Posts Tagged ‘settlers’
There’s an apocryphal story about the Reform movement’s summer program for its high school students, which used to fly them to Israel to tour and work on a kibbutz, etc., then, on the way home, they would stop in Poland and participate in the March of the Living in Auschwitz. But in 2000, during the second intifada, many parents were concerned about their children’s safety in Israel — so they only took them to Auschwitz.
Modern Hebrew has a word — “galutiut” (ga-lu-tee-yoot) — which defies translation. It describes the essence of exile, the very depth of ghetto thinking, as in the Der Stürmer-like image of Israelis moving to Berlin, or a Neturei Karta guy holding up an anti-Zionist poster at a rally in downtown Tehran. If you’re Jewish and emotionally stable, you’ll recognize the essence of galutiut in the words and actions of so many Jews, starting with the meraglim (spies) of 1247 BCE and leading up to left-wing Jews who merrily turn in Arab land dealers to the Palestinian police to be tortured and even executed.
You’ll note that God in His mercy forgave the Israelites in the wilderness a lot of mischief, from forging a gold calf to dating those Moabite and Midianite gals at Ba’al Pe’or — sure, He treated those problems locally with LRP (Limited-Range Plague), but the only time He became so angry, He decided to give up on the whole bunch of them, let them die off in the desert and start afresh with their children, was when, from the bottom of their festering, slave’s galutiut, they spoke ill of the very idea of living in the Land of Israel because they feared the Promised Land wasn’t safe.
Galutiut uses the safety argument more often than any other. I knew personally a woman, now long dead, who in 1938 left Haifa, where she had settled a decade before, to visit all her family members who were still living in Germany to convince them to sell everything and follow her to Haifa. Without an exception, every one of them told her to calm down, Chancellor Hitler is an animal, of course, but his day will come, and meanwhile it’s still a lot safer living in Hamburg than in Palestina…
Galutiut often uses values like ‘love and pity,’ as in the case of the 2005 brute eviction of some 8,000 Jews from their homes in Gush Katif, the Gaza Strip, when there was an outcry from some on the left that the children of those stubborn settlers must be forcibly removed from their parents who are placing their welfare in jeopardy.
Galutiut uses exalted notions like ‘justice and truth’ to destroy Jewish homes on land that was legally purchased or acquired, giving instead absolute credence to Arab claims of dubious origin. The same galutiut forbids Jewish families from expanding their homes or enclosing a porch in Judea and Samaria communities, because this would harm the chances of the two-state-solution.
Galutiut uses all the above concerns, mixed and matched with examples of individual Jewish failure (Baruch Goldstein & Yigal Amir); divine decrees (I beseech you, daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up or awaken the love until it is sought); self-righteousness (Why can’t you get along with the Arabs?).
Galutiut can be practiced just as easily in downtown Tel Aviv as in Chicago. Galutiut resides in the runaway slaves asking Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” and in these callously woven lines, care of Rabbi Harry Maryles’ Emes Ve-Emuna blog entry The Settlers of Chevron:
“Those settlers are there for only one reason – to assure that not a single inch of Eretz Yisroel is ever turned over to the Palestinians. Especially not Chevron. So wrapped up are they in this goal that they are not beneath committing criminal acts. And in one of the more extreme cases, mass murder was committed by one of their more esteemed members, Dr. Baurch Goldstein.”
Air of superiority? Check. Presumption? Check. Unfounded accusation? Check. Guilt by association? Check. Misspelling the name of a biblical city so it reads like the name of a gas station? Also check.
The title of Rabbi Maryles’ piece, which is so dripping with galutiut you could drown your pintele Yid in it, says it all: “The Settlers of Chevron.” It’s not going to be a critique of something specific those settlers have done which offended the author’s sensibilities — it is the very concept of settlers who are in the city of the patriarchs, purchased for four hundred silver shekels (roughly 100 silver dollars) by an old Iraqi Jew looking to bury his beloved wife.
In Bereshit Rabbah 79:7, Rav Yudan bar Simon says: “There are three places the nations of the world cannot mislead the Jews by saying You’ve stolen them: the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple Mount, and Joseph’s Tomb.” And he brings verse citations showing how each one of these were legally bought at the full price. Have you asked yourselves, those who are familiar with the midrash, how come these three locations are the most hotly contested Jewish purchases in our time? Can it be that the other side knows better than we, how crucial they are to our very claim to the land? Isn’t it why they shoot our babies with sniper rifles in Hebron, firebomb us on Temple Mount, and burn down Joseph’s Tomb?
Writes Emes Ve-Emuna (which in this instance appears to possess neither):
“I don’t know if those settlers did or didn’t have a legal right to occupy those buildings. But in my view they endanger the welfare of their people. Their presence in or near that city is an incitement that is unnecessary and a source of anger to Palestinians. Which increases the chances of more Jews being harmed of killed.”
Or, as the meraglim put it (Num. 13:33), reporting on their experience in Kiryat Arba-Hebron: “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Rabbi Maryles doesn’t know if his fellow Jews are right or wrong, all he knows is that they’re wrong. And in almost the very language as the meraglim, he is certain their insolence will anger the Palestinian giants who view them as “grasshoppers.” If you’re not a mystic, you can surely see the parallels between those two texts; if you are a mystic you probably need help getting off the floor right about now (especially the hefty mystics).
The author now drags a great rosh yeshiva into the fray, whom he cites as having said “he would even give up the Kotel if it would bring genuine peace.” But, you know, with all due respect, we in Israel have already given up the entire Temple Mount and still there’s no fake peace, never mind genuine. Incidentally, was there peace in the land before we had a Kotel to trade for it, in say, 1929? No? 1936? 1948?
Finally, without a doubt the most galuti of galutiut elements in this mix of national and religious alienation and sheer rish’us (meanness), is this part: Pikuach Nefesh. The author justifies maligning fellow Jews, libeling them, dubbing them murderers and thieves, because he cares for their safety. Exactly like the sweet women from Tel Aviv who urged police to tear the children of Gush Katif from their mothers’ arms — for their own good.
A Jew sits in Chicago, around him the campuses are rife with live, burning anti-Semitism, 800 miles from his home a bunch of Arabs ran two passenger planes into a major city’s tallest buildings, his children are punched in the face by passing gentiles because it seems like a good idea, his country is infiltrated by anti-Semitic zealots, he can see how, across the Atlantic, hundreds of thousands of fellow Jews are preparing to flee their homes for fear of ethnic persecution — and he worries about the Pikuach Nefesh of the largest Jewish community on the planet, with the strongest army in its region and then some, with a robust economy and a vivacious, multicolored society. He worries that the Hebron settlers’ “presence in or near that city is an incitement that is unnecessary and a source of anger to Palestinians.”
There’s only one solution to this ultimate galutiut, the galutiut of an educated man who knows his Torah and yet concocts from it a poisonous potion: stay. That’s the worst divine punishment. Stay where you are, in Chicago, Illinois. Don’t come over, don’t embrace the biblical promise, don’t get excited over the gifts from God the rest of us are sharing. Just spend the next 40 years exactly where you are, next to Lake Michigan, in a wilderness of your own making.David Israel
[Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah]
The Jewish Press has been a home for my blog for some time now. I am grateful to them for publishing so many of my posts on their website. I have more posts published there than any other blogger. I am also grateful to them for having published a few of my articles in their print edition.
I truly appreciate how much they value my words, even when they don’t agree with them. I am not sure they will feel about me after this, though. I have to express what I believe to be Emes without considering the consequences to myself.
There has always been something about their editorial position with respect to Israel that has troubled me. That policy goes beyond their written editorial. It biases the way they report the news.They have a strong bias in favor of West bank settlements. Not just those in large and long established border cities like Ma’aleh Adumim. I too support those cities. They will no doubt remain in Israel’s hands in any kind of peace agreement with Palestinians. (Not that I think it is possible at this point in time.) But Jewish Press support goes way beyond that. They support settlers in places like Chevron, a city populated by Palestinians.
Those settlers are there for only one reason – to assure that not a single inch of Eretz Yisroel is ever turned over to the Palestinians. Especially not Chevron. So wrapped up are they in this goal that they are not beneath committing criminal acts. And in one of the more extreme cases, mass murder was committed by one of their more esteemed members, Dr. Baurch Goldstein.
The settlers of Chevron are the same people that worship Baruch Goldstein as icon and martyr for the Jewish cause. How different is that from the Palestinians that worship a suicide bomber that successfully blew himself up and took some Jews along with him?!
The latest article in the Jewish Press presents a sympathetic spin about the eviction by police of settlers in Chevron that have occupied 2 buildings there. The settler claim is that Chevron is holy, it is ours, and has been ours since Matan Torah. It was the home of Avrohom, and it contains the holy burial grounds of our patriarchs and matriarchs. They therefore will do whatever it takes to keep Chevron in Jewish hands. The Jewish Press seems to agree with that. So they report the eviction of Jewish settlers there with an immoral and unjust spin.
I don’t know if those settlers did or didn’t have a legal right to occupy those buildings. But in my view they endanger the welfare of their people. Their presence in or near that city is an incitement that is unnecessary and a source of anger to Palestinians. Which increases the chances of more Jews being harmed of killed.
Please do not misunderstand. I fully understand Palestinian terrorists don’t need much to terrorize us. They have been doing that in a piecemeal fashion for months now. Most Palestinians probably feel we deserve it. So that even if there was not a single Jewish soul living in or near Chevron, not much would change. But as I have said many times, pouring gasoline onto a fire does not help. Doing Yishuv Ha’aretz – settling the land in this way is irresponsible and has consequences. To which they seem oblivious.
This is also not to say that we don’t have a right to Chevron. Of course we do. But rights do not trump safety. When one exercises their rights under conditions that cause harm to others, one has to question the priorities. Jewish life is sacred. Exercising a right that can bring more death and destruction – is wrong.
That’s why I agree with Rav Shach on this issue. If I recall correctly, he said he would even give up the Kotel if it would bring genuine peace. I agree with him. My motivation is simple. Whatever saves Jewish life is what I favor. Pikuach Nefesh is not something that should be taken lightly. It should not be ignored by people with agendas – even legitimate ones. Saving Jewish life has the highest of value in Judaism. V’Chai Bahem the Torah tells us about the laws dictated by the Torah. The sages interpret this to mean that one may violate any and all Halachos to save a Jewish life – except for idol worship, murder, and adultery. Certainly settling the land of Israel is not any of those three.
I therefore find an editorial position that sympathizes with the settlers of Chevron repulsive no matter who has it. It is one thing to feel that the settler view is the right one. It is another to write in sympathetic tones about actions that exacerbate the enmity of our enemy.
The Jewish Press is not alone in praising such deeds. I have read more than once about the ‘courage’ of those who risk their lives by settling in and around Chevron. In my view this ‘courage’ is pure foolishness. They risk their lives for an ideal that is over-ridden by the ideal of saving Jewish lives.
If it were up to me, I would evacuate all of Chevron’s Jews. And I would consider doing the same thing to Kiryat Arba, the Israel town right next to it. I see no value to having a town there – even though it has been there since shortly after the 6 day war of 1967.
I realize that a lot of readers that generally support my views here, will be appalled at this post. I’m sure I will be accused of Nazi-like attitudes of making parts of biblical Israel Judenrein (free of any Jews). That’s OK. I will take my lumps. But I feel very strongly about Pikuach Nefesh and I oppose any activities that endanger the lives of fellow Jews. And this doesn’t even take into account the danger Israeli soldiers face that are there to protect them.
I understand the sincerity of these people. They are committed to their ideals and are willing to risk their lives for them. That is admirable under normal circumstances. But when they risk the lives of others along with their own that idealism turns into a callous disregard for the welfare of their fellow Jew.
They may claim that activities in Chevron does not endanger the Jewish people any more than they already are. But that makes about as much sense as saying that pouring gasoline on a fire will not increase the flame. These people are wrong. And the Jewish Press would do well to recognize that instead of constantly sympathizing with them.Harry Maryles
Eight months ago, when I was in court for the trial of one of my clients, I ran into the murderer of the late Shalom Sharki, who was all smiles, conferring with his attorney. It was very shortly after the murder, and when I asked police why they were so quick to allow the meeting between the terrorist and his lawyer—who advised him to claim that he committed the crime was by accident—the police responded, “What can you do, we live in a democracy.”
I recalled that event in recent days, while running from one judge to another, demanding to meet with my client, a young man who had been kept in the Shabak’s cellars for many days—and who, according to his wife, was injured during his arrest. The courts cooperated with the Shabak, extending my client’s detention and, time and again, imposing the ban on letting him meet an attorney. No one mentioned the word Democracy.
Each week when we deal with Arab terrorism and the conflict of security needs versus civil rights, we inevitably hear the media, human rights organizations and “sensitive” politicians protesting that a youth who chased Jews with a knife didn’t get a decent meal; or demand that a policeman who made a racist remark while guarding a terrorist be prosecuted, and if he isn’t, they demand to know why.
The same standards aren’t being applied in the Duma investigation.
Over the past weeks we have not heard even one politician crying out in protest against the violations of the suspects’ human rights, and no right wing organization, other than the legal aid society Honenu, has gone public with a demand to stop the abuse.
Despite the fact that investigation of the arson in Duma is important, I believe the interrogators have crossed boundaries and red lines. Unfortunately, I can’t expand on this issue because of the gag order imposed on the case—in the future we will reveal the truth about these dark days for civil rights in Israel.
The problem is not only the severe harm to the detainees’ civil rights, but most importantly it is the fact that any such interrogations are contrary to the purpose of finding the truth, and may cause a terrible miscarriage of justice. When interrogators abuse, threaten and harass a suspect—all for the sake of forcing him to admit his guilt—it is possible that an innocent person would confess to crimes he did not commit. Such things have happened.
In dozens of decisions on Arab terrorist cases, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled that while investigations of security issues are important, at the same time there is a duty to set limits the actions of Shabak interrogators: “This is the plight of a democracy, that not all the means are acceptable in it, and not all the practices which are employed by its enemies are available to it. A democracy must sometimes fight with one hand tied behind its back,” Barak stressed. But regarding the hilltop youths, it appears that those statements of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have been forgotten by today’s Israeli judges.
Another problem, perhaps the central one here, concerns the conduct of our own camp: rabbis, municipal heads and public leaders in the settlements do not go out of their way to help the incarcerated hilltop youths.
It’s easy to understand the settlement leaders’ behavior: why should they go out of their way to help those kids who often come across as insolent, anti-Zionist and rebellious.
But such a view is fundamentally mistaken. Even those who disagree with the hilltop youths, should learn from our experience that the persecution of the hilltop youths will then continue on to the physical abuse of settlers in Amona and Efrat, and eventually reach even to the “good children” of Givat Shmuel and Ra’anana; the abuse of a 16-year-old boy with giant side curls will soon spread to impact the settlement’s rabbi and the settlement’s security chief, and so on.
This slippery slope is visible before our eyes: the Jewish Department of the Shabak, the police nationalistic crime unit in the Judea and Samaria district, and elements in the prosecutor’s office see the hilltop youths as “the enemy, terrorists, attackers,” the way Shabak agents have put it. If the hilltop youths are the enemy, then their parents from the previous generation of settlers are “parents of terrorists,” their neighbors from the community are “supporters of terrorism” (“If you give them water, it means you support terrorism” goes the Shabak’s rationale), and we’ll all soon discover that the boundary line between terrorists and supporters of terrorism is very thin.
Make no mistake about it: despite the fact that the heads of major security forces—Roni Alsheikh, Yoram Cohen and Yossi Cohen—are observant Jews, or perhaps because of it, many in their organizations view all settlers as the enemy.Itamar Ben-Gvir
UPDATE: Following the report below, the Ma’an News Agency reported on the arrests. The Palestinian Authority website WAFA continued to ignore them.
The Palestinian Authority has found a new form of incitement by simply ignoring any news that might tone it down.
Palestinian Authority propaganda hit a new low Thursday with a self-imposed gag order on the arrests of suspects of last July’s deadly arson attack of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma.
Arab media have turned the attack and lack of arrests of suspects into a cause célèbre. Sayeed Arikat, who covers the U.S. State Dept. for the Al Quds newspaper, has raised the issue almost every week.
Before there was news of this morning’s arrests, he reminded spokesman Mark Toner Wednesday of the lack of progress in the case, took the opportunity to criticize a court at the last minute labeled as “insane” a main suspect in the barbaric burning of a Jerusalem Arab teenager earlier this year, and complained of a “double standard” by Israel’s policy of destroying Arab terrorists’ homes but not those of Jewish terrorists.
Neither he nor Toner noted that destroying homes is a deterrent to terror and that the ratio of Jewish terrorists to Palestinian Authority terrorists is something like one Jew and several thousand Arabs.
WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority website, ignored the arrests this morning and instead quoted Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, as saying said Wednesday:
Four months have passed since the arson attack against the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank on 31 July.
The English website of the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem and widely quoted by foreign media, also ignored the arrests Thursday, well after a gag order was released.
It simply paraphrased the WAFA report, emphasizing the U.N. official’s remarks.
The report was updated Thursday afternoon and not only omitted any reference to the arrests but also continued to falsely report, “The perpetrators of the attack have still not been arrested by Israeli authorities.”Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
The Palestinian Authority has returned to Israel a steel door at Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) after it had been installed by Jews following the latest Muslim desecration of the holy site in Shechem.
Israeli authorities had sent as key to the door to Ramallah, apparently to emphasize that the Palestinian Authority has control of the site.
Ramallah sent back the key, as well as the door, according to Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.
It quoted Shechem (Nablus) Governor Akram Rajoub as saying that “extremist” settlers installed the door in an alleged violation of agreements that Joseph’s Tomb is under PA control.
Palestinian Authority Arabs have desecrated the site several times. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas called last month’s arson attack “irresponsible” and ordered repairs to extensive damage from a firebomb attack.
Rajoub said that the regime in Ramallah is refurbishing it “at its own expense because it views this place as having religious and historic importance to the Palestinian society.”
The current wave of Arab terror may appear to some observers to be a random war on Israel, but in most cases, nothing could be further from the truth.
Veteran Israeli journalist Hadas Shteif contends the terrorists are targeting Jews who look like hareidi-religious and Zionist settlers and soldiers.
That is, easily-identifiable targets who appear to have a certain status as Israelis and as Jews.
Within Israeli society, IDF soldiers carry a high status since they protect our citizens and our Land. The vast majority of today’s Israeli military is comprised of older teens and young adults. Army officers can be in their early 20s. They are the pride of parents and citizens alike.
Hareidi-religious settlers are also much admired in some circles for their strength of purpose and commitment to the country.
It is the hareidi-religious settlers who are willing to endure the hardships intrinsic in life in a small community far from central municipal services, with Palestinian Arabs as their closest neighbors.
There have been long periods when both Jews and Arabs benefitted from the relationships that developed between the two populations.
But propaganda by corrupt leadership has advanced the geopolitical machinations by those who cynically radicalized a younger generation for use in a war not of their making.
Sadly, those who declare they are willing to die as “martyrs” for “the cause” have no idea whose cause they are even talking about.
But they have been trained to spot their targets from afar, by watching for the style of dress and body language that is unique to the Torah-observant Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and of course, IDF soldiers.
Premium targets, easily spotted and attacked more often than any other in the State of Israel. Valued more often as well.Hana Levi Julian