Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us ...

I'd like to join in the chorus on this one. Since my arrival on the shores of this beautiful but troubled country over thirty years ago, the awareness that Israeli society was raw, immature and unstable was one of my first and lasting impressions. I remember writing to my father about the last elections won by the Labour Party after the Yom Kipur War: "The walls [of this society] are all cracked, but they keep plastering over the cracks in the hope that no one will pay attention..."

The tension between those who wanted a Jewish country (not necessarily a 'religious' one) and those that paid lip service to Israeli's "Jewishness" to reap support, money and perhaps immigrants, was basically not a partnership, but a competition. The Jews were always winning. Demographically, morally and ultimately in the most important terms - in power. It is only a matter of time before people who believe in the Jewish People and their G-d given role in the world will lead the IDF. It is only a matter of time before Jews who are proud of their Jewishness will rise to positions of influence.

In the meantime the "forces of secularism" are fighting a fierce rear-guard action. In many ways a case can be built to demonstrate that Oslo as well as the present "Disengagement" are more about attempting to break the morale and belief of the Jews who live in the Land of Israel than about security, foreign policy or any other aspect of these failed ideas.

In that sense, the "Disengagement" initiative is perhaps the best thing that has happened to this country since its establishment. The pro-secular movement has removed the ‘mask’ of pretend-Jewishness. Their true values and aspirations are apparent to all who read the newspapers. The quiet, cooperative, law abiding believer in law and order is finally faced with the clear moral choice: to remain true to our three thousand year tradition of values and ethics, or to acquiesce to the forces of modern secular Hellenism.

The prognosis? It can go either way. If the forces of sanity and reason prevail, the synthesis of dialog and cooperation will build a stronger nation with a clearer vision of our collective purpose and role as a people. If the reactionary forces of ideological secularism prevail, and continue to delegitimize the very forces that currently provide vibrancy and hope for Israel, the result will still be the same, simply the process will be uglier.

Evolution or revolution? These are the choices the current leadership of this nation face today. Marginalize the religious and the faithful! Cast them out of the army, deny them access to government institutions, employment and opportunities to contribute ... you will both cripple yourself and create an opposition to your existence that believes ... something you no longer do! When it comes down to a contest between "believers" and "non-believers", my bet will always be on the believer.

I encourage you to read Yehudit Tayar's article as well as that of Shmuel Sacket. These thoughts and feelings have been "in the air" a long time, but now more and more people are aware of them and act upon them. The greater the "non-believers" attempt to destroy them, the greater will these people feel the righteousness of opposing them, and the more people who will join them.

Yoel Ben-Avraham
Shilo, Benyamin