Thursday, September 29, 2016

Choosing which Peres to remember - by Michael Freund

...Human beings are complex creatures, full of incongruities, and Peres was no exception. So while I disagreed with his vision over the past 25 years, and believe it to have been decidedly misguided, the Shimon Peres I prefer to remember in light of his death is the one who demonstrated just how much one person can accomplish over the course of a lifetime. There will be plenty of time and opportunities for future historians and analysts to assess the totality of the individual, his accomplishments and failings.

Michael Freund..
Fundamentally Freund/JPost..
28 September '16..
Link: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Fundamentally-Freund-Choosing-which-Peres-to-remember-468933

The demise this week of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, who served as one of the last living links with the heroic generation that founded this country, is a milestone event, the kind of moment in a nation’s life that cannot but evoke collective and personal introspection.

In death, as in life, Peres remains an intriguing conundrum. Few historical figures have left such an indelible and undeniable mark on the nation they helped to forge and lead, leaving behind a complicated legacy that stirs up a broad range of sentiments among differing sectors of the population.

For those of us on the Right, in particular, Peres’ career encompassed a complex array of actions, prompting many to wonder how best to remember the man and his legacy.

Consider the following: As defense minister in 1974, Peres played a key role in the revival of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.

Despite opposition from prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres pushed for and granted the approval for the establishment of Ofra, north of Ramallah, which is now a thriving community of more than 3,000 Jews.

There is a well-known photo of Peres planting a tree at the site, and it is said that the sapling remains in place until today.

And yet, barely two decades later, in 1993, Peres served as one of the architects of the Oslo process, which ultimately sought to undermine the very same Jewish presence in the territories that he had previously championed.

The Jewish presence in the holy city of Hebron also owes a debt of gratitude to Peres.

In an interview last year with the Israeli news site Walla, Hebron Jewish community spokesman Noam Arnon told a remarkable story about a meeting with Peres that took place toward the end of 1975, when he was part of a delegation of Jews headed by Rabbi Moshe Levinger who went to see the defense minister.

At the time, the Jewish community of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron, was already in existence, but no Jews yet resided in the heart of the ancient city itself.

Speaking with Peres, Rabbi Levinger raised the subject of the Avraham Avinu synagogue, which was built in 1540 in Hebron’s Jewish Quarter but had stood empty after the 1929 Arab massacre of Hebron’s Jews. When Jordan seized control over the area in 1948, they turned the site of the synagogue into a goat and donkey pen.

According to Arnon’s account, when Rabbi Levinger began to explain the sanctity of the site and its importance, Peres cut him off and said, “Do you think I am a goy and that I don’t know what a synagogue is?” Shortly thereafter, Peres granted permission to rehabilitate and refurbish the synagogue, thereby laying the groundwork for the ultimate reestablishment of Hebron’s Jewish community.

“Not that there weren’t further struggles over the matter,” Arnon recalled, “but the greatest and most important breakthrough was the meeting with Peres.”


Nevertheless, in March 2007, while serving as deputy prime minister, Peres described the presence of Jews in Hebron as an “unbearable situation.”

So what is a right-winger to make of all this? Like many of my ideological compatriots, over the past two decades I was adamantly opposed to Peres’ policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and especially his embrace of PLO terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat and his willingness to cede parts of the Land of Israel to our foes.

I believed then, as I do now, that the Oslo process was the single greatest strategic disaster in the modern State of Israel’s history, and that its ramifications continue to cast a deep shadow over the country.

But I also believe there is no denying that Peres was a man who dedicated himself to the State of Israel, and that now is not the time to engage in political diatribes or denunciations.

Simply put, Peres is one of the most fascinating figures in the annals of the country, a man who took part in the uphill struggle to carve out and secure a sovereign Jewish entity in the Middle East.

His contributions to Israel’s defense, such as the development of the Jewish state’s nuclear program in the 1950s and 1960s, are indisputable, and have made us all safer.

Whatever one may have thought of the man and his policies, Peres’s death is a time to focus on his role in some of the country’s greatest triumphs, rather than to harp on his part in some of its grandest disasters.

Human beings are complex creatures, full of incongruities, and Peres was no exception.

So while I disagreed with his vision over the past 25 years, and believe it to have been decidedly misguided, the Shimon Peres I prefer to remember in light of his death is the one who demonstrated just how much one person can accomplish over the course of a lifetime.

There will be plenty of time and opportunities for future historians and analysts to assess the totality of the individual, his accomplishments and failings.

But for now, let us recall with admiration Israel’s “greatest generation,” and the man who embodied its challenges and contradictions, in all their vigor and robustness.

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2 comments:

  1. Shimon Peres (born 1923 CE, died 2016 CE) never understood that Muslims have always hated Jews, and will always hate Jews forever, because that is what their religion requires them to do.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Muslims have always deceived non-Muslims and will always deceive non-Muslims forever, because that is what their religion requires them to do.

    Shimon Peres never understood that according to Islamic Religious Law [sharia], peace-treaties between Muslims and non-Muslims are worthless, and should be violated as-soon-possible by killing the non-Muslims that the peace-treaty was made with.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Islam cannot tolerate any Jewish state anywhere in the Middle East, regardless of its size or the shape of its borders.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Islam requires that Jews must be constantly oppressed by Muslims and trembling-in-fear before Muslims.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Jews having their own land and their own army is offensive to Islam, regardless of its size.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Islam requires that Jews must be only a little-bit-better than slaves.

    Shimon Peres never understood that Muslims view any compromise as humiliation, and humiliation is the worst thing in Muslim culture.

    Shimon Peres never understood that forgive-and-forget is not part of Muslim culture, especially when dealing with non-Muslims.

    Shimon Peres never understood that the Koran describes Jews as “apes and pigs”.

    Shimon Peres tried to negotiate peace with Muslims, but with zero understanding of Muslim beliefs. The result: The Oslo Accords were a disaster for Israel, and the severe troubles that Israel faces now were caused by it.

    How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:
    http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-to-pray-for-tzahal-idf.html

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  2. I would like to reflect on Shimon Peres journey from orthodox Judaism to humanistic Judaism, since I believe that this transition is a very important key to understanding the man.
    I was inspired by reading Brian Schrauger's new article in Jerusalem Journal:

    https://jerusalemjournal.net/news-and-views/israel-mourns-a-founding-father-s-death-shimon-peres

    There's a very helpful Wikipedia link.

    Israel would seem to live in a perpetual challenge for her very existence, surrounded by much hostility. Yet in the midst of all this hostility, Israel continues to thrive.

    It is right and good that the Jewish people should enjoy this resurrection. After such a very long diaspora, why should they not enjoy the fruit of their regathering? But in the midst of all this very real success- there comes a huge and a silent danger, an enemy who is not beyond Israel's borders, but rather who seeks to destroy Zionism from within.

    This enemy is not a new enemy, but rather a very old one. In Deut 4, Moses begins to teach the people. "do not forget."

    "Only be careful, and watch yourselves diligently as long as you live, so that you won't forget what you saw with your own eyes, so that these things won't vanish from your hearts." (Deu 4:9-10)

    And these famous words of Moses encapsulate Israel's greatest danger, that the nation forgets WHY she exists! In the battle for her nationhood, the battle itself occupied the heart and mind of the people. Under Joshua, the nation was victorious, but in Judges she crashes-a solemn warning of what happened to Israel in the prosperity that followed those incredible victories. Judges is perhaps the saddest book of the entire Hebrew canon.

    Modern day Israel has won incredible victories at every level- militarily, economically, scientifically and culturally. She is an astounding nation. Yet she is in grave danger of bowing the knee to a humanistic culture that, only 70 years ago, tried to destroy her. Humanistic Judaism seeks to enjoy the fruit of Israel's recreation while at the same time rejecting the reason for that recreation. Moses warning is very apt at this time:
    He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, 'I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.' (Deu 8:16-17)


    Israel's recreation has not come solely through the very considerable efforts of her people. It has come through the almighty's blessing. And that blessing has a central purpose- that she becomes, once again, the nation that represents the Almighty Creator God to a world that has chosen to deny his very existence. She is NOT just another Western-style nation, and she never will be. Her Creator will never allow her to be! (see Ez 20:32)


    There are two huge currents presently at work in this world, that work constantly to undermine the reason WHY Israel was called into being. At a political level, the UN seeks to establish a One World Government. At a religious level, there is an even more insidious agenda- the establishment of a One World Religion.


    These two movements are true bedfellows. What unites them is their rejection of the Creator, as described in Israel's holy Scriptures, and the Christian Scriptures explain very clearly that these two worldwide movements will increase in power before Messiah's return. The political movement rejects the Creator outright. But the far more dangerous religious movement seeks to recreate him in a highly toxic manner- as the syncretism of all the world's religions.


    There is only one way forward for Israel, and that can never be humanistic Judaism. The only way forward is a heart return to the Sh'ma:


    "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad
    [Hear, Isra'el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; (Deu 6:4)

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