Thursday, August 19, 2010

If you ignore it, it won’t go away.

For years many Jews in Israel’s North and South considered the “problem with Arabs” to be isolated to Judea and Samaria. Terrorism, theft, rape happened “over there”, not in “my neighborhood”.

Separating themselves from the heartland of Israel, many of those living “inside the line” thought that themselves different. The “Green line” became more than an ink mark on a map, it became a cause, a wall, a place not to go, not really the state.

Boy, did that back fire!

Those who harbor an elevated intellect and intelligence realize that there is no difference between the Jewish people who live on either side of the line, that all are part of Jewish history and heritage and Israel today. Mind you the same goes for the Arab residents, except for the part of Jewish History and heritage (then again, their views regarding the erasing of our presence and history here are pretty much the same).

Over the past two and a half years I have been working with various security and emergency projects in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley as Director of Security Projects for One Israel Fund. I am proud to say that there has been much progress. Terrorists and thieves have been caught trying to infiltrate communities, standards in Emergency and Medical response rose to new and admirable heights, lives have been saved, Jews have been protected, Thank Gd, and we have been making progress and will continue to work hard to achieve even more.

Recently I have been turned to from communities from the Galil, from the Negev, the Dead Sea region, all looking for the same type of assistance and guidance we have been providing to Judea and Samaria. They all came to me with the same horrendous stories, theft of land, livestock, produce and more, farmers being beaten, infrastructure being destroyed… all while “Israel” sleeps.

It was ironic for me to hear these stories, they were of course not news to me, and having lived in Judea and Samaria for so many years, I was used to them, of course the only difference was that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria often used guns and bombs against us to achieve their heinous goals. The irony was that for years these same folk viewed the Jews living “over the Green Line” as different, not one with them, as the “settlers”, often forgetting their not to distant common past with these “settlers”.

There are many levels of terrorism, the common denominator is that it affects our daily lives and how we live them. We often classify it by the costs involved, the highest cost being in blood and lives. This is the cost we in Judea and Samaria have learned most this is the cost our children have learned. In the North and South the cost has been in land stolen, Jews run off their land by having their crops and livestock destroyed or stolen and then only to be arrested by our own police when trying to defend that which we all hold so dear to ourselves… our homes.

There is a saying in Hebrew, “Ha Kol l’Tova”, it is all for the good, so where’s the good you ask?

More and more Jews from these areas have been coming to the realization that there is no “Green Line” and that we are all in this together, one people, one land, one state. By ignoring their brothers in Judea and Samaria, the see that the problems of terror have spread to them also. It has now become more common to hear of arrests of terror cells in both the north and south. Communities living along this invisible political entity of a line are now afraid of becoming new “Sderots”, they are even looking into forming first response teams to answer various “incidents” in their regions.

When they called out looking for assistance in manpower many from the heartland responded to their calls, and the borders came down, the line disappeared and bonds were formed and these bonds are growing stronger. It is indeed heartwarming to be “welcomed” back. After years of being looked at like a creature from beyond, to be viewed once again as a brother was a pleasure.

It seems that the lessons of the expulsion from Gush Katif have been learned by a large part of the country; of course most of those that have yet to learn do not live within any proximity of a possible danger…yet, mind you, they choose to keep their heads stuck in the sand. But the facts remain, that we in Israel are waking up.

In the discussions that have been ongoing regarding the problems mentioned, it seems that those that are causing the most harm are not the Arabs, in fact it is agreed by most, the Arabs are simply doing what they have been doing for years, being our enemy and trying to drive us from our land, all of our land.

The problem seems to rest mostly within the authorities and Arab and “Peace” groups from the outside. The actions, or lack of action by the police, the land administration, the government all seems to add to the motivation of the Arab perpetrators, while their funding goes unhindered. Sure there are successes here and there, crimes and terror are stopped, but far from satisfactory levels.

This symptom of a lack of proper response has been the main culprit in the escalation of terror in Judea and Samaria, Gaza in the past. It continues to feed the rockets down south and propagates a new and possibly explosive situation in the north and south of Israel.

While pointing a finger is the easiest path to take, I will change directions in pointing and look to point that finger towards the mirror, not just at myself, but also at all of us. Not in blame, but in a “call to arms” to coin a phrase.

The challenge of holding onto Israel did not end in 1948, 56, 67, 73,82, 91, 2000, etc., etc. our homeland has still far to go. It is still going on, it is just hidden in the fog, out of sight to many and barely visible outside the country. Every ethnic group has at least one place to call home, we Jews only have Israel, we Jews only have ourselves and maybe a few real friends, we can’t forget that.

Our fight to hold on to our country is far from over.

I know that the halls of the Knesset do not always represent that, I know that in many Café’s in Tel Aviv, you won’t find it, but it is here in Israel and it is strong and growing stronger.

The change in Israel will come from within, it must, and it will then shine outwards. But “within” must be within all of us as a people. If we want to have the luxury of sibling rivalry, we must first have the luxury of safe surroundings, safe surrounding in our homeland, our country, and that we achieve by having “Achdut”, by having Unity.

Our enemy is out there trying to take our land from us, lets make them stop, and stop now. Do not stand quiet, stand strong, and stand together, and continue to build Israel, continue to fight for Israel, for all of Israel

We can then offer them an Olive branch if they want, if they are ready.

As we are in the Hebrew month of Elul, heading towards a New Year and Rosh Hashanah, I would like to mention a thought. The first letters of the word “ELUL” are often referred to in Psalm 6:3, “Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Lee”, I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Usually this refers to the Jewish people's connection with Gd. Throughout the Torah our people's connection with the Land of Israel is mentioned time and time again. In the book of Devarim (the last book of the Torah, that which we are reading from now), everything is leading up to our return to Israel.

A thought... if we as Jews feel about our connection with the Land of Israel as we feel about our intimate connection above during this month of Elul, maybe we can bring about a change for the better sooner and make the world safer and a better place for all of us.

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