Unimaginable Beauty and the Barbed Wire
1 day ago
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.
Peter Beinart’s tale of epiphany is dubious enough. He said he was moved to write his book by a clip showing a poor Palestinian being hauled away for stealing water. So here’s another Youtube, featuring members of the Palestinian’s family. (Beinart, the armchair expert, never followed up on the story.) They wish Israel to be blown away altogether. Beinart says it doesn’t matter to him. Guess they were just props.
...the day had arrived where, “this government only now reaches the crossroads, the dilemma: it has to choose between the rule of law and ideology.”
A normal state is not supposed to settle beyond its legitimate borders...we still continue to behave as if we are a Yishuv. The entire peace enterprise of this government is aimed at leading the nation to choose, once and for all, between being a state or a Yishuv.
...the choice between settlement and statehood is a fundamental characterization of the Zionist project.
Does the state, in the form of authorizing settlement outposts, continue as an expansionist enterprise?
"The situation in the southern sector is excellent. There are regular patrols and stakeouts across all roads"
Yesterday morning, I visited an old-age home for Holocaust survivors. There, I met Idit Yapo, an amazing woman of 104, clear and lucid. Idit fled Germany shortly after Hitler gained power, in 1934.
I met 89-year-old Esther Nadiv, one of Mengele's twins. She was reading a book, Golda Meir's biography, and she told me, with a glint in her eye, she said: "I am so proud, so very proud to be a part of the State of Israel which is in constant development."
I met Hanoch Mandelbaum, an 89-year-old survivor of Bergen-Belsen. Shortly after he came to Israel, as a young carpenter, he helped construct the desk upon which Ben Gurion signed the Declaration of Independence. That is MiSho'a liTkuma -- from holocaust to resurrection.
And I met Elisheva Lehman, an 88 year-old Holocaust survivor from Holland, who was a music teacher. I asked Elisheva if she would play something for us and she did. She enthusiastically played "Am Yisrael Chai" and we all sang together. It was quite emotional.
|Sushi place on Jerusalem's Emek Refaim: |
As conflict zones go,
not quite a hardship posting
How can a 20 year old Danish boy wake up one morning and tell his parents he's flying to the Middle East? A foreign reporter from Spain, who loves Israeli red wine, told me once how every foreign correspondent dreams of being stationed in Israel. "This is a foreign correspondent's paradise!" she said. "Where else can you go to restaurant in a city such as Tel Aviv, grab a drink, or go dancing on Dizengoff Street, and sleep at a fancy hotel, when the only thing that separates you from your authentic 'battle field' report is a 45 minute drive into Jerusalem or Bil'in and Naalin? ...I asked them once this one clichéd question that always comes to mind – "So why Israel of all places? Why not Syria? Egypt? Russia or China?" One of them put on a serious face. "Are you insane?" he asked me. "These are all extremely dangerous places!" ..."So wait," I asked in all seriousness. "You wouldn't have come here if you thought you could get badly hurt?" My Swedish friend grinned. "I don't think so," he said. "I may be a radical, but I'm also a spoiled one!" And they both burst out laughing. That's when I realized that for many of those foreign peace activists, this is all just a game. And in this game we, the Israelis and Palestinians, are the pieces. They come from all corners of the world to a faraway country they have never been to before. They confront soldiers and policemen, blocking roads and holding signs. Moreover – as long as they have their cold beer by the end of the evening, as long as they lay their heads in a comfy and friendly hostel – they will continue to arrive. They take advantage of what we're most proud of: Our freedom, democracy and the tolerance that we're so afraid to lose. They take advantage of the strange system we have developed, the one that lets us disconnect ourselves from reality and continue with our lives even when real fighting takes place so close to us.
Israel's settlement building in the West Bank drew more international condemnation this week after the government retroactively legalized three Jewish outposts there. The Palestinians described the move as another example of why there is no peace.
The right wing, in order to justify continuation of Israeli control over the West Bank and of the expansion of settlements, is trying to claim that 1967 and 1948 are essentially equivalent: if 1948 was justified, then 1967 must also be accepted. Or, most simply: Once Zionism is what we call support for Israel as a homeland of the Jewish people, then Israeli occupation of the West Bank is merely a logical extension of the Zionist doctrine.
Paradoxically, by invoking Zionism in support of the settlements and the occupation, the right wing is joining the biggest opponents of Israel, who argue that if, as they believe, Israel's occupation of the Palestinian people in the territories is illegitimate, then, by logical extension, so is the entire Zionist enterprise.
Read here the new state because even then, everyone recognized there had once been another. As for the reference to Zionists - it was written in a time when the world did not judge Zionism to be evil, when they recognized it was, quite simply, the fulfillment of our dream, our hope.
So, to those who have written to me to say that the US was opposed to the creation of Israel and only gave into "Zionist" pressure - I would say this proves you wrong. There was no time for such a lobby, such pressure. US recognition came eleven minutes after the State was declared and the US has been one of Israel's staunchest allies ever since.
NETANYAHU: Well demilitarized is a real state. It just means that they can't field the armies. They can't fire rockets. We want to make sure that if we have a peace arrangement, we walk away from certain areas that they won't be used a third time by Iran and its Palestinian proxies to fire rockets on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but we don't want to run their lives. I don't want to govern the Palestinians. I don't want them as subjects of Israel or as citizens of Israel. I want them to have their own independent state but a demilitarized state.
BURNETT: And to be clear, one that isn't separated by Israel as in there's a Palestine part here, Israel --
NETANYAHU: No --
BURNETT: All one --
NETANYAHU: That is Swiss cheese (ph) now --
- CNN Interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Aired April 24, 2012 - 19:00 ET
“we took to the road in an effort to see the country afresh. Beginning two years ago, […] we spent days and nights with ultra-Orthodox Jews in Beit Shemesh, Russian immigrants in Ashdod, Palestinian Israelis in Nazareth, Mizrahim in Yerucham, Bedouin in the neighboring unrecognized village of Rachma, settlers in Kfar Etzion and Palestinians in Beit Jallah. We travelled to Efrat, Uhm el-Fahm, Tirat Carmel, Ein Hud, Haifa and Jerusalem. When the summer protests produced tent camps across the country, we visited them from Kiryat Shemona in the north to Dimona in the south.
Through these travels, we observed a great and growing discrepancy between the way Israeli politics and society are discussed, at home and abroad, and the way they operate for real. The dichotomies that so many of us have for so long believed define the country – Ashkenazi vs. Mizrahi, Jew vs. Arab, secular vs. religious, center vs. periphery, native vs. immigrant, left vs. right – no longer reflect the complexity of Israeli society. There are commonalities in values and in visions that have gone largely unnoticed, and in these things that we share one find seeds of a common future characterized not by conflict, but by community.
One commonality, often overlooked, is a shared wish to be part of the world in which we live, and take responsibility for it. […]
The caption on a photograph featuring passengers on a tram in Jerusalem observing a two-minute silence for Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: "Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is" (Eyewitness, 20 April, page 24).
.... Before my reserve duty, I picked up a small 2 volume set of books by Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon, that discusses Jewish observance issues in the IDF. Over Shabbat I had the opportunity to read part of it, and I found this story particularly meaningful.
Rav Rimon quotes a story from Chief Rabbi Lau’s book, “Light of the World” (Oro shel Olam), page 380, and Rav Rimon says he also heard the same story from many other people as well.
“A student in the Kol Torah Yeshiva in Jerusalem, approached his Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and asked him the question: May I leave my Torah studies in the yeshiva to go [for a short visit] and pray at the graves of tzadikim (righteous people,) in the Galil (Northern Israel?)
Rav Auerbach answered, “It is better to say in yeshiva, and study Torah”
The student replied, “Isn’t there a time I could go to visit the graves of tzadikim? Doesn’t Rav Auerbach go and pray by the graves of tzadikim?
Rav Auerbach answered, “In order to pray at the graves of tzadikim, one doesn’t have to travel up to the Galil. Whenever I feel the need to pray at the graves of tzadikim, I go to Mount Herzel, [the national cemetery for fallen IDF soliders in Jerusalem], to the graves of the soliders…who fell “Al Kiddush Hashem” for the sanctification of G-d.”