Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The "Face" of Judea and Samaria

The “Face” of Judea and Samaria

Lately, many visitors from outside of Israel have been visiting Judea and Samaria. From US congressman, European members of Parliaments and governments, the who’s who and who’s not have been making their way over to attempt to get a better understanding of what’s going on over here. Indeed, we have been seeing a rise in support not just from our own in Israel, but an increasing amount of visitors have come around to the thinking that Judea and Samaria is truly part of Israel and not to be given away like a used car.

I have also been observing various individuals who are portrayed to be the “face” of Judea and Samaria, be it produced by the media or self promoted.

One of the biggest misconceptions of Judea and Samaria is the makeup of our population, the stereotype and generalization of those of us who live in these parts.

For too long have we allowed the media to show one type of Jew who represents the over 300,000 people who live here. We all know the picture, big Kippah, Payot (sidelocks), usually a beard, this is the general image of the population of our heartland. Usually devout, sometimes “Messianic”, angry, yelling, cursing an Arab or fighting off an IDF soldier, yup, that’s a “settler”! At least that’s what the media would have you believe makes up the core of Judea and Samaria.

Does this person live in Judea and Samaria? Yes, he does, he also lives in Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Haifa and Kiryat Shemona and more. Is this an accurate portrayal of Judea and Samaria? Not in the least.

The majority of Jews in the world do not look like this… the majority of Jews living in Judea and Samaria do not look like this either, so what gives?

For many years opponents of a Jewish presence in it’s historical heartland have been trying to maintain a separation between not only the physical territory, but also the populous and the rest of Israel and Jews of the world. You could not find a better way to do this by presenting an image that most cannot relate to. It has proven to be a successful marketing strategy, both here and outside of Israel.

Blame must not only be put on the media, but also our leadership here in Judea and Samaria. When we have sent out our emissaries to the diaspora, whom did we send? Representatives of ALL the Jews living here? No, not at all. Mostly those who matched the media ‘s portrayal, at least in physical appearance.

Is there a single image or representative of ALL Jews of Judea and Samaria? No, there is not, do you know why? Judea and Samaria is as diverse as every other part of Israel, various levels of religious observance and non-observance, of political right and yes, even left. There are long hairs, short hairs, cool folk, geeks and nerds, intellects, simpletons, brave and courageous, even frightened people. Liberal, Conservative, Professionals, Artists, Professors, Sanitation workers, the list goes on and on….just like everywhere in Israel and the world.

Something for everyone…but that would mean that the people living there are normal…just like you, and that is not on the agenda.

How can you expect “Diaspora Jews, be they Observant, Conservative, Reform, Traditional or non-observant Jews to relate to a Jew living in Judea and Samaria when he is shown a limited version of the people living there? How can we expect people to think that we are diverse when they think that only “Avraham Fried” is the choice of music out here in the hills? I have Hendrix blaring on my speakers, down the block Idan Raichel is playing, someone’s got hip-hop wreaking havoc on their system, and John Coltraine is cooling his way at one of the area restaurants where the fine wine and gourmet food is being served (produce of Judea and Samaria).

In the same breath, there is Torah being taught in ways few thought possible, in so many institutions, by Rabbis with beards, without beards, by the young and old, men and women, and children.

All types, all options, the full spectrum. But you wouldn’t know that from the media, or the “Mainstream” Jewish Federation trips and educational programs to Israel.

The common glue between the Jews living in our heartland… a fierce love of Israel, the land and the people.

The web to trap so many, being continuously spun by the impostors, the media and our own, who claim to seek truth and peace, only keeps our people and especially our children separate and divided, and thus, weak and susceptible to their lies and misinformation.

It is up to all of us to tear this web of danger down, before we loose more of our people.

The “Face” of Judea and Samaria? No such thing, public or private, there are the “Faces” of Judea and Samaria, and they are the same and different as the faces of all of Israel, of all of the Jewish people, (that is those that are not anti-Israel).

The “Green” line only separates the ignorant.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Fronts

When discussing the challenges that Israel faces, most often mentioned are those based on the security of the nation, the state. Be it the Iranian threat of a nuclear apocalypse, the ongoing campaign of terror from the Arabs living within and around Israel, or the existential threat of remaining a Jewish State.

These have become the norm in our daily lives. We read, discuss and live this reality. Our children and we learn to adapt and meet these challenges head on, as we work to be victorious each in his way against our adversaries.

Rarely discussed is the threat our people face outside of Israel.

Our enemies have changed their strategy in how to attack and damage Israel.

In light of Israel’s floundering PR, lack of clear leadership and direction, our enemies have targeted diaspora Judaism to use as their latest weapon against Israel.

Allying with Israel’s extreme left, this perverted combo makes use of a campaign of misinformation, and a warped view of reality to turn the less informed, misguided and generally bored individuals against the Jewish state.

Being presented as neo-liberalism and progressive thought, these views spread like a deadly virus among our people. Blinding most to truth and facts, they ignore and change history to adapt to their own ignorant and limited lack of understanding, even turning the wise and enlightened into the frightened and biased.

We see the symptoms in various shapes and forms. The most common denominator between them is the disconnection from the physical Jewish history in our heartland and the adoption of the distorted version of “Palestinian Arab” history and falsehoods.

Breeding grounds of this danger include university campuses, many Conservative and Reform institutions and Mainstream Jewish federation get-togethers. It is mostly the young who are sought out to rise against Israel because they do not know, were never taught, and worse then all, were kept intentionally ignorant by their leaders.

One classic example is a particular educational institution in Israel that provides young men and women (pre college) who hail from Conservative and Reform Jewish Schools an opportunity to learn more about Israel. Unfortunately they keep their students from going “over the Green line”. Sure they have “representatives” come and speak to them, from all sides, but do not give them the chance to see for themselves.

Another example are organized trips to Israel by these same groups, it is a rare instance that they or their rabbinic leaders set foot upon historically important sites of our heritage. Stating that doing so is too politically charged, or using the “danger” card, these “missions” keep their participants effectively in the dark, a virus that later spreads to their children, often a more serious strain.

While not being coaxed on by anti Israel movements, many “Orthodox” school programs are also guilty of keeping their students and missions ignorant. When taking the students or other participants out to see, to hear and connect, these institutions fail to teach relevance of our existence here, simple recent history, and beyond, thus keeping them weak in the face of anti Israel adversaries, and in doing so play into the clutches of our enemies.

Many new Jewish Groups that have been adopting Arab renditions have been becoming more vociferous in their activities against Israel. Being manipulated and funded by anti Israel activists and yet undisclosed sources, they have taken more aggressive routes. Intruding on pro Israel or simply “Jewish” events, disrupting where they can, they declare their unity with those that wish for Israel’s destruction. The aggressive behavior is not met with any resistance… “Good Jews” don’t behave that way. Indeed it is only a matter of time before aggressive behavior turns violent and casualties result.

It has become policy to ignore these outbreaks in hopes that they will disappear and their members dissipate, a mistake to say the least.

Groups that advocate for Israel are often not prepared for these intrusions, nor are they ready to face the aggression from the members of these groups. The results make for neither good advocacy nor good PR.

There are still to be found islands of reason and informed opinions, yet their numbers dwindle as they are labeled “old school”. Many that remain steadfast in their support of Israel, on either side of the political spectrum, seem to be oblivious to this recent appearance, taking it lightly and taking pride in the diversity of our people.

Mainstream Judaism in the diaspora faces its most serious dilemma since the holocaust. Continued siding with the neo Arab redaction of history and the divestment from the Jewish state will cost our people in alarming numbers, all this while our “mainstream” leadership sails blindly into the future.

Perhaps if we work together, we may cure the blindness, we may educate the ignorant and Gd willing defeat our enemies, wherever they are.

Many write that the time to wake up is now… the time to wake up has passed, but better late than never.