Thursday, October 28, 2004

My Ripped Flag

Musings #80
October 27, 2004
The 12rd of Cheshvan

My Ripped Flag

I guess I have to find my ripped flag, since the Keneset has again voted to give Our Land to our enemies and uproot and destroy Jewish communities. Eleven years ago, during the Oslo nightmare, I took a small Israeli flag, ripped it as in the kriya, ripping that a Jew is commanded to do when mourning a close relative, and pinned it to my blouse.

I wore it everyday and every where, to work, to the grocers and even to my son’s Bar Mitzvah. Naively, I expected it to become a popular, mass movenent, non-violent protest. Someone even helped by finding a donor, so we could sell a “kit” that included a ripped flag, a tri-lingual information card, explaining the symbolism, and a safety pin to attach the flag to one’s clothes. We must have sold a few hundred, and a couple of supporters may still have them hanging in their cars.

A few days, or weeks, after Bibi Netanyahu was elected prime minister, with extremely mixed feelings, I took the flag off and put it away. In all honesty I didn’t really believe that he was any sort of “messaiah,” or would be much of an improvement over his predecessors. It’s just that I felt that my protest was a failure. It was considered little more than an eccentricity by most and an embarrassment by my family.

As we all know, Rabin and Peres’s Oslo wasn’t the first Israeli withdrawal, transfer and destruction of Jewish communities. Menachem Begin gave away the Sinai and destroyed the Jewish comunities there in exchange for international praise and illusions of “peace.” I am totally convinced that his realization of how mistaken he was caused his eventual depression, decline and death. He was a fine, moral man and too sensitive for politics. The decades of constant snubs and accusations of his being a terrorist caused him damage. As prime minister, he mistakenly thought that he could permanently change his image if he “made peace.” The only problem is that peace, true peace, can’t be made or manufactured. It has to evolve. It’s like putting a roof on a house before the foundations are poured and the supports are erected. The structure will collapse.

The serious, murderous terrorism we are suffering from today is the collapse caused by “making peace.” Withdrawing from our Homeland and destroying Jewish communities does not make peace. It causes death, terrorism.

The Jewish symbol of mourning is to rip one’s clothes. Clothing, a symbol of man’s first great sin, the eating of the “forbiden fruit.” Clothing the material, materialistic cover, the symbol of pride, vanity.

Eleven years ago, when I first wore that ripped flag some people were horrified. To them the flag had a holiness, and they considered my ripping it sinful, immoral. To them the flag was “too holy” to be used as a protest symbol. For me, only our Holy Land is too holy, too precious to be ripped.

The following is the English text we distributed with the ripped flags:

“Kriy’ah—the tearing of one’s garments—has been a sign of Jewish grief since biblical times: “and Joshua… and Calev…rent their garments.” (Num. 14:6). This torn Israeli flag symbolizes our pain over the Israeli government’s failure to fulfill the Zionist Dream of vibrant Jewish life in all parts of the Land of Israel.”

“Ain chadash tachat l’shemesh” There’s nothing new under the sun. Kohelet

Batya Medad, Shiloh


Hokule'a Kealoha said...

I found you on Smooth Stones Blogroll You write beautifully. I look forwaed to reading more of your writing in the future.

Batya said...

Thank you. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.