Sunday, July 16, 2006

From the Mouths of Babes...

Janet here, with some stories.
I was at a wedding. The bride and the groom had both been reared in Judea and Samaria communities. Before they sang, "if I forget you, Jerusalem..." and broke a glass, the rabbi took out a box, explaining that these are ashes from Gush Katif. He put a bit of ash on the groom's head, and together we prayed to see the rebuilding of Gush Katif, along with the restoration of Jerusalem's holy Temple. I looked around at the serious youth, with tears in my own eyes. I noticed that while most of the young men were of army age, and some of them, I knew, were in the army now, not one of them was wearing his uniform. A few years back, at weddings of my older sons, uniforms were prevalent. Sometimes the soldiers even wore their berets and prepared a dance as a group, for the couple, enjoying their esprit de corps. They were proud of being soldiers in the IDF, proud of being able to contribute to the safety of the people and land of Israel. This year, after Disengagement, some of the fellows are postponing their induction into the army if they can. Some are not going to be "allowed" to serve, because they were arrested at demonstrations. Apparently, even those who are in the army are not bragging about it. They change into civilian clothing as soon as possible.
Another incident: I stood at the gate of a settlement waiting for a ride. A few teenaged girls were waiting with me, one of whom had a little sister, about 4 years old, in tow. A couple of soldiers were also waiting for a ride. When a jeep came to pick them up, they decided to take a break. As one soldier after another exited the vehicle, the 4-year-old girl became more and more anxious, moving first to her sister's side, then to her lap, and finally hugging her and saying, "aren't you scared?" "Of what?" replied Big Sister. "Of the soldiers! They came to hit us and take us away from home!"
Disengagement did much damage to the whole of Israel, not "only" to the direct victims, the people of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria. I had originally planned, in this article, to describe the damage, but Sarah Honig of the Jerusalem Post said it much better.
What remains for me to add is my belief that Disengagement didn't just "disengage" Israel from a piece of real estate. It didn't just render 9,000 Jewish families homeless, jobless and helpless in what claims to be a Jewish State. It didn't just embolden our enemies, thus endangering all the citizens Israel. It also changed the defence forces. Soldiers who had been forced to drag their fellow Jews out of their homes, bulldoze those homes, dig up Jewish graves and raze synagogues, comb through the area afterwards picking up every scrap of paper or debris with Hebrew printed on it, so the Arabs who move in later won't be "insulted" by the awareness that Jews used to live here... how can such soldiers be unchanged by such an experience? They were taught a distinctly anti-Zionist lesson last summer: that the Land of Israel is in our hands, not by Divine or moral right, but by the whims of national or international politics, and that that right can be rescinded. Citizens of Israel learned that the army has power, not just to fight our enemies, but to fight us, too. We learned that civil rights in Israel don't extend further than what the politicans want to grant us; they are by no means "natural rights" which would be inalienable. An Israeli can serve in the army, build a home and family, pay taxes, obey the law, and find it all destroyed at the stroke of a politician's pen. A right today may not be a right tomorrow. The President apologized, but the print and electronic media and the Knesset played a massive game of "blame the victim". The youth of Israel were taught that all of the above was legal and legitimate, that Palestinians have rights, but that Jews do not, especially not religious Jews. "Religious Zionists" were taught last summer that Zionism is dead, and that perhaps our "haredi" brethren were right all along in saying that it never should have been created. Israel always prided itself on the fact that the army was "the people's army". The government of Israel defiled the defense forces when it transformed them into the expulsion forces. Woe to the soldiers who are caught in the chasm created last summer!
So please pray, fellow Jews and other believers in G-d. Please pray that our nation will wake up and repent our sins. Each person should look deep inside and change what needs to be changed. As a nation we must together, change what needs to be changed. Ask G-d to help us because only He can!

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