Tag Archive | disengagement

Bibi: Listen to My Boy’s Simple Logic

I wrote this post on Tisha B’Av.

On Tisha B’Av, I was watching Gush Katif videos.  It’s a fitting activity, music or not, because the expulsion of 8,600 Jews from their homes, and literally cutting off a limb of Israel, is one of the tragedies that led to tragedies of our time.  (You can watch the videos, too.)

On the one hand, this is not exactly an activity for children.  On the other hand, these are his brothers, this is his country, and he will probably grow up friends with some of the expellees’ siblings.  The children who were expelled from their homes were traumatized much worse than this video will ever traumatize Shlomo.

On the one hand, this is not a video for children.  On the other hand, how can I tell him it is only for adults?

I let him watch with me.  The first one he saw with me, last night, he thought was hilarious.  I’m not sure why, but it could be a combination of the hour, the music, and the lack of narration.  He thought that the menora on top of a roof was a plane.  Today, when Shlomo watched with me, he told me halfway through, “I don’t want this video, I don’t like it.”  I told him that he didn’t have to watch with me, but that this is what I was watching.  He stayed.

And I felt like it was inappropriate to simply let him watch, without giving him any explanation for what was happening and why.  After all, one of the sentences that he had heard, and repeated, was, “How can you take children out of their homes?”  He needed to know why and how it had happened, at least so that he would not live in fear of it happening unexpectedly to him.

I told him that the place where the woo-woos come from is called Gaza.  That the person in charge of Israel right now is called Bibi (he thought that was a funny name), and the person in charge when the video was taken was called Ariel Sharon.  All these people, the imas and abbas and children and teenagers, lived in beautiful homes in Gaza.  They protected us from the woo-woos even though they sometimes got hurt.  They went to gan and played and are nice people.  But the bad people kept trying to hurt us, and one day Sharon said that the bad people had told him, that if we gave them all of Gaza and took all these nice people out of their homes, then they would stop hurting us and we would have shalom (peace).  Sharon believed the bad people, and that they wouldn’t hurt us, if we took these people away from their homes.  So that’s what happened.  They took the people out of their houses.

Shlomo thought the soldiers were hurting people, and I told him that the soldiers tried very hard not to hurt anyone, because they are our brothers and they love us.  Just like Jack is Abba’s brother, and he loves us.  Just like the nice soldier who shared her falafel with him.  The soldiers are nice.  I pointed out that the soldiers were also crying, that they didn’t have a choice.  I told him that all of the woo-woos (air-raid sirens) have come from Gaza, because the nice people aren’t in their homes anymore, protecting us.  Now that bad people are using their homes to make woo-woos and hurt people.

And my beautiful, smart boy said a single, brilliant sentence: We need to put them back in their homes.

I told him that many, many people agreed with him, and praised him for his creative, clear thinking.  I told him that we also want that to happen, but that Bibi and the other people in charge don’t want to do it.  I told him that now that the bad people are using the land, it’s very hard to get it back.  I asked him if he thought it would be safe or dangerous for soldiers to go to where the bad people are and take the land back.  He said dangerous.  He said that Yitzchak, Tova, himself, and I, should get into fighter planes and fight the woo-woos and break the woo-woos so that we will be safe.  I told hiim that Yitzchak and I aren’t soldiers, that he might be, but that I hope that he won’t have to be.  He didn’t care, he wanted to get into a fighter plane and fight.  And then the nice people could go back to their homes and there would be no more woo-woos.

Bibi, I think you should take Shlomo as your advisor.  All you need to do is give him cookies, cereal, and building toys to make planes, buses, and trains with, and he will tell you how to keep Israel safe.

Tisha B’Av: Mourning, Reflection, and Future

Every year, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the Jewish people fast and mourn.  This year, we are fasting, and mourning, on the tenth day of Av, because the ninth day was Shabbat – and on Shabbat, we do not fast or mourn.  On this day (like on Yom Kippur), we do not wash, wear leather shoes, or use creams.  Think about not showering when it is forty degrees Celsius outside.  Think about how awful the pit in your stomach would have to be, for you to do it.

Ten years ago, those living in Gush Katif, and northern parts of the Shomron, were expelled from their homes.  They were promised land, and houses, and help resettling; they were given caravans, that they stayed in until they could afford better.  Ten years later, there are still families that have not been able to rebuild.  Many of those expelled were farmers, and found it hard to integrate into the job market.  They were forced out of their homes, and made to build their lives from scratch.

It is hard to imagine what being forced out of your home means.  Many of the communities have stayed together, hoping to resettle together and maintain some semblance of normalcy.  But imagine the police coming to force you out of your home and out of your city.  You have no job, no home, no money, no schools for your children.  You have nothing.  They pick you up from your home in Maine, and move you to Oregon, giving you a caravan, and expecting you to start over.

Ten years later, that “be niceexperiment has proven to be an utter disaster.  From the very beginning, we saw that it would not work; the first thing that the Arabs did was not to take over the existing structures, but to burn all the synagogues down to the ground.  If you remember, today they are claiming that they have no homes and no infrastructure.  Why is that?  They were handed everything on a silver platter – places of worship to renovate, schools, community centers, pools, theaters, farms, greenhouses, hothouses – everything.  Everything was burned, ransacked, or used for terror activity.  This was their choice, not ours.

And from there, they used all the humanitarian aid (that they wouldn’t have needed if they were truly homeless refugees looking for permanent homes) to build tunnels and shoot rockets.  Some of the expellees were expelled from Yamit, in Sinai, and went to live in Gush Katif at the direction of Ariel Sharon – the very man who later expelled them a second time.  And all this, why?

So that we could fight Operation Cast Lead (Oferet Yetzuka, 2008), Operation Defensive Shield (Amud Anan, 2012), and Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan, 2014).

So that we could get thousands of rockets fired at us; towards Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Lod, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Mitzpe Ramon; Hertzliya.

So that we would have to worry about not hurting the human shields that the terrorist regime uses to protect itself, even though many of those human shields are future terrorists or wives of terrorists.  Would you pity Osama bin Laden’s wife?  Then why do you pity the wives of Islamic Jihad terrorists?  Why is Islamic Jihad, or Hamas, different from Al Qaeda?

Now, on Tisha B’Av ten years later, we are living in the ominous shadow of an Iran deal.  No matter what we do or don’t do, we are in trouble.  “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”  (Excuse my language, please.)  If we wait, we are in trouble, because by September, Iran may be able to defend itself.  If we don’t wait, we will be accused of not giving Iran a fair chance.  If Congress decides against the deal, well, dontcha know, it’s Israel’s fault.

But when Saudia Arabia and Israel agree, you know that something is up, and that it’s serious.

I won’t give away any of Israel’s theoretical plans by writing them on the internet.  I will just say that Yitzchak and I have full faith that Israel can deal with an Iranian nuclear threat, provided that we do not wait until they actually have nukes, and provided that we have cooperation from certain countries.  I will also say, that at least two of the four countries that we would like to have helping us, will help us.

This does not mean that we have nukes, because of course we do not have nukes.  But we do have an extremely smart army, and the worst person to fight is one who has nothing to lose, because if he has nothing to lose, he will fight to the death.  We believe that the reason all of the recent wars have been such utter failures, is that we knew that we could scare our enemies without hurting them.  We tried to be as nice and humane as possible.

But I need to tell you: If Israel is forced to deal with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah all at once, we will not have the ability to be patient or humane.  We will do what needs to be done, quickly and efficiently, and spare no lives but our own.  We will carpet bomb Gaza, if necessary, and take out Hezbollah’s stock of chemical weapons; we will cripple Iran’s nuclear and military infrastructure so that they have no hope of retaliation of any sort, and we will do it all in a way that ensures that World War Three does not break out with all the “civilized” Western countries coming to “innocent” Iran’s defense.

Because if it is a question of fight or die, we will fight.

The world is turning Israel into some kind of inhumane monster, responsible for all the world’s ills.  We, as Jews, who have survived centuries of persecution, and have not yet forgotten the Holocaust, hear a familiar ring to these words.  We, as Jews, hear Jew-blaming as a lead-up to pogroms.  We, as Jews, see the rise in anti-Semitism the world over, and know that our only hope is in the Jewish army that G-d has given us, in the land that G-d has given us.

Because we know that the world cannot be counted on.

And therefore, we have been keeping up with Iran’s abilities, and have been setting them back, successfully, for as long as we could.  When it comes down to it, we will finish them off.  And as soon as we do, we will see another war with Gaza, in retaliation, and we will retake Gaza.  We will have to fight Hezbollah, and we will cow them into putting their energies into their fights in Syria.  Let the Muslims kill each other, and the world will be a better place for it.  We will put a halt to the intifada that is happening at this moment, because we will simply not have the ability to ignore it or deal with it in a nice way – so, we will deal with it any way that works, no matter how brutal.

Because no matter how humane Israel is, as a people, as a nation, as a country, if we are forced into a glaringly obvious fight for our lives, we will decimate our enemies’ ranks.  And when we stand up for ourselves, G-d is with us.  When we are cowards and think that we can manage on our own, G-d lets us try it out.

This is not new.  This is thousands of years old.

The Persian Jews thought they could make Achasverosh their friend; they were nearly killed.  During the Greek rule, they thought that the closer they were to Greek culture, the better they would be treated.  Under Nazi regime, the thought that assimilation was a solution, was disproven; the solution was hide, leave, or be sent to the camps.  And now, the solution is either fight like we mean it, or be crushed.

All I can hope is that we will see the intifada for what it is, and fight instead of allowing ourselves to be crushed.  About Iran – and Gaza, if necessary – I have no doubts.  We will fight; we will not be crushed.

Today iis Tisha B’Av.  Today, we mourn the loss of both Holy Temples (Batei Mikdash), the martyrs of our nation, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and the Iran deal.

Today, we pray that G-d will be with us, and Av will turn to Adar and Tisha B’Av to Purim.

Today, we pray that Israel will, very soon, deal completely and fully with all the threats surrounding us: Iran, Gaza, Hezbollah, ISIS, and (nearly worst of all) the terrorist intifada that the PA is quietly waging against us.

Amen.