Friday, April 20, 2007

Pulitzer Prizes?

One of the topics in the Israeli Press this week has been the Pulitzer Prize to an Israeli journalist for the photograph that I personally felt captured the essence of Amona, and with it the post-Disengagement spirit of the pro-Eretz-Israel movement. The question is - how do you view the photograph?

  • Is the religious fanatic throwing herself in a desperate attempt to thwart the forces of law-and-order?
  • Or is the symbol of right and justice standing up despite all odds to stem the forces of corruption and nihilism?
Personally I see this young woman as typical of the generation my children belong to. I call them the "Generation of Entering the Land". Unlike the "Generation of the Dessert (Midbar)" who were acculturated to see the world through the eyes of their non-Jewish host cultures, these children are literally "children of the land". There is not an inch of this land they haven't hiked through, or unfortunately, fought over. They are deeply attached to its soil, its geography, it fauna and wildlife, and especially the history of the peoples who have lived here since the dawn of history.

The Tanach, for them, is neither a dusty collection of ancient history nor an esoteric handbook of antiquated religious belief - it is a handbook for inspiring day-to-day, minute-to-minute life. It inspires their political vision as well as their aspiration for purity and honesty, but especially justice.

In many ways I feel the middrash that describes Moshe Rebbennu's astonishment after hearing Rabbi Akiva's lecture to his students describes our generation gap reality. Like Moshe our "Generation of the Midbar" led our people through the parted seas of a holocaust to the "Promised land". The real work of settling the land, establishing the foundations for the kingdom of Israel came after Moshe passed on. So too, we are experiencing that unsettling transition between the demise of the "great" leaders of the past and the yet-to-be arrival of the leaders who grew up on the land.

If you are in need of inspiration and are looking for a reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jewish People in general, and the Jewish People in the Land of Israel in particular, watch this short "Press Statement" by a young woman who's idealism and willingness to back it up with selfless dedication, even if it mean being beaten mercilessly by multiple Israel 'Police'.

I love irony. The young woman's first name? Nili! From the first letters of the words in the phrase phrase: "The eternity of Israel will not lie!"
"And also the Eternity of Israel will not lie nor waver; for He is not a man, that He would equivocate;"
I Samuel 15:29