Thursday, May 20, 2004

And The Winner Is….

Musings #48
May 2, 2004

And The Winner Is….

Israeli democracy tried something new today.
Prime Minister Sharon, of the Likud Party, declared a policy that contradicted his party’s and his electoral campaign’s ideology. Very confident in himself, he pledged to ask his party, the simple dues paying members, if they support him in his plan to destroy Jewish communities in Gush Katif and northern Shomron. Originally he promised to follow the voice of the people, but as the polls began to change from support to opposition, he in turn backtracked on his promise to comply with the results.

For many years already, Israel has been starved for true leadership. Recent elections have been very difficult, because, whether on the right or the left, citizens are dissatisfied with their politicians. There has been a steady decline in the percentage of citizens exercising their right to vote, as frustration evolved into apathy and cynicism.

There is one aspect of this recent crisis that has made me very happy. We are now able to eliminate more “false leaders,” from our list. Everyone of those ministers and “leading politicians” who pledged their support to Sharon’s plan to reward terror by uprooting Jewish families, homes, farms and businesses can no longer be considered trustworthy. Especially since most of them basically admitted that they think the plan is dangerous, but they don’t want to lose their powerful and prestigious jobs in the government. They swallowed their principles and self-respect and crossed themselves off the list.

A few politicians like Ruby Rivlin, who traveled the country reminding everyone that this was a vote on Eretz Yisrael, deserve our thanks and support. Thousands of high school students signed petitions to Limor Livnat, criticizing her support of Sharon’s plan, and even her father publicly chastised her for abandoning the principles on which she was raised.

Plain ordinary citizens from Yesha and the rest of the country went day and night, knocking on doors of Likud members all over the country, explaining the danger Sharon’s plan will have on the entire country. Even I, who live in Shiloh, got at least a half a dozen phone calls reminding me to “vote NO.”

Rabbis suggested the saying of additional t’hillim, psalms, and composed special prayers to be said. There was something for everyone to do.

Now the votes are being counted. On TV they have been predicting an overwhelming majority against Sharon’s plan and Sharon, himself.

I was in Jerusalem today, in the area of Binyanei Ha’uma, where the voting took place, and it was inspiring. Dozens, if not hundreds, of young people were button-holing anyone who could possibly be a voter to explain to them why they should vote: NO.

One of the reasons some of the politicians who are in favor of withdrawing from Yesha give is that “the people” are tired of war and no longer willing to accept the burden of defending such “far off” places like Gush Katif, or dangerous places like the Shomron. They are projecting their feelings onto the whole country. That’s a mistake. There’s great strength, determination and patriotism in Israel today. You just had to have seen the youth, their enthusiasm and energy.

Our youth has taken classic Zionism to the next stage, up on the hills. Those wonderful hilltop communities are the continuation of the early chalutzim, pioneers. They have an extraordinarily inspiring relationship with the Land. They are the generation born after the Six Day War. Their connection to the land of our forefathers is natural, not one of dreams. As children they went on school trips to Shechem and Chevron. They ran around the same mountains as the Maccabis once did, as they pretended to fight the Greeks. They are not inhibited by visions of borders and fences.

After the Jewish People finally left Egypt, they had to wander forty years until a new generation was capable of settling the Land with Joshua. Our youth is that new generation.

“V’yeish tikvah l’acharetech, n’um Adoshem, v’shavu banim l’gvulam.” “And there is hope for your future, declared G-d, and the children will return to their borders.” (Jeremiah, XXXI, 17)

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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