Monday, May 5, 2008

David's Vision or Bush's Vision

David's Vision or Bush's Vision

Published: Monday, May 05, 2008 11:19 PM
The synagogue was built and knocked down again.

Chazon David. Many people are familiar with the name of the small synagogue just off the main road leading from Kiryat Arba to Hebron. Constructed some seven years ago after the murder of David Cohen and Hezi Mualem on the same day, the place of worship was to eternalize their memories.

I fled from the office a little early this week because our rooms and the halls are being painted. I was speaking to one of the painters just before leaving, telling him that I'd spent the day working on the events occurring at Chazon David. He looked at me rather dejectedly and told me that on that day some seven years ago, he had sent David 
When the government decided to prove to the United States that it really meant business, Chazon David was placed on the black list.
Cohen to buy some building material. Cohen had just arrived at the western gate of Kiryat Arba when an Arab car drove by and opened fire. David Cohen's car was hit and he never had a chance.

Later that night, the Kiryat Arba local council met and decided to protest the opening of a roadblock which had allowed the killers to easily escape. They met on the road by the western gate leading from the Ramat Mamre (Givat HaHarsina) neighborhood (now closed). Arabs saw them there and notified some terrorists who opened fire on the men in the pitch dark. A few men were hit, but Hezzy Mualem, then a councilman, was killed, dying later that night in the hospital. I remember him well, as he was a true community servant. Among other things, he drove an ambulance and once took my wife and I to the hospital while she was in labor with one of our children.

The synagogue's name hit the spot: Chazon (for Hezzy) David (for David Cohen). In English the name means "David's vision."

In truth many people were unaware of the synagogue's existence. However, it did not escape the always present eyes of the Israeli version of Big Brother. It was labeled a ma'achazMa'achazim are usually defined as "hilltop settlements," but the fact that this site was on the road in between two Kiryat Arba neighborhoods made no difference. A ma'achaz it was declared and a ma'achaz it was. When the government decided to prove to the United States that it really meant business, Chazon David was placed on the black list; a "settlement" to be exterminated.

Word filtered down: the site is to be destroyed. It was a few days before Passover. Who has time, only days before the holiday, to worry about a small synagogue? Well, it seems that many, many people in Kiryat Arba and Hebron cared very much. When the huge tractors arrived in the middle of the night, they were met by a large group of concerned people - men, women and children. Of course, the security forces used much force to keep them away from the actual site where they might stop the destruction. The road from Hebron was closed and I had to run up the hill to reach the synagogue.

When I arrived, the bulldozer was in action. It was a terrible sight, seeing a synagogue being razed. Had it been a
By the time I was able to get there, it was gone.
 mosque, Israeli security forces wouldn't have dared to implement such a solution; but synagogues are less important than mosques, at least in the view of Israeli decision-makers. Down it went, plowed into the ground.

Since then, the synagogue was built and knocked down countless times - between 30 to 40 times. But, surprising or not, for the past three years it stood undisturbed. Prayer services were held every day, including Shabbat. Torah classes were also conducted there.

But, as soon as the "piece talks" started thawing out, Chazon David was remembered: an ever-ready sacrifice to be slaughtered on the altar of pacification - pacifying the White House and its surroundings; in this case, Ms. Condoleezza Rice.

We thought the time had come last week, but when word leaked out and over 100 people showed up, ready to take on the troops, the government backed down, albeit temporarily. However, it seems that this week they saw that the time was ripe. At about two o'clock, two policewomen in civilian clothing showed up at the guard booth at the western gate and, without a word, stole the guard's security radio and telephone. A little while later, the troops showed up, sealed off the road from Hebron and closed the Kiryat Arba gate, surrounded the synagogue, removed its furniture, books and holy articles, and again plowed it down. By the time I was able to get there, it was gone.

But it won't be gone for long. Kids already started laying the foundation for the renovated synagogue. Of course, when the police realized what was going on they brutally chased them away. But not for long. The kids will be back, as will the adults too.

There are two kinds of visions: George Bush's vision is based on temporal results, like the Nobel Peace prize or saving his legacy post-Iraq. There are those who buy Bush's vision, like the former editor of Haaretz, who asked Condi to "rape Israel," forcing us to "make peace," including numerous "painful concessions." Others, like the current Prime Minister, thought that Bush's vision would save his hide from an Israeli court and maybe even a jail 
The Bush vision is very nearsighted, seeing only as far as his nose, if that far.
cell. And the list goes on and on.

But the Bush vision is very nearsighted, seeing only as far as his nose, if that far. Acquiescence to Arab terror is as far from a true vision as is possible. Nothing could be farther from a vision founded on truth and ideals. That's the difference between Bush's vision and David's vision - one is total sheker, falsehood, and the other being totalemet, truth.

Which David? Take your choice. David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem surely had a vision, to live a life of authentic Judaism in their land, building Eretz Yisrael for the Jewish people. But so did their namesakes - David, king of Israel and Yehezkel (Hezzy, for short), king of Israel, both of whom were righteous leaders of their people. Despite the fact that they lived thousands of years ago, their legacy, a real legacy, still lives on today. Their inheritance, as well as the legacy of David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem, as personified by the Chazon David synagogue, will exist long after Bush, Condi and their so-called "vision" are long forgotten.