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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Adir Zik’

Will Naftali Bennett’s ‘Broken Chip’ Kill the Hopes of a Million Voters?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Jewish Home Party Chairman Naftali Bennett on Saturday night assembled a press conference at his party headquarters in Petah Tikva, following “controversial” remarks he had made on Thursday, that, should he receive an order to evacuate a Jew from his home, “my conscience will not allow it. I would ask my commander to release me.”

At the press conference, Bennett insisted that he did not support conscientious objection.

“I do not call for disobedience and I never called for refusing orders,” Bennett said. “I’ve been serving as warrior for 22 years, and fought in all of Israel’s wars. I never called for refusing orders. In the Likud they pounced on my words, twisted them and created a false image. I spoke from my heart’s blood, and I do not apologize for what I said.”

So far, had Bennett stopped right there, I would have said he received really bad advice, but at least had the good sense not to ruin whatever positive image he had created during his clash with the bestial Nissim Mishal, a yarmulke wearing television host who makes Mike Wallace look like Charlie Rose.

Mishal ambushed Bennett, attacked him personally in condescending tones, practically cursed him out, cut him off whenever Bennett disagreed with the charges against him, and when in doubt, turned to a team of “experts,” each of whom had his or her own biased, aggressive pack of “research” to dump on the candidate.

Israeli Television has some beautiful, touching shows that are a marvel of artistic achievement. Nissim Mishal’s show is a pit stop on the information highway. Bennett didn’t have a friend in the room – and he held his own quite well. He could have scored higher had he watched more Moshe Feiglin tapes – unlike Feiglin, Bennett appeared like he was actually trying to persuade his host to listen to him. Feiglin has long ago decided that his hosts, by definition, are knife wielding assassins, working for his enemies, and so he speaks over their heads, directly to the audience.

Still, Bennett scored a solid 7 or 8 out of 10 for his overall appearance. Towards the very end of the torturous interview, Mishal asked Bennett if, as a major in the army, he would carry out an order to evacuate Jews – and you’ve read his answer above.

It was a great answer, which all his enemies immediately took out of context, to mean that Bennett was advocating that it was a good thing for soldiers to refuse an order. Hence the press conference Saturday night.

I thought the press conference was unnecessary, especially not on a Saturday night, right after Shabbat. It’s called letting the other side define you. If they call you names, that’s OK, they’re your enemies. But if they call you name and you drop everything to tell the press you don’t deserve those names – you inevitably look like you might deserve at least some of what they’re saying.

If you take your time, and then decide which unique manner of response suits you, and you stick to your own script, rather than change it in order to answer the other side’s accusations – then you haven’t let them define you.

So Bennett committed the first error of a novice by calling the press conference. But it looked like he was coming out of it without losing too many points – when he picked up a piece of paper and read:

“…But I’m a public leader, and now I will say it clearly: a command to uproot a Jewish community is a fatal blow to the most basic human rights, placing soldiers in a dilemma. It is a tough dilemma and cannot be swept under the rug.”

OK, not so bad, I thought, he’s restating what he had told Mishal, something for the press to take home – we might be out of the woods.

And then he said, in the serious tone of a politician who had been drilled by his advisers that he had to say it, had to eat the stinking fish, read it from the paper in his hands:

“But in the end, when push comes to shove, a soldier must fulfill military orders.”

Adir Zik and I Climb Up Temple Mount

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Last night I was following accusations by Bibi Netanyahu’s only credible opponent in the Likud party, Moshe Feiglin, that a published ad signed by him and calling for a mass expulsion of Arabs from Temple Mount was nothing more than a provocation. Indeed, Feiglin does go up to Temple Mount on the 19th of each Jewish month – but other than that, everything else in that story was false.

It reminded me of my own climb up the holiest mountain, back in the summer of 2004. It began on the Shabbat I spent as guest of the Zik family, in the Givat HaMivtar neighborhood of Jerusalem. My host was the late Adir Zik, perhaps the most effective anti-establishment voice Israel’s national-religious camp ever possessed—and at a time when that voice was needed most urgently, following Oslo and two Intifadas. Adir’s Friday morning drive show on Arutz 7 had the highest ratings for its time slot, offering Adir’s feisty, unabashed attacks on many foes, but, most notably, on the media, Tikshoret in Hebrew, which he renamed Tishkoret, meaning, roughly, a source of lies.

Adir had already gone up to the Mountaintop dozens of times, under all kinds of conditions, with all sorts of restrictions and limitations and check-ups. But that summer, the gates were opened once more and Jews were allowed to come in. It was still forbidden to pray there, or even to stop and shut one’s eyes in meditation. But it was permitted to enter the site. So I asked Adir to take me to Temple Mount as soon as he could.

Frankly, I really was not your typical national-religious guy at the time. My Judaism was the Diaspora kind, theoretical, hesitating, untanned and immascular. Holy symbols frightened rather than excited me, and a tour through the courtyard on Temple Mount struck me, as it does most of the world’s Jews, as dangerous for twofold reasons: because of the Arabs and because of the chance that one would set foot on something sacred and then go figure…

But I was so tempted by the opportunity to spend an entire morning with Adir Zik, and to be engaged in such an adventure to boot. Because Adir was such a charismatic man, and as such he was always surrounded by people. So catching an intimate morning with him was worth the potential trouble with God and the Arabs.

Adir was not a man of thought without action and my request soon led to a careful study of his schedule, full of chemotherapy treatments and film shooting sessions. The only free time was the very next morning, Sunday, June 13.

After dipping in the mikvah and attending the morning service, we went to the Old City and parked at the bottom of the great slope that leads up to the Western Wall. I suggested letting Adir off at the gate, but he insisted on climbing with me from the parking lot. It was a difficult task. His steps were short and fatigued, but he scarcely stopped to rest. Didn’t groan either.

At a certain point, Adir announced with utmost seriousness that my life was about to change forever. Both in my dreams and my waking moments I would never stop yearning for this glorious place. From now on, I would divide all the Jews I know into two groups: those who went up to the Mount, for whatever reason, and those who stayed below, regardless of why.

I took a glimpse at him and searched in vain for a smile or a wink that would reassure me he hadn’t really meant what he just said. Seriously, Adir, my life would change? Between you and me, isn’t this just another archeological site? But he remained as serious as a steel wall in Chase Manhattan’s basement and my heart became filled with affection for this man, who insisted not only on surviving his physiological volcano, but was constantly seeking other active volcanoes, at the feet of which he’d stretch out tablecloths and picnic baskets. I hugged him the way you hug a friend when you have nothing left to say and we continued climbing.

Once upon a time, an elderly Chaldean brought his son here and erected an altar, probably right where the paved courtyard is stretching today, near the northern edge of this magnificent mount. Another time, a lad in his sixties fell asleep here dreaming about angels and ladders, and when he woke up in the middle of the night, he realized that this was not an ordinary place but The Place which puts everything else in a different perspective, including one’s dreams, but mainly one’s wakeful hours.

Two aging Jews, we walked at a deliberately moderate pace along the edges of the Holy Mount, and the Mount bathed in Jerusalem’s brilliant white light as a cool breeze was blowing from Mount Olives and Mount Scopus and whichever other mount you please, and the birds were chirping with the most inappropriate delight.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/adir-zik-and-i-climb-up-temple-mount/2012/02/10/

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