J.J. Goldberg

Despair, Israeli Style

By J.J. Goldberg

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When it’s not preoccupied with Gilad Schalit’s release-not-release, the settlement freeze-not-freeze, the never-ending Iran nightmare or Bibi Netanyahu’s offer/threat to bring Tsipi Livni’s Kadima into his coalition, in whole or in pieces, the Israeli press has lately been publishing a good deal of what can only be described as existential despair.

Nobody has captured the angst more exquisitely than Yair Lapid of Yediot Ahronot, one of the country’s best-known and most firmly centrist journalists, in a December 20 column titled “So what now?

It’s possible that it doesn’t work anymore. That this country stopped functioning the same way old cars die: In the first few times you still take it to the mechanic, later you learn to look under the hood yourself and get your hands dirty, and then comes the moment where you just leave it in the street, realizing that there must be someone out there whose job is to take it away…

In a slightly more dispassionate tone, the underlying tension is described in a December 24 op-ed titled “Two Types of Zionism. It’s by Gadi Taub, an essayist, Hebrew University professor of communications and public policy (and occasional Forward contributor):

What we are dealing with here is the difference between means and ends. In the settlers’ view, the State is a means for realizing “our obligation to the Land of Israel through Aliyah and settlement work” (as noted in the founding document of the Gush Emunim settlement movement.) Yet in the view of mainstream Zionism, the settlement enterprise is a means for reinforcing the State’s sovereignty.

As time passes, it turns out that this difference is in fact an abyss. Two worldviews will be facing off for a head-on clash.

Taub ends on confident note: the “Zionism of the state” will outlast the “Zionism of the land.” “There’s “no need to panic.”

The settlers do not have enough resources or ideological confidence in order to detach themselves from the State, let alone declare war against it.

Maybe not, but they’re making a pretty good show of it. Consider:

Two hundred 12th-graders wrote an open letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak December 24 declaring that they will “fight the enemy” but they’ll refuse to evacuate settlers.

A battalion of reservists hung a sign on the gate of their base December 21 at the end of a month of training, declaring their solidarity with a military yeshiva that was expelled from the army’s Hesder training-and-Torah program because its head rabbi refused to stop teaching recruits to disobey orders. Dozens of rabbis and teachers in other Hesder yeshivas wrote a December 18 open letter to their students — all of whom are soldiers in uniform—that “Torah law” takes precedence over army commands and they must disobey any orders to evacuate or dismantle settlements.

Yisrael Harel, one of the founders of the settler movement and former chairman of the Judea-Samaria Settlement Council, warned in a defiant essay in the Jerusalem Post December 20 that the settlers won’t go down without a fight. But there’s more than a hint of anxiety in his defiance.

Thus, if only to continue to exist, i.e. to prevent another Katif bloc uprooting, the settlers understand that they must bring tens of thousands of new people to the settlements. But that cannot happen without ongoing construction.

Moreover, Harel writes,

they face an additional existential threat: atrophy. Many of the veteran settlements are over 30. original settlement is liable to age and eventually disappear. Thus, another reason for the struggle against the freeze is the need to bring fresh blood to the veins of these settlements.

Working for the settlers, Harel writes, is the fact that “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is perceived by settlers and others as a weak figure who succumbs to whoever pressures hardest.” But there’s a flip side:

Netanyahu’s inclination to fold under pressure generates yet another concern. Nothing will change in the Obama administration’s approach 10 months from now. There will be more pressure, followed by further freezes. And since there will be no newconstruction starts during the coming 10 months, there can be no second ministerial committee for exceptions. Thus as long as Obama is president, there will be no housingconstruction in Judea and Samaria …

One of the most surprising notes of fatigue came from the editor of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, in a December 24 signed column titled “A Nation Held Hostage.” It’s a long, agonized one-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand parsing Israel’s dilemma over freeing Palestinian prisoners to win back Gilad Schalit, the soldier kidnapped in June 2006 and held ever since by Hamas in Gaza.

On one hand, Horovitz writes,

Hamas is already contemplating the momentum this vindication of its strategy will provide for its supporters in the West Bank - and the momentum this will give to Hizbullah in Lebanon and to their would-be nuclear state sponsor, Iran. Hamas is already anticipating the blow to the credibility of relative moderates such as Abbas. Hamas is already gauging how far forward this will take it toward the full dominance of the Palestinian polity, en route to the full dominance of Palestine.

DEEP, DEEP down, many Israelis know all of this. We are not stupid people.

On the other hand,

We know that, even as the inner cabinet was weighing the terms of the deal on Monday, another family was being torn apart. Mor Cohen was killed in a training accident, shot dead through what ought to have been an impermeable wall during an exercise on the Golan Heights. …

Mor Cohen is dead. It is tragic. But there is nothing we can do now to bring him back. Gilad Schalit is alive. We can save him.

But should Israel free hundreds of committed terrorists to win back one soldier? The answer from the veteran editor of the Jerusalem Post is: I don’t know.

There’s no simple decision, but there is a right one. And it’s not for the people of this nation, held hostage by Hamas, to take.

That’s why we have leadership.

Or, to paraphrase: I’m stuck, and I don’t know how to get out. You get a sense that he’s speaking for all Israel.


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Comments
george Sun. Dec 27, 2009

Silly stuff. The answer is crystal clear and only those whose vision is clouded by an excess of compassion combined with a lack of wisdom are confused: War is hell. Death, hostage taking, all are possible occurrences.. To endanger the lives of Israelis by freeing hundreds of murderous arabs in exchange for Schalit is criminal insanity. The cemeteries in Israel are filled with the bodies of those murdered by previous such deals. And yes, a change is coming. One that all the angst filled 'intellectuals' sense is looming on the horizon. There is now arising in the army a powerful force of young soldiers who understand that when an order goes against Jewish law, it is to be ignored. These young men and women are the hope for the future. May their strength and values one day be reflected in government policy.

Jess Witten Mon. Dec 28, 2009

"when an order goes against Jewish law, it is to be ignored."

According to the Torah and Jewish law, women as well as men should serve in a Jewish army!

So the haredi women - as well as men- should be drafted, with no "religious" deferment.

Right, George?

George Mon. Dec 28, 2009

Really? According to whose 'Torah', the 'Torah' of Jess Whitten? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and instead of assuming you're a complete fool maybe you have a problem with Reading Comprehension. The Torah forbids women from fighting wars. Have there been exceptions to this in times past?Of course.

Got that, Jess?

tarshisha Mon. Dec 28, 2009

good point, Mr Goldberg!

Dave Mon. Dec 28, 2009

Oh yawn. You can find similar Cassandras in the US press, and for that matter, any country's press

Arieh Zimmerman Tue. Dec 29, 2009

This specific example of a problem without a clear answer, despite the real pain of those intimately involved,as opposed to those use it only for their particular political advantage), typifies the current Israeli angst and confusion regarding the question of just who is in charge here.

There are those who, with frightening presumption, claim to know what God thinks, as if The creator of all things is not allowed to change His mind should He wish to do so. And there are those, slightly less presumptuous but no less paternalistic, who merely claim that all secular wisdom is theirs.

On one hand the extremist bigots sitting on the wrong side of the Green Line, and on the other, a government of such weak ethical principles that they think that a rigorous investigation into the death of hundreds of Palestinian civilians is unnecessary.

Is it any wonder that rational Israelis despair that Zionism is being turned upside down and inside out.

Miriam Chartier Sun. Jan 3, 2010

Dispare Israel Style.....read..the book "PROSTITUTION AND PREJUDICE, by Jewish Historian Edward Bristow

He writes about the world prostitution network and clearly shows the prominent Jewish role. Jewish domination of White Slavery continues. In fact, it is on a large scale now than ever in history.

There has much written on it and still nothing is done...In The Holy Land....were the nation...clames all the rights to this land that they have invaded with all kinds of abominations in a land that OUR G-D, HAS SET APART FOR HIMSELF TO DWELL IN....G-D WILL NOT MIX...WITH SIN!

It is written....Isaiah 28....In that day the LORD of host will be a garland of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the REMNANT of his people; (people in every nation that truned out sin) and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

The LORDS GATE....PS. 51...HIDDEN PART....THE ROCK, THE STONE...PS.118....GEN.28...TO ENTER IN AS JACOB ---IN PEACE. THAT G-D PROMISED ABRAHAM, FOR HIS CHILDREN THAT WALK AS HE DOES. AND FOR ISAAC, WHO FEARED THE LORD.

These two verses in Isaiah 28...are important variant this chapter of judgment and doom. The DESPAIR OF ISRAEL! As a characteristic of the tradition of Isaiah, it is possible to look beyond the anticipated devastation to a ---gift of glory---not assaulted and a gift of great beauty the eye has not yet seen.....what is sure to come. These gifts will not be Israel ---restored,----NO! no, no, it will be G-D'S own presence given to the 'REMENANT", the one given is 'THE LORD OF HOST" in full sovereign power. That is the our gift that comes after the devastaton of what is now an abominations to G-D, the people chosen to serve Him and care for the land of G-D, so that He could of Dwelled with them, in Peace.

Is it not written in Genesis 28...that Jacob, entered in peace?

Genesis 28...And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If G-D will be with me, and will keep me in this way (free from sin) that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. (spiritual food and his covering for protection) So that I come again to my father's house in peace; ----then----shall the LORD---be my G-D.

G-D will not let us in his house----unless----we come in peace. G-D wars on sin...he drove it out...and gave it....death in it's end.

Miriam Chartier Sun. Jan 3, 2010

George, my friend, or foe?

Anyone who does not believe the word of G-D is a fool. It is written in...Psalm 14....The fool hath said in his heart, There is no G-D. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek G-D.

G-D wants the work of His hands to seek HIM. He is the G-D of All Mankind is He not? For it is written in Jer. 32...Behold, Iam the LORD, the G-D of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

G-D....I tell G-D every day and every night...there is nothing He can not do....then I thank Him. When small I read the story about Samson and his great strength. I felt so bad for him, it troubled my young mind...and I was angry that he was from the tribe of Dan and failed G-D but I also seen that G-D did not fail him or our people. I was very small and had to do so much work in the family I was given. I once, shortly after reading about Samson, asked G-D for the spiritual strength that G-D did not give Samson. In my life, that is some story, I been told my many I have mental strength and not physical strength. I know it is my spiritual strength, that holds me up, that I received form G-D.

It is in G-D'S hand to give....and it is not in man's to say who G-D gives and who G-D does not!

The root of foolishness stems from hatred or dislike... Eccl 2...when you read this chapter you will find a group uses their eyes to sin against G-D daily. The desires of the eyes open to the heart and mind---their spiritual life, example sinful pleasures, gluttony, hate.....the eyes of a fool lust in darkness. Any one that speaks wrong of what G-D has stated despise the word of G-D and is a fool, because the wisdom from above will not be given them. A arrogant spirit of man without a teachable spirit is lost...darkness leads him to the pit. The spirit that puts in them the desire of G-D for them to desire truth in the inward parts were truth will make them know wisdom in the hidden part, these are the sons of G-D that have turned and are given the second breath from the Almighty.

For it is written...Job 3 The Spirit of G-D *MADE ME* (flesh, below, first breath, sin, death, dust) but the breath of the Almighty give me life. (above, a child is given Us-Isaiah 9 and a son is brought forth---the DECLARE DECREE, found in Ps.2

Psalm 51...Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:(heart and minds)....and in the HIDDEN PART thou shalt *MAKE ME* to know wisdom.

My friend, note: in Job 33 *MADE ME* and Psalm 51..*MADE ME* The first breath made me, the second breath the union of heaven and earth, brought me forth in to the house of G-D as a son of G-D. A child that seeks the Creator....for G-D looks down on the children of men to see those if any who seek Him.

And George my friend, Barak had no problem in acknowledging Deborah as a woman with a mission, why would you? Was she not of G-D'S calling?

It is written...Jeremiah 31...How long wilt thou go about backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.

Did you know, have you heard, what G-D has done...over time in all the generations that have been contained in time... Time, does not contain our G-D....when he speaks it is for the past now and what is to come....the first and the last is his name. Jer. 31...Behold, the day-sssss cooooom, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

We are not seeded with beast.....G-D says....and he is our creator of our DNA is he not?

It is written Ecclesiastes 3...I said in mine heart, G-D shall judge the rightous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, (not the sons of G-D that put sin out)..that G-D might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beast. For that which befalleth the sons of men befallth beast; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all ONE BREATH; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

Miriam Chartier Sun. Jan 3, 2010

I was in my last year in high school, Vietnam was the war right or wrong for us as a nation, G-D will jugde. Do woman battle war yes, the mothers the sisters the friends that are lost to them, so young so miserable dead, it is they who will never hold their loves ones again. My first love left and asked me to wait...He died and two years later the next boy, asked me to wait and he is missing in action, now the third boy I married and he came back a broken man, who died, and left two sons. I have cryed tears that haven fallen so deep, that only G-D could wipe away.

I believe, that when they went in, their hearts they knew, they might give their life.....war did not take them....they gave freely. And for the love in my heart, I will not say war took them....they gave....becouse of the love in there hearts for all they loved in their country. I cry now, war come forth from your hidding place and face me. War, comes upon a peaceful nation,remembering 911, G-D saved my sons, and we need to cry to G-D, O LORD, the G-D who avenges, O G-D who avenges shine forth, Ps.94), for it is written he is dressed for battle... It is written.Ex.15.The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name. I am my fathers daughter, is it not written....Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war. Psalm 144 And is it not written...He covers my head in the day of battle.. I make war on sin for this is the war that brings us eternal death.

My battle cry...to our Sovereign LORD Almighty...The LORD has opened his arsenal and brought out the weapons of His wrath, for the Sovereign LORD Almighty has work to do in the land of the Babylonians. it is written in Jeremiah 50.




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