January 31, 2005
Last night some 200,000 people stood in the streets between the Knesset and the Prime Minister’s office, ostensibly demanding either elections or a national referendum as a prerequisite to implementation of Sharon’s expulsion policy. “Let the nation decide!”
In all actuality though, the mass gathering screamed to the heavens: please – stop this madness.
The Yesha Council did a good job getting people out, but part of the message they espoused was disappointing. As reported by Israel National News, “Yesha officials called on the crowd to reject calls for the refusal of orders in the IDF, stressing such a move would destroy the military. They also decried the raising of a hand against soldiers, police, and border police, setting the ground rules for a tough fight, but one that does not cross the lines of a law-abiding society.”
What’s the problem with these points? They show a complete and total misunderstanding of how to lead opposition to Sharon’s plans. They suggest that we ‘play by the rules,’ – not Sharon’s rules, rather those established by a normal society. However, Sharon is not playing by those rules: he’s devising his own rules as the game progresses, doing whatever he wants, however he wants. The fact that he has totally reversed his own campaign promises, the fact that he is now implementing the policies voiced by his opponent, Amram Mitzne, who was thoroughly trounced in the last election, the fact that he ignored a supposedly binding Likud referendum as well as a vote of the Likud Central Committee, the fact that he refuses to go to the people because he is scared that he might actually lose, the fact that he is conducting a massive campaign to delegitimize the same people he once regarded as heroes, that fact that he is returning to the one-way street called Oslo, leading to an inevitable head-on collision we’ve already experienced, again and again and again, with over 1,500 fatalities and thousands of casualties, the fact that according to Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister Meir Shitrit, not to mention Peres and all the other poodles presently serving as ministers under Sharon, the expulsion and destruction of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron communities is only the beginning – the remainder of communities of Judea and Samaria are on line for the guillotine – all these facts, and many more, clearly establish two sets of rules: one for Sharon and one for everyone else.
Two examples: During my interview with David Bedein last week, he revealed that police invaded homes of Sderot residents, warning and threatening them not to protest during a governmental visit to the city – this despite continued missile attacks and fatalities there.
And last night, buses on the way to the demonstration were randomly stopped and ‘searched’ – what did the police expect to find – child suicide bombers? One of the buses was stopped a few kilometers outside Jerusalem, on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road, and the search crew took its time looking for hard, criminal evidence against its passengers. Losing patience, the travelers left the bus and started walking down the middle of the highway – ‘if you won’t let us drive, we’ll go by foot.’ All traffic came to a stop and the police caught the message fast. Soon the bus was on its way into Jerusalem.
This second incident provides a good example of ‘not playing by the rules’ – and it works. This is what the Yesha Council has yet to learn. If we continue to ‘play by the rules’ we are bound to lose.
First and foremost on the list of ‘our rules’ is refusal to obey orders to evict families from their homes. The claim that refusal to obey orders will destroy the army is a moot point. Why? Because what good is an army without a land to defend? It is the declared intent of many members of the current government, in conjunction with the United States, Russia, Europe and the United Nations, to dismember Eretz Yisrael. Forget George W. – Sharon has, time and time again, declared his allegiance to the ‘roadmap,’ a plan leading to the disintegration of the State of Israel and the rise of the State of Palestine, G-d forbid. We will not have to worry about whether or not our soldiers obey orders in the future; should they refuse, there will be foreign forces here to do the work for them. So states the ‘roadmap!’
True, under ordinary circumstances, refusal to obey orders should and would be viewed as virtually unthinkable. However, our lives, privately and collectively, are ruled by priorities: in this case, without Eretz Yisrael, our armed forces are unnecessary – Eretz Yisrael certainly takes priority over a dictator’s decree. I have difficulty comprehending why the leaders of the Yesha council do not understand this.
You know, last week everyone was making a big whop-de-do about the events marking the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz. This too, I had trouble fathoming. Speeches in the UN, a memorial to the slaughtered, singing HaTikava, our national anthem, it didn’t move me.
Many times, during meetings with correspondents from around the world, I tell them: “There is much we must learn from the Holocaust. One of the main lessons I have learned is from the refusal of the allied forces, including Britain and the United States, to bomb the camps and stop the mass murders. This taught me that the United States and Europeans were basically telling us, in other words, ‘we don’t want you here.’ For had they valued Jewish lives, they would not have allowed the Nazis to continue exterminating them, by the millions.
So, what did Jews do? They came to live in Eretz Yisrael and established the State of Israel. Now, we are being told that we cannot continue to live in our land – and the same people who refused to stop the Nazi extermination are leading the call to expel us from our homeland.
So, I ask the reporters, where do they want us to go – they don’t want us in their countries, but they refuse to allow us to live with security in our own land – so where should we go?”
The journalists look at me with a blank stare and, as a rule, do not respond.
My problem with the 60th anniversary events is exactly that – why did it take SIXTY YEARS for the nations of the world to stand up and recognize, in some manner, what they were responsible for. The proceedings at the UN should not have taken sixty years to occur. They should have taken place annually since the founding of the organization.
More significantly, in my opinion, in truth, Aushwitz has not been liberated. We are still there, behind barbed wire fences, being led like sheep to the crematorium. Then, the Jews had little recourse – there was no IDF, there was no State of Israel. But today there is. Yet, we are continuing to be led by the nose, by the same peoples who assisted, either actively or passively, with the Nazi extermination machine sixty years ago. The massive world attempt to force us to rid ourselves of our land is certainly nothing less than Aushwitz – because the world still does not recognize the legitimate, G-d-given right of our people to our land. There really is no doubt: Gush Katif will lead to Beit El and Shilo, and they will lead to Hebron and Hebron will lead to Jerusalem. Tel Aviv and Haifa are only a matter of time. That is the way they see it – those who refused to destroy Aushwitz – they are the same people, the same cultures, the same mentality. They haven’t changed. And it seems, neither have we. We still haven’t learned.
This past Shabbat morning, sitting in Ma’arat HaMachpela, I listened as we read in the Torah, the Ten Commandments. It is normally a very spiritually uplifting experience, especially at such a holy place. But this year, hearing the ancient words chanted, I couldn’t help but think, what about the eleventh commandment. Why have we forgotten the eleventh commandment? Why don’t we remember – we are we so good at forgetting? Again, meetings between Dachlan and Mufaz, Abu Mazen and Sharon, terrorist prisoner releases, pulling the army out of the ‘cities, ‘ the same show we’ve seen so many times before. And we know what the results will be.
The Eleventh Commandment: Never Forget.
With blessings from Hebron.