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.
When a man dies, especially when he dies of something uniquely horrifying and grotesque, people always tend to remember them well, if for no other reason than pity for their suffering. This seems to have been the case with historian and essayist Tony Judt, who died this month from the degenerative disease known as ALS. The sight of Judt reduced, and reduced very quickly, from an intellectual in late middle age to a wheelchair-bound invalid incapable of breathing on his own would give even the most cold-hearted some pause when penning his obituary. In those last months it was, no doubt, a terrible life and, in the end, a terrible death.
If we can, however, separate a man’s work from his life – and I think we must – then his work can and must also be separated from his death. I am mostly ignorant of Judt’s most famous work, which dealt with the post-war history of Europe, though I have it on good authority that it is decidedly brilliant. I have no doubt that this is probably so. But the truth is that during the final years of his life Judt was most famous, most celebrated, and most quoted because of his outspoken belief that the state of Israel should not exist.
Some may regard such a characterization of his stance as unfair, but it is worth pointing out what lies beneath the euphemism known as the “binational state.” Judt’s stance was not a crude one, of course; it was eminently intellectual and erudite in nature. But nonetheless, Israel’s end is more or less what it amounted to, and the persistent refusal of both him and his defenders to acknowledge this was and is to their discredit.
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!"