Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hello... Is There Anybody Out There (The Other "Disengagement" - Part 1)

Today is a very sad day in the history of the Jewish People, and what makes it even sadder for me is that so few Jews outside of Israel truly grasp the gravity and implication of the events taking place here in Israel..

I have heard time and again from my peers living in the United States, (and not only in connection with Israel’s “disengagement” from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron) the following sentiment:
I have to admit to not following as closely as I should what is going on in Israel

It frustrates me to no end that the most passionate, knowledgeable, caring and observant Jews can be so detached from what happens here in Israel on a daily basis. It's as if what happens here in Israel is only of concern to the Jews living here.. I have no doubt that if one were to stop the average observant American Jew on the street and ask him / her if they care about Israel that they will answer in the affirmative. Yet, when it comes down to it, the vast majority of these Jews know very little about what goes on here in Israel on a day-to-day basis, and make little effort to change that reality. Anyone with access to the internet can get the same exact news that I read here in Israel on a daily basis, and yet how many truly take advantage of that ability?

Why has the observant Jewish community in the U.S. not cried out over what is happening here in Israel? Can it be that these Jews are not truly pained by the fact that their Jewish brothers and sisters are being expelled from their homes, and that Jewish communities are being destroyed by a Jewish government in the Land of Israel??? How can anyone with a Jewish heart not be crying out in pain - regardless of where they might live?

I think I speak for many Jews here in Israel when I say that we feel let down by our Jewish brothers and sisters living abroad. This is their home as much as it is mine, even if they choose not to make their homes here yet. We feel alone. Let Down. This is not only our fight. The fight over the Land of Israel, over the character of the State of Israel (fighting to make it a truly Jewish State) is something that every single Jew in the world is obligated to be involved in. It's bad enough that nearly all of the state's institutions have abandoned us in our struggle, but what of the help and support of world Jewry?

Another common statement made by Jews who don’t live in Israel is:
Jews who don't live in Israel shouldn't have an opinion about what goes on in Israel, as they don’t live there and don’t have to live with the consequences

I strongly disagree... When one doesn't have an opinion about something, it means they aren’t interested in it. If one doesn't make the effort to be well informed or educated about a particular issue, it means they don't care about it. There is no excuse for any caring, involved Jew to be ignorant about anything relating to Israel, and certainly not something as momentous as the tragedy that is befalling the Jewish People today.

Every Jew must know that the tragedy of the destruction of these Jewish communities and the expulsion of Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel by the 1st Jewish army in nearly 2,000 years is one of the greatest desecrations of G-d's name in our history as a nation. The entire world is watching with joy as we do to ourselves what they have done to us time and again throughout history and are saying to themselves "Look at these Jews, they are no better than us". Was this the reason why we hoped, prayed and dreamed for 2,000 years to re-establish Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel - so we could throw Jews out of their homes and hand them over to murderers?

To my Jewish brothers and sisters around the world - we need you here in Israel! We need Jews who are passionate about the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel, and who are up to the challenge of building a society that will reflect those values. We can't do it by ourselves.

The Jewish People have a mission; a destiny, and it falls equally upon all of our shoulders. When one person decides not to carry their share, it means everyone else has to work that much harder, and eventually it becomes a burden too heavy for so few to carry. Short of an act of direct divine intervention, the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron are going to be destroyed... but I am certain that should that tragedy befall the Jewish People, that one day they will be rebuilt and will have even greater splendor than before. I believe that one day we will have Jewish government that will be a source of pride to the Jewish People. I do believe that one day the State of Israel will truly be a Jewish State and will be a light unto the nations... I believe in all of that and more...

I also believe and know that none of those things will happen so long as so many of my Jewish brothers and sisters don't involve themselves in making them happen. We are obligated to have faith and trust in Hashem, but we are also obligated to act and not rely on miracles. We have faith here in Israel, and we are trying to do our part, but as I said, we can't do it alone.

In hope of better times...


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