In one portrayal of the Titanic, the mighty and majestic ship that hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912 and sank in a little over two hours, we see the captain, the owner, the senior officers, pushing the ship to speed through the waters so as to break all previous records. Since it was the ship’s maiden voyage, traveling from Southampton, and then Queenstown, England, to New York, the crew of stokers, greasers, and firemen who worked in the engine room far below the luxury decks, understood that the ship should not exceed its abilities on its first time out. Their superiors had different ideas and went so far as to ignore all warnings of icebergs in the sea as they urged the ship on. The result was the loss of the ship, 1500 lives, many injured, and much suffering amongst the survivors. It is easy to see the comparison to the actions of Israel’s leaders today.
As the AFSI Chizuk group traveled around Israel this past October, it was apparent that the “little guys” understand the need to hold onto the land, and to fight for a “whole Israel,” while the “captain” and his “officers” played horrific games with Israel’s safety. What we saw was Arab arrogance, audacity, and terror that was completely out of control, while Israel’s Jews were being discriminated against, imprisoned, and treated like second-class citizens. The “captains” were busy releasing prisoners and talking “peace” and the “two-state solution” with the Arabs, while the “little guys” were putting the facts on the ground, regardless of the personal sacrifice required. Picture the Titanic crew in the belly of the ship working desperately to keep the ship moving, while the captain and his henchmen dined in the elegant dining rooms, ignoring warnings of disaster and pushing forward recklessly until the tragic collision with the iceberg that would sink the ship. That is the story of Israel today.
Chashmonaim, Modiin Illit, and Kiryat Sefer were our first stops, with David Jacobs acting as our host and guide. David pointed out that the population of these communities, 57,000, was the largest in Judea and Samaria. Being over the Green Line, they are on the negotiating table.
The Arab sprawl became apparent in Charasha, a non-authorized community. Standing on Mt. Choresh all we saw were Arab villages. As we drove through N’ariya we passed the Arab University of Bir Zeit on the outskirts of Ramalla, a breeding ground for terrorism. While we were driving on a road in Area C, we were surrounded by Area A – Arab areas that are all self-governing.
The brand new PA city of Rawabi, for which Israel gave the land, now boasts a huge PA flag. Being close to Ramallah, this city becomes another encroachment on Jerusalem.
Along the road to Psagot, a Jewish community of 200 families, we saw Arab cars parked with their owners picking olives. We also passed many Arab villages.
When settlers first arrived in Psagot, Ramallah was far in the distance. Now there are new homes abutting its fence.
After lunching in Ofra, we traveled to Amona. The sad sight of the caravans and the plots where destroyed homes once stood, underlined the absurdity of the government’s policy of destroying Jewish homes, but allowing illegal Arab buildings to flourish.
The Ashel HaShomron hotel in Ariel became our base for the first two nights. Lenny Goldberg, a long-time resident of Tapuach spoke to us about the many judicial issues and related that many young people feel the brunt of anti-Jewish discrimination.
Our next visit was to the Barkan Industrial Center where Jews and Arabs work side by side in 140 factories, earning the same salary and enjoying the same benefits. Even so, the businesses, the best bridge to peace, are under boycott by the PA and EU. The same is true of Ariel University, home to 15,000 students, with approximately 500-700 of them Arabs and 500 Ethiopians. They are under boycott from all Israeli universities, except for Bar Ilan.