Thursday, August 11, 2005

southward towards jlem

We're making this a very travelsome summer as we head back down south towards Jlem for a final get together with my parents before they leave the holy land flowing with milk and honey and make the arduous trek back towards the land of the free and the home of the brave.

On our way down we will be stopping in Tel Aviv, for a birthday celebration/hafgana. Celbrating 55 glorious years for mom and protesting the withdrawal from the Gaza strip. Apparantly, if you don't throw in a good hafgana it just isn't worth getting older. The celebration will take place at Apropos Alexander, the same Apropos (I believe) that got blown up a little while ago. And I suspect the rally will be in the same square where Rabin was shot. How ironic would that be. A protest of his policies on the hallow ground where his life was meaninglessly ended. It would be like pissing on his grave. On second suspicion, I suspect that the rally will be held somewhere else. Nope. It was just confirmed, the rally will be in Rabin Square.
This is the first hafgana that I am taking my children to. I think they are a little young for this and would prefer not to bring them, but we don't really have a place to put them as we will be in transit from the northwestern galilee, so they will gain this experience. I don't imagine there will be any violence. Maybe a cop slamming someone's head into the ground or trampling a random protester with a horse, but other then the police we should be perfectly safe.

We're going to spend shabbos camped out with my parents in the old city once again and then sunday morning bright and early after kinus we're going to head back towards maalot. Conceptually, I would have liked to spend tisha b'av in the old city. It would be very emotionally powerful to sit at the wall and cry over the destruction of the city. It is, however, impractical with 4 children who are not old enough to understand and need constant attention.

I will probably not be posting before tisha b'av again. The question of whether the long exile is ending or whether the redemption has already started is one of the primary debates between the national religious and the "ultra" orthodox. A good number of the national religious are now feeling, what with the current situation, that the modern state of Israel is not the face of the redemption. This is seen in shuls where they have stopped saying the prayer for the state of Israel and rabbis who are encouraging their students to get an army exemption and not join a hesder program.

I want to leave you with these words of comfort: May God comfort you along with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


BarbaraFromCalifornia said...


Have an easy fast.

DAG said...

The Jewish way
By Joseph Aaron

Better 38 years late than never.

Israel is getting out of the Gaza Strip. Thank G-d.

That is major cause for celebration. This is a moment of major historical importance.

And once again, the Jewish people are being poopers at their own party.

We should be filled with joy that the state of Israel has so much sense, so much integrity, so much faith that it is making this move. Doing it unilaterally because it is the right thing to do, not negotiating or playing games but simply doing what is right.

The fact is there is only one good reason not to leave Gaza and that good reason is perhaps the best reason to leave Gaza.

Gaza has no military value to Israel. Gaza has no political value to Israel. Gaza has no religious or historical value to Israel. None. Indeed, the fact is that from a Jewish history and tradition point of view, Gaza is not even considered part of Israel. Something evidently lost on all those religious and other right wingers who seemingly will desecrate any law, whether of man or G-d, so desirous are they of hanging on to a worthless and very costly strip of land.

We should have given it right back when we first captured it in 1967, for it was clear even then that it would be nothing but trouble for us. But so drunk were we with joy at the victory of the Six Day War that we were blinded to the reality that Gaza is home to more than a million Palestinians, and that such a place could never be our place.

Just how little Gaza was worth, and how much it cost, was made very clear when during the Camp David Accords, Menachem Begin, a man not inclined to give back land, did his best to give Gaza to the Egyptians. Just how little Gaza was worth was made very clear when the Egyptians, leaders of the Arab world, said thanks, but no thanks.

Now, finally, thankfully, Israel's 38- year-long national nightmare is about to come to a close.

As I said, there is only good reason to be opposed to that and that is that the Palestinians will be spinning Israel's choice to disengage as a defeat. They will say that the Jews are weak, that it was terrorism and Palestinian resistance that caused the Jews to flee. They will proclaim it a great victory and use it to fuel their desire for more of Israel.

Don't kid yourself, all that will happen. There will be parties and celebrations among the Palestinians, big talk about how they beat the mighty Israeli army. And that is of some concern. But it is also perhaps the best reason for Israel to leave Gaza.

The Middle East is the cesspool of the world, a crazy place where up is down and wrong is right, where facts mean nothing, where truth is irrelevant. And so while the reality is that Israel is leaving on its own, in a stunning act of courage and wisdom, only in the Middle East can all that be twisted. But then the Middle East is where they truly believe the Mossad did 9/11, where they honor people who walk into pizza shops and kill women and babies.

In such a place, Israel has two choices. To be more like its neighbors or to show its neighbors what it means to be a mensch. The temptation to do the first is overwhelming, especially when terrorism takes so many innocent Israeli lives. And sad truth be told, Israel in the last few years, has too much become a part of the Middle East, too much veered toward behaving like the other countries in the area.

Israel must always remember, and must always act like, yes, it does live in the neighborhood, but no, it is not of the neighborhood.

Leaving Gaza is a major step in that direction. Just because the Arabs will distort what the disengagement means and use it as a weapon in their war against Israel, Israel will not play their game. We won't stay just because they will pervert our going.

No, we will go, because it is the right thing to do. Stay in Gaza and Israel either ceases being a democracy or ceases being a Jewish state. Neither is acceptable. Leaving Gaza ensures Israel's healthy, Jewish future.

How important it is that Israel not act like all those who live around it act, has been made all too vividly clear by the behavior of too many of those who oppose the withdrawal.

There is no good reason for Israel to be in Gaza. And the truth of that can be seen in the fact that those who oppose the disengagement, have not given any good reason for their opposition. Not one. Because they have no honorable argument to make, what they have done is act in the most dishonorable of ways.

What they have done mostly is play the Nazi card. How have they opposed the disengagement? By wearing yellow stars, evoking the image of the Jews of the Holocaust. By tattooing numbers on their arms, wearing striped pajamas, evoking the image of the Jews in the concentration camps. By calling Sharon another Eichmann, by issuing statements using one Nazi reference after another, talking of the disengagement as an expulsion, a deportation.

What they have also done, disgracefully and perversely, is play the Torah card. Too many of Israel's leading rabbis, including some former chief rabbis of Israel, have desecrated the Torah they claim to hold so dear, by manipulating it in the service of their political viewpoints. And so, incredibly, they have called on religious soldiers not to carry out their orders. And so, incredibly, they have held religious ceremonies to curse Sharon and call for his death. And so, incredibly, they have made public statements, some to teenage audiences, laying out the halachic case for why it is a mitzvah to murder Sharon.

When we have needed religious leaders to show what Torah means in a Jewish state, they are the ones who have most desecrated G-d's name.

And if you think their words are just words, I could cite a dozen recent events I never thought a Jew capable of. I will name but two. Last week, a religious soldier got on a bus filled with Arabs and began shooting, killing as many as he could. In the name of being a good Jew doing his Jewish duty. This week, a group of settler youths have said they are seriously considering committing mass suicide to protest the withdrawal as soon as it begins. In the name of being good Jews doing their Jewish duty.

Whatever bad the right wingers think will befall Israel by withdrawing from Gaza pales in comparison to the damage already done to Israel by how they have opposed the withdrawal.

They have been both shameless and twisted. "Jews don't expel Jews" they have proclaimed, not only again invoking the Holocaust, but perverting reality. As if this action is just like all the other times in Jewish history where Jewish populations have been evacuated.

To even suggest such a thing is to spit on the grave of every Jew ever subjected to pogrom or persecution, exile or extermination.

Are the Jews of Gaza being rounded up, marched off to some concentration camp to be turned into ashes? The democratically elected government of Israel, after much study and consultation with its top military and political leaders, has decided it is in the best interest of the state of Israel to leave Gaza, a decision affirmed by several votes in the Cabinet and several more in the Knesset.

And so, because the Torah says it is up to the political and military leaders, not the rabbis, to decide what is best for the long term security of Israel, they have told the settlers, many of whom moved to Gaza at the behest of a government who felt that was best then, that now it is their patriotic duty to leave. But this time, it will be Jewish soldiers who will be there, and there to help. And it is a Jewish government who is helping them pack, arranging for their new homes in the most beautiful part of the country, compensating them with more than $350,000 and aiding them in every way possible to get settled in the Negev, which Ben-Gurion, from day one, said is Israel's true future.

How dare any opponent of the disengagement utter such ugly words as "Jews don't expel Jews." How dare they evoke our painful past, how dare they compare the government of Israel and the young, brave, beautiful boys of the Israel Defense Forces to the Cossacks and the Nazis. Have they no shame, no honor? How dare they?

It seems those who think themselves the most patriotic of all, the most religious of all, the greatest lovers of Israel of all, will accuse the prime minister of Israel of being a Nazi, will call the Israel Defense Forces storm troopers, will distort the holy Torah, will desecrate and defile anything and anyone to make their case. It seems they are prepared to destroy all Israel stands for and holds sacred in the name of saving a strip of desert that, according to most halachic authorities, is not and never was part of Israel, a strip of land where tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers put their lives on the line every day to protect about 9,000 Jews living among more than 1.3 million Palestinians.

Leaving Gaza is truly one of the best things to happen to Israel since 1948, is right up there with the reunification of Jerusalem and return of the Western Wall.

It is a giant step toward a smaller but a far more secure and far more Jewish Israel. More Jewish in terms of demographics, but more importantly, more Jewish in terms of who we are and how we are. Jews are not to be occupiers, even the most enlightened of occupiers, which we have been. Jews must always remember we were strangers in a strange land and so must always and only act towards others not as others have acted toward us.

We are a nation of Jews, a people of the Torah. Leaving Gaza makes us more of both. Return to top.


rockofgalilee said...

Sorry Dag,

That post is way off base. I think it can be easily taken apart one piece at a time. Starting from where he says the big rabbis in Israel don't know what they are talking about religiously, all the way to the amount of compensation thegazans are getting and what that will do for them.

The only part I agree with him is that they should have given it to Egypt in 1967. He should have made it a requirement, if they want Sinai and peace they also have to take Gaza. Now that we have settled it, ruining the lives of 9000 people in return for a promise of more terrorism is hardly the ideal situation he makes it out to be.

I'm not into calling names, and haven't really gotten into the nazi comparisons, but what you are talking about is a situation where the government says you have to leave your house because you're Jewish. Jews aren't allowed to live in this part anymore. Not because they're Israeli, but because they're Jewish.

As an aside, next time can you post a link to the article instead of posting the whole thing. I'll still read it.

Cosmic X said...

The article by Joseph Aaron is an amazing combination of ignorance and arrogance:


"Gaza has no religious or historical value to Israel. None. Indeed, the fact is that from a Jewish history and tradition point of view, Gaza is not even considered part of Israel."

This is simply not true, as anyone who has learned parshat "Masa'ei" knows. Then comes the arrogance:

"Something evidently lost on all those religious and other right wingers who seemingly will desecrate any law, whether of man or G-d, so desirous are they of hanging on to a worthless and very costly strip of land."

The only thing that the author has going for him is that some of his readers are more ignorant than he is.

DAG said...

ROG, I dont agree with him at all, in fact, I think this article may contain some of the studpidest things I have EVER read