Jew: You want to do what is right and what is humane. You want to live up to your own cherished values and you want the values of your nation to be true to those you were brought up to see as the values of your tradition and the sages, whether you are religious or not. And then these values come into a collision course with the equally important values of self-respect and survival.
We were taught that THIS life (this incarnation, perhaps) is not of lesser significance than after-death, no less significant than the rewards or punishments we can expect upon moving on to the next realm of existence. THIS LIFE must be protected. And we are our brothers’ keepers.
We did not do well with keeping Ari Fuld and Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi and countless others who were stabbed, shot, hit with rocks, run over. Who is next? Has it already been written? We did not do well (and still are not) with the wildlife and plant-life, natural and sown, on the other side of our Land. For how long? Has that also been written?
I guess what I am wondering about is how we make sure our boundaries are clear, how we protect ourselves, how we weigh the actions we must take in order to be our brothers’ keepers, truly, while not betraying our other values.
Does that mean we bulldoze villages that raise an inordinate proportion of terrorists? Does that mean we expel entire families and not just demolish their homes, or more ridiculously a single room in the home? Does that mean that out of self-respect we stop providing electricity and water they do not pay for, stop providing health care in our hospitals when mothers are not embarrassed to admit they want to raise the child we just saved to be a Jew-killing martyr? Have we carried our fear of committing collective punishment too far?
But, what if our finally standing up for ourselves puts the Khaled Abu Toameh’s and Bassem Eid‘s (the ones whose names we all know and those who are too scared to speak up publicly), and their families, into the collective we decide we need to strike out against? What about this individual we meet at a neutral place so we can talk, or invite to our homes? Of course we cannot visit them in their homes because they live behind big red signs that say Jews Not Allowed. But they come into ours and we meet them at coffee shops in the Gush, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ariel. How can we put someone we have shared coffee with into the collective punished because of the terrorism that is part and parcel of their larger society?
The same way, perhaps, that we put into the collective Kim and Ziv’s murderer who did not care that they used to work together? The same way we put into the collective the terrorists who stabbed the bosses who invited them to lunch with them at their family table?
If knowing someone’s name, if having close contact for years, did not protect them from being a bulls-eye on the terrorist target, how can we trust anyone? Is being a friend protection?
Just having to reflect on this pains me and weighs heavy on my heart. My whole body trembles. But God-forbid my contemplation be mistaken for weakness. I will struggle with these conflicting values — we will struggle with these conflicting values — and I feel caught up in the undertow in a raging sea. We will come up to the surface for air, our will to survive against all odds not the least bit impaired.The point is coming near when we will say: Enough! And we will make a din so loud that our leaders will come to their senses. It is not only Four Mothers who can change government policy, is it!
Israel is limited as to what and how hard it may respond to Palestinian terrorist atrocities, this is a well know if disturbing fact. Any and all actions taken by Israelis to defend themselves, respond to terrorist attacks, or to even prevent terror attacks are routinely condemned by the European Union, most of the EU populations, and all the so called human rights organizations. We Israeli Jews are threatened with sanctions by Europe and even military intervention against Israel. The truth is that we Israeli Jews are not weak, but we are wise!
I do not consider that wisdom any longer. I wish we had a contemporary Menachem Begin – remember what he said? He told those who believed it was their right to tell us how to react by reminding them that nobody came to our aid in the past and we ask nobody to come to our aid today. We hold our heads high. We do what needs to be done.
Uri Megidish was murdered by one of his greenhouse workers 15 Adar 5753. He was thirty-nine.
One of too many who were murdered by those who knew them personally. After all, why am I surprised? Neighbours and friends turned on neighbours and friends in the Hebron pogrom.
The hate against us and against Israel only seems to be growing. Until the last ten years I never really understood how the 1930’s became the 1940’s and the Holocaust. It seems absurd that Jews could be blamed for every bad thing in society. But now I watch it happen around the world, as if the years between Holocaust and now were just a time to gather strength and raise the ugly face of antisemitism again. It seems the real reason to study history is so one can repeat the same evil more efficiently.
Yes, it is as if we are repeating the 1930s. Some say this is the age before Messiah. Perhaps WW II was only a practice run for what is supposed to take place before Messiah appears.
You’ve hit the nail on the head perfectly, as usual Sherri. The balance we need to strike between weakness, or maybe just flaccidity in our response to terrorism, and between strength – demolishing villages, collective punishment, mass expulsion – is something that I doubt we will ever manage to do perfectly.
But what I am most angry about is the response fo our government. Or rather, our non-government. They are not LEADING!
Bibi is nowhere to be found, he is busy addressing foreign organizations, the UN, etc., but within Israel? Nada. When is the last time he addressed the nation? When is the last time he visited the Otef Gaza yishuvim? Why does he not at least explain the reasoning behind our lack of response to the fire terrorism in the south? Even if we don’t agree with it we will have an idea of the government’s position.
His Defence Minister Liberman talks a great game but does nothing.
The army seem busy looking over their shoulders at the army of lawyers chasing them, ready to accuse them of human rights violations. This despite the fact that no matter WHAT we do we get accused of such so why should we even try so hard?
Our judicial system is a joke. Every inch of Jewish houses that MIGHT have violated a Palestinian’s rights is destroyed to the foundations. but a terrorist’s house? God forbid!! Maybe they’ll block up his bedroom.
It is pathetic and I am FURIOUS!!
Maybe WE are not weak but our government is. It is beyond time that they resigned, and let us choose someone who can lead and govern.
Your rant is appreciated. I agree with everything you write here.