For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Routine, Expulsion, and Eretz Israel
by Nadia Matar
(The B'Sheva newspaper asked me to write about "4 years to the expulsion- What are the lessons?" Here is the translation of the article written in Hebrew)
Four years after the destruction of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. What are the lessons? What must we learn from the expulsion, so that in another four years we will not have to write, Heaven forbid, of the lessons to be learned from the expulsion from Judea and Samaria?
In my humble opinion, we must, first of all, internalize the fact that we do not have the luxury of immersing ourselves in routine life. Rather, each of us must take part in the struggle. I will never forget that meeting in Neveh Dekalim, about a year before the expulsion, that was organized by the more hard-line activists of the Gush, in which a proposal was already raised to double or even triple the number of Gush inhabitants by bringing new residents into the houses, or even in tents in the yards. One woman stood up and angrily declared: "I don't agree! I refuse to ruin my lawn, and I won't agree to turn my settlement into a refugee camp! I want to continue with my everyday life!" One of the speakers turned to her and wondered: "Don't you think that it's worth it to somewhat undermine routine life for a few months, in order to preserve the routine in the long term?"
The proposal, however, was rejected, and the leaders of the Gush preferred to continue everyday life, taken to an extreme, to the extent that supporters from the outside, with their families, who wanted to move to the Gush, live in the settlements, and be partners in the struggle, had to pass an acceptance committee, even a few weeks before the expulsion. Many were not accepted, and they had no choice but to leave the Gush. Our family, too, was not accepted in Neveh Dekalim. Apparently because we were identified with the "activist" wing. And so our family and additional Women in Green members stayed in Kfar Yam with the family of Arik and Datia Yitzhaki, who received us with open arms.
It is difficult for me to commit those memories to writing. Our brothers from Gush Katif suffer enough, and I don't intend to hurt them by raising these matters, but I feel obligated to speak about the subject, as the learning of lessons for the struggle over Judea and Samaria. I do not mean to say that we should erect tents in our yards now, but today, in light of the bitter experience undergone by our brothers from the Gush, we must understand that "routine" and "expulsion" are connected to each other. [In Hebrew, routine is "shigra" and expulsion is "gerush"-both words with similar roots].
Already now, when there is just talk of the destruction of the outposts, that everyone knows is the first stage of the destruction of the settlement enterprise as a whole, with the goal of establishing a Palestinian state instead, we must make the mental switch and internalize that each of us has the responsibility and obligation to leave our everyday lives and participate in the struggle for Eretz Israel.
Here is the place to raise an additional subject, one that is no less painful: in my humble opinion, we lost the struggle for Gush Katif and northern Samaria because we did not relate to Eretz Israel as a supreme value for which self-sacrifice is needed. If there had been some preposterous government decree that IDF soldiers must enter the homes of Jews on Yom Kippur and forcibly feed them nonkosher food, I assume and hope that a wall-to-wall consensus would take shape among our public on the need to refuse to obey this anti-Jewish and anti-moral order. The victims of the "force-feeding" would not begin a "With Love We Will Be Victorious" campaign, but rather, they, too, would vigorously resist.
And I ask: Why is what is so clear regarding Shabbat and kashrut observance is not clear regarding Eretz Israel?
This is the one million dollar question I have been asking myself for the past four years since the expulsion.
If Eretz Israel is a supreme value, like Shabbat and kashrut, then the way to struggle against the decrees of the destruction of settlements and the handing over of parts of the homeland to the enemy entails self-sacrifice. For us, we can translate this self-sacrifice into refusing orders and mass nonviolent civil disobedience. I am certain that if these two methods of struggle had been implemented in 2005, we would have saved the Gush.
And thus,in my opinion, the main lesson to be drawn from the expulsion, is that we must understand that Eretz Israel is a supreme value for which we leave our everyday lives and go forth to a real struggle, and not only to symbolic protest demonstrations. It is ironic that it is the peoples of the world who teach us of the importance and centrality of Eretz Israel. The peoples of the world don't care if we all study Torah, eat kosher, or observe Shabbat. But if five Jews climb some hill in the area of Judea and Samaria and dare to build a hut on it - the UN, the European Union, the Obama administration, and who knows who else go out of their minds and try to prevent us from doing this.
Undoubtedly, in light of the brazenness of the Obama administration and the Europeans, that are returning us to the time of the White Paper, more and more elements within the people of Israel are coming to their senses. With G-d's help, the tremendous forces inherent in our people will be realized, and this time we will succeed in defending Eretz Israel, and increase building, settlement, and development. .
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"