Sunday, May 8, 2005

#117 DAVKA!

Musings #117
May 6-8, 2005
27-9th of Nissan


Davka, this year I’m hanging flags, Israeli flags, on my house. Davka this year, when my country is treating me like a potential rebel and traitor. Davka this year, when my simple opposition to the government’s policies is considered incitement. Davka this year, when the prime minister’s policies are endangering the security of ordinary citizens. And davka this year, when the army and police are being trained to battle innocent civilians protecting their homes and families.

Over eleven years ago, when the Oslo Accords were announced, I took a small piece of white fabric and on it drew two blue lines and a Jewish Star. Then I ripped it, like a mourner tears his clothes. I wore it for a long time, every place I went, even to my son’s Bar Mitzvah. When I pinned that homemade flag onto my blouse I was certain that it would catch on as the perfect way of demonstrating our pain at the abandonment of our Land, but it didn’t. Most people considered the ripping of our national flag too traumatic, too drastic.

This year we suddenly have a lot of flags. One of the big Israeli banks has been giving them away for free with the newspapers. And as some of you may know, we get more newspapers than anyone.

The note with the flag instructs us “to decorate our homes with flags, so we will all have a happy holiday.” That’s not why I’m hanging flags. I’m hanging Israeli flags davka because the government and media are treating me like a rebel who is causing a civil war. They’re treating us as if we’re seceding from our nation. The truth is that we are fighting for the integrity of our nation, to keep it whole and strong. We are not rebels; we are patriots. The truth is that it’s incitement to use the language, terms, innuendos that Sharon, his followers and the media use against us.

The children raised in YESHA are today’s best soldiers. They receive Citations of Excellence, volunteer for the most dangerous missions. In the early years of the state, it was the kibbutz youth that achieved disproportionately high rank in the Israeli army. Today’s kibbutz youth have other priorities. Today the gauntlet of Zionism has been picked up by those raised in YESHA.

This Shabbat there was a guest in Shiloh, Rabbi Yigal Kamenetsky, the Rabbi of Gush Katif. He spoke to us Shabbat afternoon, the hour when most people are usually napping, but the building was packed. I must trust my memory to report what he said, since it’s forbidden to take notes on Shabbat. He told us some amazing things about the constant miracles in Gush Katif. First of all, as crowded as the Arab city of Gaza is, the area of Gush Katif was deserted, desolate, not even the minimal desert plants and wildlife. The Arabs considered the area cursed, haunted and weren’t willing to live there.

Today Gush Katif is a miracle. Plants grow under conditions that the experts all insisted were doomed to failure. Bli eyin hara’a, the blitz of bombs the Arabs launch at Gush Katif rarely injures anyone. According to the laws of nature and statistics, all of this is inexplicable. Instead of celebrating this or at least appreciating it, the Israeli government is plotting Gush Katif’s destruction.

According to HaRav Yigal, there is a reason for this. The people in government, the media are battling with us for the identity of the “Israeli.” The Zionist movement had dreamt of a “new Jew,” strong and fearless, who worked with his hands, with a “kova tembel” (workers cap) on his head, work clothes, blue eyes, sun-bleached hair, a Jew who wasn’t restricted by old-fashioned Jewish Law.

All of a sudden, after over fifty years of statehood, they looked around and realized that their children and grandchildren had thrown out their kova tembel and instead were decorated with “piercings,” planning their next trip abroad. The proud Israeli farmer of today is in Gush Katif, and there are tzitziyot (ritual fringes) streaming out from under his shirt and a kippah under his work hat. To make matters even worse, this coming year more than fifty percent of the first grade classes will be in the religious (and chareidi) education streams. The demographic trend is clear, and it’s not what the “Zionist establishment” planned.

Throughout our history there were other instances when there was a struggle, a conflict between the spiritual and the “rational,” and the spiritual, the religious has always won. And this time we will again, G-d willing. Those who want to wipe us of out of history will be the ones to disappear.

The blue and white flag is ours, and it will decorate my home. Let no one doubt the loyalty and patriotism of religious Jews, because Israel is still our country, despite its faults. No one can take that from us.

Chag Ha’Atzma’ut Sameach,
And Let Us Be a Truely Independent Nation,

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
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Cosmic X said...

I am glad that you know how you will observe Independence Day. I myself am not sure.

Batya said...

We shouldn't give it to them on a silver platter.
The flags are just decoration. "celebration's" more internal