations, two seemingly mutually exclusive sects: Israelis and Jews.


All well and good until it comes time for dying. When called upon to put your life on the line, it seems those lines get blurred. Then we are all ---- what? Jews? Israelis? What are we then? Who are the soldiers dying for, for Jews, for Israelis, for whom?


We lost the war in the north because we forgot who we are – what we are, and why we are here, why we are fighting. The IDF – the Israeli Defense Forces, perhaps should change its name to the JDF – to the Jewish Defense Forces, because that is the root of our legitimate right to wear uniforms, carry weapons, and if need be, die for our land and our country. Because we are Jews, fighting for our land and our people, not fighting against our land and against our people.


As we begin the month of Elul, with Rosh HaShana just around the corner, it would be wise to do a little soul-searching in hopes of mending the tremendous rifts in our society. A good place to begin would be at our roots, at the source of our being, remembering that we are one people, in one land, under one G-d.


Chodesh Tov – a good month.


With blessings from Hebron.


Following posting of this article on Arutz 7, I received the following newspaper clipping from a reader:
On the day following his defeat by Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1996 election for prime minister, Peres had this exchange with a journalis:

Interviewer: What happened in these elections? Peres: We lost.
Interviewer: Who is we? Peres:
We, the Israelis.
And who won? Peres: All those wo don not have an Israeli mentality.
Interviewer: And who are they? Peres:
Call it the Jews.
(Available in 'What Shimon Says' – Published by AFSI)



Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Lessons of 2006

The Lessons of 2006

August 11, 2006


A number of years ago I authored an article titled, 'The Lessons of 1929,' a version of which was printed in the Jerusalem Post. The gist of the article was trust no one but yourself. Don't place your security, the lives of your family, friends, and country in the hands of foreigners. First and foremost, our security is in the hands of G-d. However, the good L-rd doesn't expect us to sit home and watch while He strikes down evil with lightening and thunder from the heavens. We are commanded to protect ourselves, be it on a personal or public level. Personally, each and every person must take care of themselves. Publicly, our government is responsible for the security and welfare of its citizens.


In 1921, Hebron's Jewish leadership erroneously believed that they could trust their next-door neighbors to protect them. After all, during the 1929 riots, Hebron's Jews came to no harm. Despite offers by the Hagana to provide weapons and protection, the Jewish Hebronites preferred to leave well enough alone, and refused any outside assistance or interference.


The results speak for themselves.


The modern state of Israel, catastrophically following in the footsteps of 1929 Hebron, fell into the same self-created trap, this time called Oslo. The tenets of Oslo were axiomatic: Israel could not, and would not achieve peace and security without full coordination and full cooperation from the so-called Palestinian government and security forces. If they played the game our way, all would be OK. If not, tough luck.


They played the game, their way. At a cost inexpressible in numbers or words. Close to two thousand dead and tens of thousands wounded does not do justice to the cataclysm. Who can enumerate the pain and grief of orphans and widows?


When looking in the mirror, in the reflection behind us, there is no one to blame. The proverbial 'finger' is pointing straight ahead, at us. We did it to ourselves.


A year ago, again. Seeing the wondrous result of the Lebanese retreat, Israel made the same mistake once more. The expulsion from, and abandonment of Gush Katif could and would undoubtedly solve all our problems. The Arabs would get what they want, the rest of the world would be appeased, and Israel would live happily ever after for eternity.


Israel's leadership forgot one thing: Middle East eternity is spelled b-r-i-e-f.


Soon the mortars being aimed at Gush Katif's saintly Jewish population were transformed into Kasam missiles and were targeting Sderot and Ashkelon. Terrorist forces invaded Israeli army bases, killing and capturing soldiers. Acts of war.


And the adventures up north are all too fresh, the wounds still pouring blood like a faucet of water to have to add too much. But something has to be said, as we seeming are on the verge of another disastrous capitulation.


Recent past history: Ehud Barak was considered to be an excellent soldier, and his brilliance led to his appointment as Chief of Staff of the IDF in 1991, serving in that position until 1995. Almost immediately following his retirement from the army he entered politics, becoming Interior Minister in the Rabin government in early 1995. Upon Rabin's assassination be became Peres' Foreign Minister and was elected Labor party leader after Peres' defeat, in 1997. In May, 1999 he was elected Prime Minister of Israel. Almost exactly a year later he ordered the IDF to flee from South Lebanon. Less than a year later he was no longer Prime Minister.


Journalist/Author Raviv Drucker titled his book about Barak "Harikari – Ehud Barak, the Failure." That just about says it all. Barak's greatest mistakes, offering Arafat 90% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem, and his abandonment of northern Israel, led to his speedy political demise.




Barak had no political experience whatsoever. He was a soldier, a soldier's soldier. But generalling, and running a country are two different things. And trying to govern Israel, a state of Jews, is all the more complicated. The considerations, the results, the repercussions, all demand more than a brilliant mind and a few decades in uniform. Barak was missing the necessary components essential for international give and take. In simple terms, he blew it. The only problem is, if a minor employee 'blows it,' so, big deal. When a Prime Minister, who is responsible for survival of the Jewish State 'blows it,' take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Big, big time disaster.


You would think that Israel, it's citizens, would have learned. But no, we have to go back and run a repeat performance.


Who has been running Israel for the past few months?


Who is Ehud the Second?

In the IDF, after being injured, he was a journalist. He was a Knesset member. His cabinet positions: Minister without portfolio, Responsibility for Minority Affairs, Health Minister, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Minister of Communications. For a short time, after Netanyahu broke with Sharon, he was Finance Minister. He became acting Prime Minister following Sharon's stroke.


He was also Mayor of Jerusalem.


His wife, Aliza, is a well-known leftist activist, who, according to the 'wikipedia' is rumored to have been a founding member of "Women in Black."

His daughter Dana, a lesbian, is active in the left-wing organization "Machsom Watch." His son Shaul, lives in New York. His son Ariel studies in France and did not serve in the IDF. []


Is this Prime Minister material? Does he have the capabilities to decide when to go to war, how to run the war, how to end the war? He has neither the brilliance nor the experience of Ehud the First, and what a failure he was! What could we possibly expect from such a mediocre successor?!


Who is Defense Minister Amir Peretz? Reaching the rank of captain, Peretz was wounded during the Yom Kippur War. He became an leader in Peace Now in the early 1980s. In 1983 he became Mayor of Sderot. In 1988 he was elected to Knesset and in 1994 became Deputy Chairman of the Israeli Labor organization, the Histadrut. He became chairman a year later. Upon election as Chairman of the Labor party in November, 2005, he had never served in the Israeli Cabinet. []


Who is Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni? A lawyer, she was elected to Knesset in 1999 and has served as Minister of: Regional cooperation, Agriculture, Immigrant Absorption, Housing and Construction, and for a short time, Justice


These are the three people running Israel. Together with Chief of Staff Dan Haluz, whose experience as commander of the Air Force failed to provide him with the proper tools necessary to lead an army to war.


In an article published in HaAretz on August 4, Ari Shavit wrote: Israel failed in the first three stages of the war of 2006. The air offensive failed, the limited ground offensive failed and the days of the hesitation and confusion of post-Bint Jbail failed. As a result, Israel was perceived to be helpless in the face of a sub-state terrorist organization that was battering it repeatedly without being vanquished.. The political establishment failed… The military establishment failed… The Israeli elites failed. The capitalists, the media and the academics of the 21st century failed in that they bedazzled Israel and deprived it of its spirit. Their recurrent illusions about the historical reality in which the Jewish state exists led Israel to navigate poorly and lose its way…While the broad Israeli public displayed sobriety, determination and staying power in all the tests it faced in the past decade, the elites disappointed. They imparted to Israeli youth a flawed set of values, which makes it very difficult for them to charge ahead when charging ahead is indisputably just. A country in which there is no equality, no justice and no belief in the justness of its path, is a country for which no one will charge ahead. And, in the Middle East of the 21st century, a state for which many of its young people are not willing to kill and be killed, is a state living on borrowed time. A state that is not sustainable.


Today, August 11, he writes: It's time for truth, not spin: First there was the aerial spin…After that came the ground spin…Then came the diplomatic spin…At the same time, there was the civilian spin... No more. The culture of lies that has surrounded the war from its first day must disappear. The attempt to confront an existential challenge by means of virtual false presentations must cease. A war is not a real-estate transaction, or even an election campaign. It invites a real encounter with history, which is looking deep into our eyes…A war of spin is a war that is divorced from reality, without an accurate reading of the map and without the necessary determination; a war without a goal and without a vision. Such a war cannot lead to victory.


And Shavit, in another article called  'Olmert cannot remain in the prime minister's office': …However, one thing should be clear: If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.

There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month. He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army's original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front…


As guilty as Olmert is, as guilty as Peretz is, as guilty as Livni and Halutz are, our finger-pointing must be directed not only at them and their cronies. We, all of us, the citizens of the state of Israel, and perhaps also Jews around the world, must take a good look at ourselves and ask: how did we allow this to happen? Are we really that stupid; or blind; or just plain apathetic?


The handwriting was on the wall – we've been asking for this for over a decade, since we signed and implemented the first Olso Accords, culminating with the abandonment from Gush Katif and continuing with Olmert's declarations about the next stage: expulsion of one hundred thousand Jews from Judea and Samaria and forsaking  that land to our enemies.


If we are truthful with ourselves, reach the necessary conclusions and implement them, then maybe, maybe, it will all have been worth it. We must realize, first and foremost, that Eretz Yisrael belongs to Am Yisrael and only Am Yisrael. We need not answer to anyone, no nation, no people, excepting the Creator of the World. He gave us this land, he created this people, and instructed us how to live. If we are willing to live according to those rules, within those guidelines, we will be victorious. If we decide otherwise, we will continue to be vanquished. It's as simple as that.


Let that be the 'Lessons of 2006.'

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Who's the Fool?

Who´s the Fool?

August 6, 2006

A number of people have approached me, asking why I've refrained from writing, expressing an opinion about the current situation in Israel.

In truth, I've had trouble writing for the past year. Gush Katif threw me totally out of kilter. And my thoughts concerning many different sorts of 'leaders' are so severe that I've had second thoughts about expressing myself via the written word.

However, perhaps the time has come to end this self-imposed exile. But I must warn all those who continue to read. What I have to say is not easy to think, not easy to write, and surely will not be easy to read. As found on various internet sites, usually before viewing pictures: Warning: these words may not find favor in your eyes.

There – you've been warned.

The past few weeks have found my thoughts somewhat hybrid – the war and Gush Katif. And not necessarily in that order. A year is a long time, but it's also a very short time. It's difficult to reflect – in order to reflect you have to be able to step back, to view from a perspective – a perspective of time and distance. Gush Katif is still much too close to be able to really step back. And it's not just the pictures. A few days ago I posted almost 250 photographs of mine from Gush Katif. It's difficult to look at them and not cry – it was so beautiful – as I once described Kfar Darom, a Gan Eden, a Garden of Eden, a paradise. How can one, using his own two hands, destroy a paradise?

However, it's not just the pictures. Story time: Numerous times last year, I mentioned my friends from Kfar Darom, the Sudri family. About a month ago, their daughter Tamar (made famous in a picture of her, all orange) visited us. She and her family now live in a monstrously dangerous city – Ashkelon, which has come under fire from Arab-launched missiles, launched not far from Tamar's old home in Kfar Darom.

Tamar sat with us, joining us for a pleasant Shabbat meal, when she told us the following story: She had to travel north, and at her parents' request, went by train, rather than hitching a ride. She sat in a car with two other people, both men, both in uniform. At some point the train came to an abrupt unscheduled stop. Some kind of problem was going to cause a lengthy delay. After a little while the three passengers began playing a word game: each would name a letter and then have to name a place starting with that same letter. Eventually the letter 'Kaf' was mentioned and Tamar immediately said "Kfar Darom," which starts with the letter "Kaf." One of the soldiers exclaimed, "That's not a place. It doesn't exist."

Tamar: "Of course it exists."

1st soldier: "But it doesn’t exist anymore.

2nd soldier: I second that – I helped evict such-and-such a family from Kfar Darom."

1st soldier: "I was there too. I bulldozed down houses. And if I ever find that family whose house I tore down, I'll kill them. Their house destroyed my bulldozer."

Time-out for explanation: Due to the continued rocket attacks on Kfar Darom, the families had to add a very heavy protective substance to their roofs, effectively making them 'rocket-proof.' When the houses were being destroyed, these rooftops fell on the bulldozers, causing them major damage.

Tamar: Oh, really? Which house did you bulldoze that caused such damage to your vehicle?

1st soldier: The house which was … and he described exactly where the house was.

Tamar, livid and barely breathing, whispered back: I lived there, in Kfar Darom, in that house – that was my home.

The two soldiers paled and immediately shut up. The game came to an end. Shortly afterwards the train began moving again. As soon as it came to a station, the two men fled, even though they hadn't yet reached their destination.

Can you possibly image, coming face to face with the person who shredded your house, for no reason whatsoever – bulldozed it, the way you knock down a building of blocks? I certainly cannot. I've told this story to numerous people, but even writing it, it brings tears to my eyes. How can people, Jewish people, be so cruel to their own brethren?

So maybe now others will accuse me of the same cruelty, maybe even worse. So be it.

It is so clear that everything we are facing today in the north (and in the south, which seems to conveniently been forgotten), is a direct result of last year's expulsion and abandonment of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Years ago, following the abandonment of Sinai and outbreak of hostilities on the northern border, Hebron-Kiryat Arba Rabbi, Rav Dov Lior, said time and time again, one is the result of the other. Israel thought that relinquishment of land would lead to peace. G-d is proving to us otherwise.

Ditto the present.

However today is even worse. Today we are being attacked from the very land we abandoned to our enemies. And to add icing to the cake, the so-called prime minister, in the midst of the battles, proudly exclaims that he plans to continue with the absurdity: the 'victory' over Hizballah in Lebanon will act as a hoist with which he will continue to rid the Jewish people of its G-d-given land throughout Judea and Samaria. So that the enemy will have an easier time knocking down planes entering and leaving Ben Gurion airport.

One might ask: if G-d is trying to teach us a lesson, why must the innocent suffer? All those in the north, now without homes, having fled, or somehow living in bomb shelters? Tens and hundreds of thousands of people, refugees in their own land. It seems so cruel.

Where were all these, tens and hundreds of thousands when thousands of rockets fell on Kfar Darom, Neve Dekalim, and all the other communities in Gush Katif? Where was Israel radio when terrorists plagued Gush Katif, day after day. Where were 'good Israelis' when a criminal decision was made to uproot thousands from their homes. No noise, no protest, no nothing. Just quiet. And amongst many, happiness. 'Ah, at last. Finally. Now maybe we'll see the beginning of peace with our neighbors.'

I have trouble finding any sympathy in my heart for the communities to the north of Gush Katif, who have been coming under Kasam rocket fire – all the left-wing kibbutzim and moshavim, who couldn't wait to see the trucks full of furniture leaving Gush Katif. Did they really think that it wouldn't happen to them? Where are they now?

And I have trouble finding sympathy in my heart for the hundreds of thousands up north who have no where to go. Where were they when Eretz Yisrael was being ripped apart? Where were they when other Jews were being torn from their homes and stuffed in hotel rooms like cattle. Where have they been for the past year, while thousands of people have been left unemployed, their livelihoods destroyed, at the drop of Sharon's proverbial pin, the decision of a madman, who thought that the destruction of Gush Katif would answer all his problems. To the contrary. Gush Katif brought about his downfall. His successor thinks it can't and won't happen to him? Let's wait and see.

The country, the people, have to learn a lesson. As the saying goes, when you play with fire, you get burnt. We keep playing, and we keep getting burnt, but then we go back and make the same mistake again.

The ironies of the war are too great to be overlooked. Mr. Mustache, Mr. Peace himself, trying to lead the charge into Lebanon, as Defense minister. I have no sympathy, none whatsoever, for those supposed leaders, whose terms of office will almost certainly come to a swift end as a result of their overwhelming ineptitude. Leading the troops into the Gusk Katif decimation, Ehud Olmert and Tzippy Livni thought that following in the footsteps of Sharon would be easy. They are starting to learn otherwise. As soon as the war ends, and the enormity of their mistakes is realized, they, together with Peretz, will fall from public office, never to be heard of again, except perhaps in the history books, where they will be shamed and ridiculed.

Why? Because Israel has lost a war to group of terrorist guerrillas. Not to a foreign power, not to the Syrians, Iranians, Egyptians, rather to Nasrallah and Hizballah. There's no way around it. We lost this one. Even if the seeming 'end result' is spun out into a major PR victory. Why? Because Nasrallah has shown the whole world how a small group of guerrillas can turn Israel upside down, how they can kill Israelis, soldiers and civilians, and force hundreds of thousands from their homes. It makes no difference if Nasrallah survives the war or not. He has won. He has proven, following in the footsteps of Arafat, that Israel is not invincible. If he can do it, anyone can. It is truly miraculous that our surrounding neighbors have not yet taken advantage of our unbelievable weakness and joined the party. Why not? The present Israeli leadership, totally inexperienced, totally stunned and dizzied by the ferocity of the Hizballah rocket attacks, wouldn't know how to respond to coordinated Syrian-Egyptian-Jordanian attacks on Israel. All we have left is to pray to G-d in heaven that this catastrophe ends before our enemies can get their act together.

Yet, with all of the anger and bitterness towards these 'leaders,' there has to be a small small space left for pity. After all, our people are dying. A friend of mine came into my office earlier today and presented me with the following parable: The village fool was standing in the town square, really making an idiot of himself. Amost all the villagers stood around, watching, laughing and joking, enjoying the show.

Except for one person, who stood back, crying. One of the villagers approached him and asked, 'why aren't you joining us, watching the fool make such a fool of himself?

He answered: "Yes, but he is OUR fool!"

The fact that we, Am Yisrael, in Israel and around the world, allowed Gush Katif to fall, that we allowed the Northern Shomron to fall, that fact that we allowed Olmert to be elected Prime Minister, that fact that we allow him dare say that this war will act as a hoist to Gush Katif, Part Two –

So you tell me – who's the fool?