Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Never Forget... Together We Will Rebuild!

Walking through Jerusalem over the last 48 hours, I have noticed posters with a bright orange background (the color of those opposed to "Disengagement") that state in big, bold, black letters the following (in Hebrew):

The first time I saw this slogan was in the wake of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, when the secular-left sought to place collective guilt on any and all who were either religious or politically right-wing, as if they all were responsible, one way or another, for the murder.

Just as I did not approve of the message behind the slogan then, I do not approve of the use of the slogan now, even if it is coming from those who were (are) opposed to "Disengagement", the camp to which I belong.

Granted, I will never forget the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. I will not forget the vitality of Jewish life that existed there, and the miraculous ways in which the Jewish People, with the help of G-d, were able to make the Land flourish in ways that no one could have dreamed possible. I will also never forget how it was that the government of the State of Israel, and in particular, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was able to make an total mockery of Israel's political, electoral and judicial institutions in order to bring about the destruction of these Jewish communities, as well as for having manipulated the Israel Defense Forces, defenders of the Jewish People, into carrying out his expulsion decree – the expulsion of the very Jews they were sworn to defend, from their homes in the Land of Israel.

However, if we are to remain a united Jewish People, if the State of Israel is to have a future as a Jewish State, then we must be prepared to forgive, and move forward – together, as “one nation in the Land”. I am not suggesting that we forgive Prime Minister Sharon (or his political cronies and henchmen who happily obeyed their puppet master’s bidding - selling their souls and credibility in the process), but we must not make the same mistake that the left made after the assassination of Rabin, for which the Jewish People are still paying the price today. The hatred and vitriol unleashed by the secular-left against the entire religious Zionist population in Israel has managed to cause rifts within the Jewish People (both in Israel and abroad) that have yet to be healed, over a decade since that fateful day.

We, members of the religious Zionist camp, cannot afford to place collective guilt on all those who supported the "Disengagement" plan. There are many Jews in Israel (and in the world) who truly believe that the "Disengagement" plan was good for both the Jewish people and the State of Israel (and perhaps, even for Israel as a Jewish State). Personally, I believe them to be very wrong, and sadly, I am confident that history will prove that to be the case. Yet, I do not believe that the overwhelming majority of these Jews who supported "Disengagement" took any pleasure in seeing it carried out or had any malicious intent as their motivation for supporting the plan. I truly believe that the majority of Jews who passively supported the "Disengagement" plan did so, not as a result of being convinced that it was a good thing for Israel and the Jewish People, but rather out of having been (mis)led to believe that there was no viable alternative. As such. these Jews meekly accepted the decree in silence, with bowed heads and troubled hearts.

These Jews are not our enemies. These Jews are our brothers and sisters, and we can never, ever forget that we need them as much as they need us. The vast majority of Jews in Israel today share our dream, namely, to live as proud Jews in a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, for which we have hoped and prayed for over 2,000 years. It is up to us to work together with our fellow Jews to turn our collective dream into a reality. We may not see eye to eye on all issues, but at the end of the day, we the vast majority of Jews want the same thing. The question is over the means of how to achieve our common goal, not over the goal itself. .

My choice of slogan: Never forget... Together we will rebuild!!! (Both the nation and the Land)


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