Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mixed Messages From Rav Yigal

HaRav Yigal Kaminetzky, Rabbi of Gush Katif, was in Shiloh for Shabbat.  He gave a shiur/talk to the entire yishuv, men, women, youth, anyone who was willing to give up their Shabbat afternoon rest.  Since I always go to a Women's Torah Class Shabbat noon, I had no problems with the timing.  I just had to wait until my husband returned home to be with my father; that made me a few minutes late.

When I walked in, Rav Yigal was talking about faith and the greatness of what his people, the Gush Katif DP's are experiencing.  I was upset, turned off.  This was too consistent with the reports I'd been reading and hearing of how he had worked with the government before and immediately after Disengagement.  I did not want to hear about the great opportunities for Kiddush Hashem etc.  I have no patience to hear about the "bright side" of the gerush, the expulsion from Gush Katif by the Israeli Government which turned loyal Israeli citizens into homeless, unemployed "evictees."

It took all my self-control to stay rooted to my seat and not make a fuss.  I'm glad I did it, because after that awful saccerine speech, Rav Yigal said much better things, things I could relate to, agree with or found particularly interesting.

Just a couple of his points:
  • The families that stayed to the end and protested have done better, both emotionally and financially.  On the whole, his statistics, it was good for the parents and youth to defend their homes and very crucial for the children to see their parents doing so.
  • The time that those families were housed in hotels at full-board were less of a financial hardship than for the families which went immediately to Nitzan (the carravilla site) where they had to support themselves from day one.
  • The government's (Sela's) cruelty was unprecedented, and it continues to be inexplicable.
  • The Arabs had never demanded Gush Katif.  They had never lived there, and according to him, present agricultural attempts by the Arabs have not been successful.
Personally, I think that the official protest movement was not as determined to stop Disengagement as it should have been.  Rav Yigal was part of that movement.  Our soldiers in the IDF should have refused to participate.  It's interesting that davka now there is less fear to protest and pay the price.  This isn't all that surprising, considering that Israelis reelected the Labor Party after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the "mechdal," disasterous mismanagement and misjudgement of our defense and Military Intelligence.  But the following elections in 1977 brought Menachem Begin's Likud (or was it still GaHaL) into the government for the first time.

It does take a while for things to sink in.  There's the perspecitve of time, and many people need that to make changes in their thoughts and actions.  Change of any sort is not easy for most people, and very few are natural risk-takers.  G-d willing, the Jewish People will understand what we must really do.

Chodesh Kislev Tov.  In a few weeks we will celebrate the Holiday of Chanukah, or Miracles of how the "small" defeated the "mighty."   


josh said...

The government really botched the job.

Only the truly naive living in Judea And Samaria now would belive any future promise of full compensation. What would I do with it? Buy a room in Rosh Haayin? If chas v'shalom, another girush comes, it will be important for the evictees to see that the promises are empty.

Batya said...

Nobody is looking for money. The country wouldn't be safe if Jews were banned from YOSH and if the IDF wasn't here.

Keli Ata said...

Peanut gallery comment but...I wonder if the people of Gush Katif ever really thought the government would go through with the expulsion? It seemed so outrageous to actually believe soldiers would evict 8000 people by force.

Not that money could ever compensate them for the emotional trauma or anything but they do deserve reparations. The US gave reparations to the Japanese Americans it put in internment camps during WW II.

Thrusting these 8000 Israelis into homelessness or other less than ideal living situations is on par in terms of the horror and injustice of it all.

They definitely deserve reparations--financial, preferential treatment in applying for government jobs etc.

Batya said...

Personally, I didn't believe it would really happen. And yes, they did get some reparations, but most people ate it, if you catch the drift. It was hard to handle the money wisely for most people. That's human nature. And it certainly wasn't enough to rebuild their homes and lives.

Hadassa said...

Keli Ata, I can tell you as a first-hand witness that many, I think most, of my neighbors deluded themselves and told their children that "it wouldn't happen". Apparently the collective memory of the expulsion from Yamit, not to mention more recent events in Yosh (the Ozeri family in Kiryat Arba for one), was lost to them. I heard so many times "in the street" and in the media, "this will be the first time Jews have expelled Jews from their homes in Israel". All anyone had to do was speak to a former resident of Yamit in Neve Dekalim, Alei Sinai or the nearby Eshkol region to learn the truth from a Jew who was expelled by a Jew. Before the expulsion from Yamit there might have been some justification for believing that "it wouldn't happen", not since.
Hadassa, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh

Batya said...

Hadassa, I'm so glad to hear from you and really appreciate your input about this. Thanks

Hadassa said...

We moved into our new house in Elon Moreh! (More later on that. I've got more than a few good stories.) And had to wait for over a month for a phone line because of logistic problems. Our neighbor graciously allowed us to share his Internet connection through a router, but my husband needed it for work. I managed to beg a bit of email time, but not much.

Batya said...

Hadassa, that's so exciting. Mazal Tov!