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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’

The Giant and the General

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

My good friends and former employers at Chabad.org have utilized Ariel Sharon ZL’s passing to educate the public about the latter’s relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I’m grateful to them for that, even though their obituary comes close to suggesting that Sharon was a hidden Chabadnik. He really wasn’t, and I don’t think the good people of the Lubavitch News Service believe it either.

But they did remind me of two events in Sharon’s life that came in close proximity and had to have influenced his life.

Right after the Six Day War, Sharon led a group of South African military officers—the bad kind—on a tour of liberated Jerusalem, and stopped at the Western Wall. Lubavitch had just set up their tefillin booth there, and the chassid operating it, Reb Aharon Rabinowitz ZL, a former Soviet prisoner, wanted very much to get Arik to roll up his sleeve for Judaism, but was too timid to ask. And so a religious Jerusalemite journalist named Noach Zevuluni, who was writing for the Histadrut trade union’s daily Davar, approached the general with the request. Arik—reluctantly, according to Zevuluni ZL—acquiesced.

There are apocryphal versions of this story, a noted one in which David Ben Gurion is also in the group and refuses to put on tefillin. Another version gathers the entire IDF leadership for the sake of the anecdote, and Arik’s proud example inspires all of them to wrap the straps. The version I cited above is directly from Zevuluni’s writing. Bottom line is: shortly after the war ended, Sharon put on tefillin at the Kotel.

Then tragedy struck. In October, 1967, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Sharon’s 11-year-old son Gur and his friend, Yaakov Keren, took down an old hunting rifle belonging to Sharon, that hung on display on the wall. They stuffed gunpowder into the gun, and, during play, Yaakov pointed the barrel at Gur’s head and squeezed the trigger. Arik came rushing to the room to find his son lying unconscious on the floor, bleeding from his head. He picked him up in his arms and drove to the nearest hospital, where the doctors declare him dead. (Sharon continued to blame Yaakov Keren of killing his son intentionally, to the point where the Kerens had to leave the neighborhood to avoid the general’s wrath).

These two events, coming so close to each other, raised the interest of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who wrote Sharon a touching and beautiful letter of condolences during the Shiva week that followed his son’s death. Chabad.org offers the entire text online, but I will concentrate on what I believe are the late Rebbe’s poignant observations which he saw fit to share with Sharon.

The Rebbe wrote:

I was deeply grieved to read in the newspaper about the tragic loss of your tender young son, may he rest in peace. We cannot fathom the ways of the Creator. During a time of war and peril you were saved—indeed, you were among those who secured the victory for our nation, the Children of Israel, against our enemies, in which “the many were delivered into the hands of the few, etc.”—and yet, during a time of quiet and in your own home, such an immense tragedy occurred!

It’s the two men’s first encounter, entirely initiated by the Rebbe, and yet he, relentless educator that he was, didn’t waste a beat in launching into a lesson that offered condolences, praise for the general’s military victories, and direction. The document in its entirety is brilliant and daring in equal amounts. To me, it’s obvious that the Rebbe had spotted in Sharon a potential for good that must be cultivated. This was nothing new—the Lubavitcher Rebbe was an unstoppable turbine of inspiration and influence, laboring to change the world from his small chambers on Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights. It’s just that when he was love bombing a notable historical figure, he reached greater heights.

Sharon’s Fate Part of Stunning Downfall of Gush Katif Perpetrators

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

As former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s situation is quickly deteriorating to its inevitable outcome—after a near-fatal stroke that put him in a coma on January 4, 2006, the most prominent leader of the Gush Katif deportations will meet his Maker.

The phrase Yesh Din v’Yesh Dayan—There is a law and there is a Judge, has been cited by Jews over the generations, pointing to the demise of this or that antisemitic tyrant as Divine punishment. Admittedly, in diaspora, we often didn’t have much more than that post-pogrom vindication to prove to us that a Divine Judge was, indeed, active in our history.

In Israel, those karmic events often appear faster and in more visible fashion, as villains who aren’t punished by a human court are still meted their punishment by, many believe, a Heavenly alternative.

In the case of the 2005 Gush Katif deportations, in which, for the first time in its history, the Jewish State rounded up by force some 8,600 Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip and removed them, karma has been doing the Rumba. One by one, as if picked by a divine sniper, the architects of that evil campaign and their agents have met their downfall.

Here’s Ariel Zilber singeing “Yesh Din v’Yesh Dayan, listing the men responsible for the Gush Katif and north Samaria atrocities, and their fates that followed.

Ariel Sharon was the first to be punished. Following his second stroke, almost 8 years ago to the day, he has been in a vegetative state.

Next to be punished was MK Omri Sharon, the former prime minister’s son. He resigned from the Knesset effective January 5, 2006, and in February was sentenced to nine months in prison, a nine-month suspended sentence, and a fine of 300,000 shekel for corruption.

A month and a half before the expulsions, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz replaced Moshe Yaalon, who could not be trusted to carry out the mission. Halutz was the chief executioner of Gush katif. Halutz resigned from office in disgrace January 17, 2007, when it was discovered that he had sold off his investment portfolio three hours after two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hezbollah, leading to the second Lebanon war.

Moshe Karadi, general commissioner of Israel Police, was the other chief executioner of the Gush Katif deportations. His cops were documented as they beat brutally, often without provocation, unarmed Jews in their homes. He resigned from his position in disgrace February 18, 2007, following the Zeiler Commission’s demand that he be dismissed for his involvement in hiring out police officers to underworld figures, to execute rival underworld figures.

Niso Shacham, aka “the cursing policeman” was caught on video in 2005 when used the most vulgar language giving orders to his underlings to use excessive force on the non-violent, unarmed civilians who had gathered to protest the upcoming Gush Katif expulsions. He became the poster boy for Israel’s uneducated, violent and brutal riot police, a tool of repression if there ever was one. Shacham resigned from his job as commander of the Jerusalem district in October 2013, after being indicted for sexual harassment of his subordinates, indecent assault, fraud and breach of trust.

Next came former President Moshe Katzav, who was active in supporting the expulsion, warning the Jews of Gush Katif that obeying the law is part of our rabbinic tradition of “dina d’malchuta dina,” meaning one must obey the state. With that in mind, in December of 2010, a three-judge panel in the Tel Aviv District Court unanimously found him guilty of “rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.” Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison and two years, becoming the first President of Israel to be sentenced to prison. He was ordered to pay one of his victims 100,000 shekels and another 25,000 shekel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sharons-fate-part-of-stunning-downfall-of-gush-katif-perpetrators/2014/01/02/

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