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.
Reading the comments on the article written by Israeli MK Shai Hermesh on December 29th 2009,the overwhelming thing which struck me was the sheer lack of empathy on the part of CiF commentators both for the writer, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and the thousands of others like him who have for so many years endured living with the menace of terrorist attacks from Gaza.
This lack of empathy for the suffering of fellow human beings based purely upon their identity is unfortunately far from new. In the world of psychiatry, lack of empathy is a symptom of various disorders, but my feeling is that this is different; it would be too easy to dismiss what we see manifested below the line at CiF as the ramblings of unfortunate people. Lack of empathy for the suffering of Israelis is the result of years of concerted effort on the part of Arab political organisations such as Hamas and the PLO and their sympathisers in the Western Media.
However, it goes a long way beyond just not being sympathetic to Israeli suffering; this lack of empathy is the result of an orchestrated campaign to dehumanise Israelis, and it is having great success. For years now, whenever I have watched British TV coverage of the conflict in Israel, be it Cast Lead, Lebanon II or Defensive Shield, I have remarked to myself that the average person who does not have any other information as to what actually happens on the ground could easily come away with the impression that there are no ordinary people in Israel. All we ever see are Israeli government officials and spokespeople or uniformed anonymous soldiers. Contrast this with what we see from the other side of the conflict: abundant images of ordinary Gazans or Lebanese – often women and children – displaying emotional reactions to their circumstances. Palestinians or Lebanese are portrayed as individuals whereas Israelis are portrayed as an anonymous group. The same goes for the written media; how many ‘human interest’ stories about Israelis spring to mind?
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!"