A prospective juror who is a priori prejudiced will, as a matter of course, be dismissed from serving on a jury pool. Many use this knowledge to be excused from jury service. Israel finds herself in the most peculiar position of always being found guilty before deliberations even begin. The World, itself Judge and Jury, stands and applauds: the harsher the treatment, the stronger the clapping.
Israel’s Prime Minister decided to freeze all construction within Jewish settlements for ten months. This created an uproar, first because of the manner which it was done (decided in a cabinet meeting and implemented as a military decree), second because of damage it inflicts on those who entered into contracts and will now have to bear the consequences of a ten month freeze and third because it is a meaningless, petty attempt to appease foreign powers.
There are those who claim the decision, backed by some of the more respected members of the coalition government like Dr. Beny Begin, son of the late Menachem Begin, is an attempt at deception. They state that in order to divert attention from other, more pressing issues, noise is being created. Even if the supposition of psychological warfare is correct, there are unintended consequences.
Others – mostly among our enemies – raise the argument that the so-called freeze was designed to mislead the world. Interestingly, not only those on the left are up in arms. Those on the right are at least as livid. They, however, are those subjugated to this new decision.
To “break the freeze,” a massive demonstration was scheduled at Paris Square in Jerusalem, in front of the Prime Minister’s residence. Under the heading “In spite of all, we will continue to build and blossom!” Israelis were called to participate. Organized transport was arranged from dozens of cities around Israel at a much-reduced price.
Various organizations, from the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, Bnei Akiva movement and others joined forces to explain that the Yesha Building Freeze amounts to:
Silent Expulsion of thousands of Jewish citizens from their homes
Shameful capitulation to American demands
Foundation stone for a Palestinian state
Collapse of ideology, trampling of human rights.
For those not convinced, they quoted Benyamin Netanyahu’s own words: “Freeze is the code word for destruction.”
How is it that a “right wing government” headed by “right winger” Netanyahu would follow such a path? How is it that only right wing governments, never left, are those that have brought about peace (for instance under the late Menachem Begin with Egypt)? Why are right wing governments those willing to sacrifice most, even for the prospects of an elusive peace?
The protests from right and left may have surprised Netanyahu in their intensity. If indeed the move is designed to camouflage another activity (for instance preparation for a strike against Iran), the protests add to the artificial fire. However, the supposition may be mistaken altogether and all indications are leading to conclude this is indeed the case.
Just two days ago, the Prime Minister’s Office published a list of cities that will be included in the National Priority Map, thus eligible for tax incentives and other monetary benefits and for substantial assistance. “Settlements” in Judea and Samaria with 120,000 residents were included to “compensate” for the freeze.
In one move, Netanyahu managed to inflame the situation, raising the already burning flames many stories high. A new national debate started. This debate does not concern me, since it is devoid of any ideological substance and centers on money allocations and self benefit.
The move, however, sparked a new reproach of the Jewish State. The European Union led by Sweden is convening its organizations to see how to respond. A verbal reprimand was already issued. More steps are expected.
I am listening to the news, and for some reason I am not surprised. Europe is deciding if Israel’s eternal capital is divisible, so why will it not dictate what is allowed to be built and where? There are now even guidelines which products coming from Israel are permissible for purchase and consumption and which are not.
I stood at Paris Square in the only Jerusalem that exists – the eternal capital of the Jewish People – and I saw the demonstrators celebrate life. Young boys and girls, young parents with toddlers, proud grandparents who want nothing more than the ability to live safely and securely on their land. They proclaim that Eretz (the Land of) Israel belongs to the Jewish People, that the idea of Jewish Settlement Project in their land is the solid foundation of the Jewish People and their State.
Songs are sung, the spirit is uplifted despite the new “evil edicts.” The following slogans are heard: “Let my people live!” “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital not because of Camp David [peace accords] but because of King David.” “Jerusalem is mentioned 613 times in the Bible.” There was a call to “educate the young generation to love and support Israel, for those outside of Israel to come and visit her.”
Probably most importantly, it was not an event designed to bash Netanyahu. Instead, there was lamentation for not supporting Netanyahu several months ago, when pressures from outside gained strength and momentum. Rather than blame others, it was self-criticism and introspection, a coming together of concerned Israelis from throughout Israel to support one another, to find synergies in unity, to derive comfort and strength in knowing they are not alone in their struggle to protect their country.
Regrettably, other than the many dozens of reporters, the vast majority of participants – some eight thousand strong – were religious. This battle is still not shared by all Israelis. The majority has yet to internalize the outer threat that gained notice with the Goldstone Report. The hatred has not sprouted with the Report nor will it end there, only continue to gather strength and intensify, until it surfaces in its full ugliness.
I am not clear about the plan of action of the current government in Israel. I do not know how to decipher the conflicting signals. I am certain of one thing: a ten-month freeze will appease no one – not the enemy, not the one inflicted with this unjust punishment and definitely not the puppeteers, the European Union and their cohort gang of bandits or President Hussein Obama and his gang of anti-Israel advisers. Instead, it creates the wrong impression that Israel can and should be subjected to the treatment it receives and will accept it unquestioningly.
If Israel does not respect herself, no one else will. Indeed, no one seems to pay attention to the Jewish state’s own needs and concerns. These and Israel have become irrelevant elements in the equation. Wake up, Israel. Stir your leaders, Oh People of Israel. We look at you and see a giant with miraculous powers lying on the ground, his breath hardly felt, his pulse fading away.
Call your powers, endless and strong. Gather Oh Dry Bones, come into being once again. The wind will blow and you will regain life. Rise up remnants of time immemorial, hasten to come to our aid. Fight. Land and Seas rumble, Fire and Clouds gather. The time has come. From the four corners of the world, arrive! This is your call to battle. It is your obligation, it is your destiny.
We will rise once again, and Israel will prevail.
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