Monday, March 31, 2008

A Conflict of Cultures and Values

This morning one of the headlines adorning the Jerusalem Post reads, "Israel mulls PA troops in Hebron."

When called the previous evening for a reaction to this story, one of the points I made was, "Israel is allowing armed terrorists to 'legally' return to Jenin. After the number of soldiers we lost in Jenin cleaning out the terrorist nests there, I really don't understand how we can allow them back!"

In an article in HaAretz from March 28, by Amos Harel and Avi Yissacharof, it is written that the critical Kevasim junction is also slated to be opened. This junction, between Kiryat Arba and the southern Hebron Hills communities, is not far from the regional Judea command post, and leads to the area's industrial center, Fachs el-Masmas. Numerous terror attacks have occurred near this site. Should the junction be again opened, terrorists will have a clear escape route, leading to just about anywhere in Hebron.

Interestingly, but sadly, the article mentions that Barak may not hasten to open the junction because, "an attack which allows terrorists to pass though an area where there was a security barrier which was removed, will be negatively accredited to the Defense Minister."

And back to the Post: Hebron was a perfect place for the program (to deploy 'PA police'), (but) it was a sensitive issue due to the Jewish population in the city.

So what are we dealing with: security of the state of Israel and human lives, or politics?

A few weeks ago I met a man outside Ma'arat HaMachpela, who identified himself as a journalist, working for the Yisrael Post newspaper. When we began talking he told me, "you cannot image how much I hate you." As we continued to converse he said, "you really don't understand. I hate you more than you hate the Palestinians." I didn't give up, hoping to conduct a serious discussion with him. But in the end, just before he walked away, he concluded, "you know, I believe that a good settler is a dead settler." And with that he walked away.

I have no idea how many people in Israel think the above thoughts. More than likely, most of them would refrain from expressing them, especially to a 'settler' in Hebron. However, this particular man put all the cards on the table. Others have too.

The following was broadcast thirteen years ago on Kol Yisrael radio, on Friday July 14, 1995. I posted it in an article that same day []: "… Rabbi Rabinovitch had spoken to a reporter who had interviewed the Israeli Foreign minister a short time before. The reporter asked him, 'aren't you worried about what will happen to the 'settlers' in Judea and Samaria after the army pulls out?' He answered, "I have no problem with what will happen in Yesha. We will withdraw the army and then let's see what happens. They (the Jews) will either run away immediately, or the Arabs will massacre some, and then we'll see what happens."

By the way, in case you've forgotten, the Foreign minister in July 1995 is currently serving as President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres. (And we also know what happened when the IDF retreated from areas in Judea and Samaria, and also Gush Katif.)

Hebron came under attack for almost two years, following the abandonment of over 80% of the city to the PA, including the hills surrounding the Jewish community. In a few days Hebron will mark the seventh anniversary of the murder of Shalhevet Pas, the ten-month old infant murdered by a sniper shooting from those very hills. Not too long ago another terrorist began shooting towards Beit Hadassah and hit two homes. Several bullets hit a baby's crib in an apartment on the building's second floor. Another bullet flew through my son's room, stopping in his clothes closet. And that is WITH the IDF still stationed in the hills, before renewal of an armed palestinian force in the city.

The question must be addressed: What are the goals of the so-called "Israeli leadership, and at what price?" If they consider it necessary to take 'calculated risks,' then at what cost? Who will have to pay the price should the 'calculated risk' backfire? Who will replace the mother or father, or son or daughter sacrificed to the god of 'calculated risks'?

But getting to the roots of the matter, do the so-called leaders care about Israeli life? Does it really make any difference to them if any of us live or die? According to Shimon Peres, circa 1995, or the gentleman mentioned above, who calls, 'dead settlers good settlers,' the answer would seem clear. But it's not only words that count; actions speak louder than words. Judging from the reactions of 'leaders' to the mortars falling on Gush Katif for years, or shooting attacks in Hebron or throughout Judea and Samaria, the answer would have to be a resounding 'no!' It might be expected that Israeli life in the 'cities' would be worth more than those of us living in Yesha. But judging from the reaction of rockets being shot at Sdereot or Asheklon, it seems that life there too, is considered to be cheap.

I have an idea.

I was just interviewed about the suggested compensation to be paid to those (Jews) expelled from Judea and Samaria. (Of course, such compensation to Arabs, when suggested by Rav Meir Kahane HY"D or Rehavam Ze'evi – Gandhi HY"D was considered racism. But when offered to Jews, it is considered a legitimate means to attain 'peace.') We should begin to collect funds to pay-off our present politicians, offering them money, homes, drink, anything they so desire, anywhere in the world, barring Israel. They will most definitely accept, being that nothing is more important to them than money. Once they have left we'll be able to start again, they way we should have in the first place.

Seriously, the objective is not to physically rid ourselves of those people, despite the fact that they are corrupt and dangerous to the existence of the State. But more treacherous are the ideas they espouse – human life is cheap while Eretz Yisrael and Judaism are worthless. Their despicable scorning of the three tenets of Judaism: Am Yisrael – the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel and Torat Yisrael, while at the same time valuing only their own personal power and well-being, is abominable. Our primary struggle is not against our enemies from without; rather it is a battle against the enemy eating away at us from within; a conflict of cultures and values, the outcome of which will determine the face of the Jewish people for generations to come.

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