Monday, February 21, 2011

Say yes to Hebron trips

Op-ed: Our presence in city can be debated, yet one cannot deny Hebron’s significance to Jews

Yoaz Hendel
Israel Opinion/Ynet
21 February '11,7340,L-4031498,00.html

The education minister’s decision to send students on trips to the Cave of the Patriarchs managed to let many dark genies out of the radical Left’s bottles. Those who preach, with liberal zeal, that we shouldn’t attribute too much importance to stones and sites and that we learn history without becoming subjugated to it suddenly turned into stone and dirt zealots. It is precisely those who wish us to get to know the other who are now trying to hinder such effort with all their might.

And why is this happening? Because the Education Ministry did not mention the word Hebron in the “right context” of a peace deal and occupation. And if this was not enough, the “lawbreakers” dealing with education planned to send actual students, flesh and blood, to the city. The kind of students who would be able to see things with their own eyes, think, become familiar with the place, and learn (instead of sitting at a coffee shop, writing columns and protesting against a place they never visited.)

The explanations provided by “members of the peace camp,” who oppose the Hebron trips, can be used as material for advanced hypocrisy studies. Haim Oron, a normally level-headed person, claimed that Hebron is the modern-day Sodom and that therefore it would be better not to send students there. Meanwhile, Ahmad Tibi referred to the trips as “ideological coercion,” apparently based on the understanding that good democrats must not see some things with their own eyes.

Knesset Member Dov Khenin opposes the move because in his view crossing the Green Line erases geographical history from the minds of young students. He says nothing about the fear that there will be nothing left to erase should we never leave Tel Aviv. And so, we heard countless learned explanations that have nothing to do with the Cave of the Patriarchs visits.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, despite the objections voiced by the above figures, Hebron is part of our heritage. One may dislike our presence there in terms of politics, yet one cannot deny the significance of the city and of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

As fate would have it, the post-peace-with-Arafat era has turned the Cave of the Patriarchs into a safe place for a visit and even a convenient one in terms of accessibility and distance. This brings together all the desired conditions for those who wish to teach their children about our past, and not via reality TV shows.

The trouble is that in Israel of the “forces of light and progress,” some places must remain in the dark as far as these forces are concerned.

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