Where to start?
Yesterday afternoon I attended a demonstration in the heart of
Tel Aviv, joining hundreds of others protesting the continued bombardment
of Gush Katif. In truth, we weren't protesting the attacks
rather we were protesting the lack of reaction. The Israeli armed
forces are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the Arab Kassam
missile and mortar attacks on Gush Katif's 8,500 Jews.
According to Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg, not too long
ago, Defense Minister Shaul Mufaz ordered Chief of Staff, General
Moshe Ya'alon, "Don't hit back until after the palestinian
elections (on Jan. 9th). In other words, the Israelis will just
have to suffer for a while this is the cost of peace.
At the demonstration I met Mrs. Debbie Rosen, ([email@example.com]
- 972-8-68408470) who is working with Eran and Dror Vanunu in the
Gush Katif spokesperson's office. Interviewing her for today's show,
I asked Debbie, a resident of Neve Dekalim, about the situation
in Gush Katif. She told me that not too long ago, following another
rocket attack against them, speaking with a senior officer in the
area, she asked him why the army doesn't shoot back, in the same
fashion that the Jews are attacked? "Just like they shoot mortars
at us, let's shoot mortars back at them."
The officer looked at her, stunned, and replied, "What, shoot
at them, just like that? It's not ethical to shoot mortars or missiles
at innocent people."
Debbie's response: "What about us aren't we innocent
The officer didn't answer he just looked at her and walked
I also asked her to describe to our listeners what happens when
a bomb falls on your house, or next to it. Debbie attempted, for
a few minutes, to express in words the inexpressible. We parted
ways, and a couple of hours I was back in Hebron.
I came into the office to pull down some the pictures from the
event, when my cell phone rang. It was Debbie. In a voice choked
with emotion, she related to me the following account: "You
asked me to describe how it feels when a mortar or a Kassam rocket
hits. Well, you just cannot imagine. Listen, tonight, while we were
at the demonstration, there was a Bat-Mitzvah party for one of the
girls here in Neve Dekalim. My daughter was there. The girls were
outside in the yard when suddenly they saw an approaching missile.
Running inside the house, well, they made it just in time. The missile
exploded in the garden of that very same yard, where only seconds
before, they had been playing." She added, "it's just
like the boy who was playing basketball last week when a bomb exploded
on the basketball court, very close to him."
I sat, listening, not being able to speak. What can you say? We
decided that I'd call Debbie back in the morning and let her repeat
the story again, so I could record it and play it on my weekly radio
show, later today (www.israelnationalradio.com).
Late last week there was a general meeting of activists from around
the country, in Jerusalem. Initiated by the Yesha council, the meeting
introduced the organization's new campaign to prevent the abandonment
of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. The basic element of the
program is a huge sit-down strike next to the Knesset, commencing
next Tuesday. People from around the country will be asked to participate,
irregardless of the rain and cold, and hopefully, the crowds will
grow and grow, eventually reaching tens, if not hundreds of thousands
of people. The goal: to convince the Knesset that the Israeli public
will not accept expulsion of people from their homes, that the Israeli
public will not accept abandonment of Eretz Yisrael to our enemies,
that they our representatives in the Knesset, must vote against
legislation called 'the pinui-pitzui (eviction-compensation) law"
when it reaches the Knesset floor. MK Uri Ariel of the National
Union party, speaking at the conference, claimed that the only way
to stop the eviction is via the Knesset convincing them to
vote against the law, and if necessary, bringing the issue to the
people, either in the form of a national referendum, or regular
elections. According to Ariel, there is a very strong probability
that Sharon will not receive his party's nomination for the premiership,
and that the eviction plans will draw to a complete halt.
Other ideas are springing up. I receive an email from a reader
in the United States, who (rightly) claimed that the 'Wallerstein
proclamation' petition (www.petitiononline.com/eretzyis/petition.html)
is not enough, that action must be taken. He suggested organizing
a general strike throughout Israel, either in conjunction with the
Yesha council campaign, or separately. Last night this person called
me, and after some discussion, offered to try and organize such
My own idea, sort of hidden within the petition, is very simple.
Certainly I hope that the eviction plan will be thwarted long before
Sharon attempts its implementation. However, should it come down
to it, we are going to need hordes of people to stop the horror.
We need thousands and thousands of people to drop what they're doing,
board the planes, come over here, and do what has to be done. It's
as simple as that.
Simple, you ask? Simple? Work, family, etc etc how can we
leave all and just
So ask you . But I ask you what about Eretz Yisrael
what comes first Eretz Yisrael, or work, or
we're not just talking about Gush Katif and the northern Shomron.
We're talking about all of Judea and Samaria. We're talking about
Hebron. We're talking about Jerusalem. We are talking about the
fate of the Jewish people in Israel. So, what comes first? You tell
Basically, what it comes down to, is that we are going to have
to close down the country. Not everybody is going to be able to
get to Gush Katif, or even close to Gush Katif. However, Israel
isn't a one-road country I'm sure you understand what I mean.
There are those who might recoil at such a suggestion. And to an
extent I agree under normal circumstances. However, these
are not normal circumstances. This government, led by Ariel Sharon,
is intentionally abandoning thousands of citizens, Israelis who
serve in the army, citizens who pay taxes, citizens who are people,
just like you and me to their fate, like sheep surrounded
by wolves. Ariel Sharon, together with Mufaz and Ya'alon, have adopted
a policy of 'live and let die' leave the Arabs alone, even
at the price of Israeli lives. There is a difference between Arab
blood and Jewish blood Arabs are, in the words of the above-mentioned
officer, 'innocents.' The Israelis are 'settlers,' and we all know
what that implies.
Last night, speaking at the protest, Bentzi Liberman, secretary-general
of the Yesha council said, 'if three mortars hit Tel Aviv, the army
would spare no efforts. But when it comes to Gush Katif, nothing
is done the people are abandoned.'
After I had, more or less, finished writing this article, I had
the second above-mentioned conversation with Debbie from Gush Katif.
As we were talking, I couldn't help but think: this morning the
Israeli media is drenched with yesterday's disaster in India-Thailand.
It really is an awful calamity, tens of thousands dead; hundreds
of Israelis traveling in that part of the world are still missing.
We hope and pray that they are all safe and well.
But what I have trouble understanding is that daily, almost hourly,
Israeli citizens here, in Israel, not in India, not in Thailand,
but here, an hour from Tel Aviv, are facing enemy attacks, their
lives are threatened and some lives are destroyed. Where is Israeli
radio? where is Israeli television? where is public
opinion? Fine, talk about India, but what about our back yard? Debbie
Rosen also told me about a woman whose home has come under direct
enemy fire nine times. Do you have any idea what that does to a
person? It has left this woman in permanent shell shock.
Last night I came upon the Barat family from Kfar Darom. Hannah
Barat was seriously injured during a terror attack and left paralyzed,
living permanently in a wheelchair. Hannah is a very special person,
and about a year ago gave birth to another child, a little boy,
despite her disabilities. Her husband, Eliezer Barat, told me how,
a few days ago, a rocket hit their home, destroying part of the
roof. Thank G-d, no one was injured. But don't let anyone tell you
that lightning doesn't strike twice.
One final story. Debbie told me how her youngest son, in kindergarten,
hearing thunder outside, told her, "Mommy, ask G-d to stop
the mortars and missiles ."
The present administration can only be labeled as a 'memshelet
shmad' a government of annihilation a government willing
to sacrifice its own people and for what for what?
For absolutely nothing.
Please G-d stop the missiles.
With blessings from Hebron.
The Jewish Community of Hebron
December 27, 2004