Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Have Hope - Hard to Believe but the seeds for a better tomorrow are being planted today

There are two sides to every coin and at least three opinions for every two Jews....

In the same vien I want to give over to you a more positive perspective on all the chaos that is engulfing the lives of Am Yisrael and the existence of Eretz Yisrael today.

On the one hand, it seems that the seams of Israeli society are coming apart bit by bit.
1. In the eyes of many the settlers and their supporters have become the enemy of the state
2. the threat of disobeying orders is tearing the army apart
3. the charedim have turned their backs on their fellow religious Jews who live in YESHA and the on the land of Israel
4. the Israeli political system is all topsy turvy (left wing parties supporting Sharon, right wing parties not, Likud MKs acting as if they belong in Meretz etc.)
and on and on and on.

Some days I really feel that I'm going to cry of utter sadness at what we are doing to ourselves.

However, there is another way to look at what is going on. To put it simply, I think that the process of chaos we are now going through is actually going to help us become a better, more solid society. A very very good thing that is necessary for the continued existence of the State of Israel.

It may be that the seams of Israeli society are coming apart right now because those seams aren't that strong enough to begin with or because they aren't made out of a strong enough foundation??

Think about it, is the "status quo" (that politicians love to talk about when refering to the religious/secular silent agreement on how we are supposed to live together) really the healthiest bond that is supposed to hold the Jewish people together in our own land?

I really don't think so, not at all.

The status quo has every type of Jew looking out for his own interests. Our political system has always been sectarian. The secular look after their interests, the national-religious look after their interests, the charedim look after their interests, the Russians look after their interests, the Arabs etc. Each and every group looks our for itself, but no group looks our for all of our interests as a society! They might preach that their interests are for the good of the state and all its citizens but that is just retoric, In reality, over the years, these "interests" have split our society further and further apart.

The irony is that the one actual set off values that tie us all together, the values of Judaism, are used by each and every group to tear us apart!

This is no way to bring a society together and no way to rebuild a Jewish society in the Holyland. It is actually the current status quo that has been lingering silently all these years that has lad to all the chaos now surrounding us. It just so happens that Sharon's expulsion plan is the straw that has broken the camels back and brought these issues to the fore.

The process taking place before our eyes is a direct consequence of the weak bonds that currently hold Israeli society together.

However, the good news is that due to the chaos taking place around us, and between us, a stronger more appropriate bond will take shape, bring us together and make us a stronger nation.

What I'm saying is that the chaotic process we are now going is actually going to help us rebuild the society around us based on more solid bonds, which is a good thing.

To say such a thing with all the craziness here in our holyland - with petitions flying around to refuse orders to expel fellow Jews, and politicians, army brass and Justice ministers coming up with every punishment in the books to punish those who are protesting against Sharon's expulsion plan - you must think I get my news from somewhere else. But I don't.

I'm just looking through the symptoms of today's chaos and focusing in on the illness.

Only with a correct diagnosis can a cure be found.

Our continued focus on the symptoms paints a very depressing picture, but a focus on the diagnosis is actaully a cause for gret hope.

I can't tell you exactly how this healing process will happen or how the common bonds will be strengthened between us after all this chaos that is tearing us further apart.

However I can tell you that I firmly believe it will happen because a majority of Israeli society believe, as I do, that we are closer and more connected to one another than our politicians and media make us out to be.

Most Jews in Israel feel a bond to each other and to the Land of Israel. We just lack leaders who take advantage of this bond to make these connections stronger. Instead we have leaders who use the differences between us to strengthen themselves politically. Most of the people see this hypocrisy.

The current chaos is the process that will bring the more appropriate leadership to the fore.

As a very relevant aside, I believe in the right of a soldier to refuse an army order to expel Jews from their homes, just as I believe in the right of a soldier to refuse an army order to expel Arabs from their homes or refuse an army order to serve in YESHA, if the order goes against his or her conscience. Each and every refusal should be accompanied by its appropriate punishment, but the right to refuse an immoral army order should not be delegitimized. It is our G-d given right to obey our conscience not the army, not even the Israeli army.

The time has come for the Jewish people to respect each others values, even if they conflict. I believe this because basically they are all the same moral values that deserve all of our respect even if we might disagree with the application of those values. I do not advocate agreeing with the application of those values but only respecting the right of ones judegement according to his or her values.

Contrary to what many of our (sic) leaders - political, community and even Rabbinic -are warning us about a rift in our society due to the right of soldiers to refuse the order of expulsion, I believe that our country, our people and our army will be stronger when we allow each soldier to refuse those orders he/she believes to be immoral and wrong. Otherwise how are we really different then those soliders that defended their actions against our grandparents and great grandparents with the claim that they were just following orders of a democraticly elected government?

From darkness will come light. Hold on to your faith, your hope, your prayers and your love for all of Am Yisrael. We will get out of this crisis in better shape, hopefully together with the families of Gush Katif and the Shomron still living in their homes.

Oh yeah, and with it all, this is our home and this is where we all belong as soon as we can get here because it is here that we are building our Jewish homeland.

Shabbat Shalom,

PS - For a good read on why Sharon's expulsion plan still is not realistic read this Letter to Heroes of Gush Katif...

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