Notes From the Front

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13 Responses

  1. Zev says:

    Rabbi Feldman: A wonderful post, although one poignant and sad. I believe that many individual Jews of the diaspora would wish to protest what is happening, but have no forum in which to express their feelings.

  2. mike says:

    Tom Friedman has an excellent article in today’s (july 13) Times explaining Ariel Sharon’s position.

  3. Hanan says:

    What Sharon had in mind?

    As a rabbi told me, its pretty simple. You either give up the land or give all arabs the same rights just as every other Jews. Annex the terretories and allow every single Arab to live in Israel as an equal citizen. For me, thats much more dangerous than handing over Gaza. You absolutely cannot occupy anothe nation and hope eveything goes well. I wish the arabs were banished a long time ago and Jews settled happily there, but thats not reality. There is no way this situation can go on with settlements existing in between millions of arabs and having our soldiers that for the most part,dont want to be there.

    Regarding the people taking residence in the motel. I need to feel sympathy for them? I dont feel sympathy for people that take residence in a motel, knowing fully that they have to leave. They new very well that they would have to be dragged out there forcebly if they dident on their own. They are playing the exact game the arabs played with the media. “He were all innocent here, look at these barbaric soldiers and what their doing to us.”

    Your right, the world would not look favoribly if Israel tried to kick arabs out of their homes. But the rest of the world sees these settlements as illegal. They want the Jews out of there just as much as the Israeli govt wants. This isent something illegal that they are doing. Was it “Nazi like” when the Yamit was cleared out. Give me a break, your doing your own brain-washing and mulipulating here by comparing the two.

    “Lo taamod al dam re-echa /”Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor”
    By the blood of thy neighbor- thats a good one. I can certainly use that psuk and use it to defend the fact that if we stay there, we would need to give freedom and rights to all those arabs, which in turn would lead to the demographics changing with more of an Arab population in Israel, which in turn would cause much more evil to befall “my neighbor.”

    “governed by Jews on behalf of Jews”

    Do you understand that it will never happen unless we rid ourselves from the Arabs. Face it, we took the land that they lived on. I have no problem with that. But usually when a country takes land as spoils or for other reasons, they “rid” themselves of the inhabitants. Israel never did this. So your hopping that the Jews can live within a bunch of arabs and everything will be peacefull. Sharon knows hes not going to get anything out of this, except for the fact that he realizes that we can’t go on like this. You are doing your full share of brainwashing here constructing your sentences in showing how barbaric the soldiers are and their lack of sympathy and even though you did not say it, you are obviously inferring what the Nazis did. Those bumper stickers that read “Yehudi lo megaresh yehudi”, thats a lovely slogan, but just cause a bumper sticker says that, doesent make it anything binding. All of your crying about a Jews that have been killed by Arabs is irrelevant. Thats not what this disengagment is about. Its about the future of a Jewish Israel, not a Jewish nation with an Arab population. Holding of the arabs in the territories by the sword will never work. No nation has had that luck.

    If you want to kill ever single arab there and take their land at least say that flat out. If not, than whats the solution. Leaving the matters as they are today? It cant be done. Israel will lose, I dont want to see that happen. Thats when you will have to say “”Lo taamod al dam re-echa” The last time I checked, Biblical Israel, as you want it, had the Philistines living in the area knows as Gaza. Im curious to know as to when exactly Jews had major control of that area.

    Sympathy, my sympathy lies with family of soldiers that died that have had to protect these settlments knowing full when there is no safe way to live amongst those barbaric arabs. My sympathy lies in “God Forbid” a day may come when Arab populates more of Israel than the Jews. How much blood will be spilled then?

  4. Sholom Simon says:

    You wanted to know what Sharon is thinking — perhaps it is merely a general’s cold pragmatic view that, in his opinion, he doesn’t think that defending 8,000 Jews amongst 1,000,000-plus Arabs is a good use of resources. A retreat to more defensible borders, so to speak.

    Please, everyone, don’t jump on my case. I already know that I don’t know everything that goes on there. I am merely guessing a response to the author’s comment of: “No one seems to understand what Sharon has in mind.”

    I think a number of people think they do know what is on his mind, and some of them are thinking the above.

  5. Netanel Livni says:

    An aspect of the Gaza expulsion plan which is consistently ignored is the tremendous Chilul Hashem involved. See Rashi on Yechezkiel 36:21. The retreat from our G-d given land desecrates the Honor of G-d and the Torah in the most public way possible. We are constantly concerned with the preservation of proper moral behavior in our society and this is of course one the central concerns of the Torah. But can a moral society truly exist when it does not fulfill its mission of preserving the honor of G-d’s name? To the extent that we protest this evil plan, the Chilul Hashem is reduced. I pray that if we protest and pray with strenght and conviction, perhaps we will be blessed with seeing this gzeira rescinded from up high.

  6. Joe Schick says:

    It seems to me that those of us in the U.S. – even if opposed to the Gaza withdrwawal – have a moral obligation to be cautious in expressing such opposition. We’re not the ones who serve reserve duty in Gaza.

    Furthermore, while I am opposed to the unilateral withdrawal, there are legitimate reasons for it, including the reality that 9000 Jews are surrounded by a million Arabs, most Israelis don’t want to be there, and too much of the IDF’s resources are tied up defending the Gaza residents.

  7. Doron says:

    The Haredim are doing the politically astute thing. If the point is to try to sway public opinion of the secular Jews in Israel, the further away the Haredim are from associating with this issue, the better.

  8. Moshe says:

    For all those who have fallen victim to Ariel Sharon’s propoganda of “9,000 Jews among 1,000,000 arabs”:

    The facts are not with you. Gush Katif is at the southern part of Gaza, almost at the border of Egypt, and is an exceedingly vital strategic point to hold onto. The Arabs are situated far to the North. There are some smaller cities in the south, but they don’t even approach one million arabs.

    Have any of you visited Gush Katif and tried to understand the strategic importance?
    1) They prevent Gaza from becoming a Hamas stronghold. Hamas has stated time and again that they want to destroy the entire zionist entity – not just the Jews in Gaza. Let’s give them a State so that they can actually continue their goal!
    2) The communities prevent weapon smuggling to a large extent. When the Israelis move out, the egyptians will be able to smuggle everything in.

    For an interesting video that gives a perspective on this, see here:

  9. Joel Rich says:

    The haredi community is clearly against the evictions, but they say little about it. One has a sense that they are not surprised by a government that would betray its own supporters and evicts Jews from their own land. In effect, their silence says that one cannot expect better from people who are divorced from their religious roots, for whom this land is like any other and possesses no intrinsic holiness or Divine favor.
    I have read in several places that the reason for the silence of the charedi parties regarding (and support in the Knesset for) the withdrawal is that financial support for charedi institutions by the government (a quid pro quo) is of higher priority. Do you disagree?
    Joel Rich

  10. Joseph says:

    Rabbi Feldman is disappointed in the stance American Orthodox groups have taken toward this debate in Israel; he ascribes it to distance. Indeed, distance gives one a different, perhaps more objective, perspective; this is recognized in Jewish law through the rules invalidating someone who is “nogei’ah be’davar” (connected to, or, with a direct interest in the matter) from testifying as a witness about the matter etc. Of course all Jews have a stake in the life of the State and People of Israel. But Rabbi Feldman’s post itself – “from the front” – speaks volumes about how being on the “front” impacts a persons perspective. To use references to Nazi acts and racist motivations with regard to the actions of a Jewish government’s actions toward its own citizens is misguided, ahistorical and offensive.
    One can critique Sharon’s plans and how he pushed it through the Cabinet etc., but at the end of the day this is an exercise of the Jewish government’s sovereignty with regard to its own citizenry and security – not a non-Jewish governent expelling Jews from its diaspora country for racist reasons. At the end of the day, Israel is a democracy, and if the settlers and their supporters were the majority or could convince the majority of their case, Sharon’s govt could have been brought down though the political process. American-Orthodox-religious-Zionists are very conflicted on this matter; because of their identification with the settlers, their respect for all those in Israel (including many of these American’s family members) who serve in the IDF and face daily risks of terrorism, and the appropriate role for them to play from a diaspora community.
    These factors and others – plus the more “objective” perspective “distance” provides might be worth consideration by those on “the front.”

  11. JZ says:

    Sharon’s calculus? Simple. Since he declared his disengagement plan he has been only been praised by the US and EU. Gone are the daily criticisms and condemnations of Israel. In that he has succeeded brilliantly.

  12. Joe Schick says:

    “The facts are not with you. Gush Katif is at the southern part of Gaza, almost at the border of Egypt, and is an exceedingly vital strategic point to hold onto. The Arabs are situated far to the North. There are some smaller cities in the south, but they don’t even approach one million arabs.”

    What about Khan Yunis, which surrounds (or is surrounded by, depending on one’s perspective) the Gush Katif yeshuvim, and has a population of 200,000?

  13. Hanan says:

    I saw this link

    Basically discussing the settlers at Ganim (west bank) leaving their homes.

    Home come no flags for them, no protests, no tears, no mention? Is it possible because they are a secular settlement? Perhaps. Or is it because they realize the the Govt is the one that allowed them to settle there in the first place and now are telling them they have to leave. Real big heroes all the settlers are , religious or secular. Its the Israeli gov’t that lay the foundations for them to move to these areas. Would they have set foot inside there before ’67? And now, religious people are inclined to constantly use Nazi analogies to denounce the very same people gave them the land to build their homes.

    Is your only problem Gush Qatif? Would you be happier if we kept Gush Qatif and gave back the rest of the settlements in Gaza? What would you tell the families of those other settlements that are loosing their homes? “Sorry, your home is not strategic enough to keep”

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