Saturday, June 6, 2009

We Don't Want "Hell!"

Brothers and sisters- this post is a wake up call!! I grew up in a home where my Mom called and wrote Congressmen; Senators; the President, and went around with petitions. She passed on to me the belief that if I don't put up (fight for what I believe in) than I must shut up (I lose the right to complain.)

As an incentive for acting before it's too late, I have received permission to reprint a very moving essay written by a former resident of Gush Katif. If we don't let our voices be heard now (by e-mailing, sending petitions to leaders here in Israel and in the U.S.A., and praying non-stop to Hashem) who knows if my daughter and thousands others living over the green line will be part of Gerush/Expulsion part 2!


“You Can Go to Hell” By Gershon Perlman

In his final speech as a politician, a fed-up Davey Crockett, told his Tennessee constituents: “You can go to hell, I’m going to Texas.” This was a fateful decision for the coonskin-hatted frontiers-man. Davey Crockett met his end at the Alamo, but did so with no regret.

It is not uncommon for people to reach clarity of vision at a certain point in their lives. It is the thing good stories and movies are made of. Hemingway wrote about it in “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Eli Wiesel, in “Zalman or The Madness of God,” and more recently it was portrayed in the movie “Gladiator.” What makes a person risk a fateful decision? Is it to prove something to one’s self? Is it to seek a kind of vengeance against an enemy or an unappreciative society? Perhaps when the alternative is “hell,” there is really no other choice.

Hell is that place where no one wants to end up. Hell on Earth or what is also known as a living hell is that place where no one wants to spend even a minute of time or a moment of thought. Hell can be experienced through thought, as a state of mind. “I’ve been through hell,” is a metaphor we’ve all heard, if not used. It is something we sometimes put ourselves through. To escape it we must make decisions.
Almost all people have a conscience and not following it, can be hell. We usually have to undergo certain life experiences in order to get to that instance of clarity where conscientious and fateful decisions are made. These decisions are not dependent on their outcome, but are required in and of themselves. We all try to avoid risks for as long as we can, but the day of reckoning comes. If we are blessed, we arrive there through a process of thought, if not, then through the process of experience.

When close to thirty years ago I deemed hell as being a Jew living in the exile, I moved to Israel. Today, as during the past twenty-three years, I live in Gush Katif. The Arabs, who have tried to turn our lives into hell, even with the help of the Israeli left, who armed them and gave legitimacy to their actions, have not succeeded. If this in itself were hell we couldn’t have survived, we would have packed up and left. Even after some of our friends and neighbors were murdered, their families remained. This hasn’t been because of a lack of options, but out of choice. This proof can be witnessed when the next generation of a bereaved family marries and brings their new spouses to settle in Gush Katif.

But hell is something else. Hell is a Jewish state devoid of Jewish values that picks up where the anti-Semites, the pogromers, and the exilers left off. Hell is a Jewish prime minister who has become a cannibal of his own people. Hell is when a country has lost its will to exist and begins a process of national suicide. Hell is when Jews with Jewish values have become outcast in their own land. Hell is when the Jewish state becomes worse than the exile.

Gush Katif and everything it represents is the opposite of hell, it is a Jewish heaven on Earth. It is life with purpose and living with meaning. It is sacrificing for a cause. It is raising a family, and helping neighbors. It is giving to the needy and donating to the sick. It is celebrating in birth and consoling in death. It is a place where no one is forgotten. Gush Katif is everything the State of Israel should be. You can go where you want; I’m staying in Gush Katif.
Sadly, we all know what happened a few weeks after this poignant essay was penned. Call me naive, but I am a firm believer in, as the Hebrew song goes, "You and I Can Change the World." At the very least, when things DON'T work out as hoped (i.e. Pollard is still in jail despite many phone calls and e-mails having been sent,) our conscience allows us to live with ourselves. As Nachshon Waxman's father so eloquently put it, "Sometimes Abba says no." But that does not in any way relieve us of the obligation to strive for change as our "hishtadlut."

Are you happy with Obama's Cairo speech? His new pro-Arab stance? American pressure on the Israeli government to give up portions of Eretz Yisrael will probably remain intense. If you live in the U.S.A., you can send a FREE FAX to President Obama from House Fax number: 202-456-2461. His mailing address is:

Mailing Address:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

You can get your get your Congressmen's and Senators' addresses through this website: Obviously, please put in a good word for Yonatan ben Malka Pollard if you're already writing!

Israeli residents: Please e-mail Knesset memebers; you can get their addresses at Bibi Netanyahu's address is:

Please dear friends-- write, phone, e-mail, petition, demonstrate, and let us all rock the sky with our pleas to Hashem to prevent Obama's coercion bringing us to yet another catastrophe!

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