Historic Stain Called Settlements

Three generations. By now, it’s three generations of Jews living in ghettos endorsed and enforced by other Jews.

That’s calling a spade a spade.

And, it’s a disgusting spade. It’s a spade which will go down in history as a huge stain on the Jewish people. And, an even larger stain on humanity.

The year: 2018. The number: 600,000. Grandparents, parents and infants living behind rows upon rows of concertina wire, military grade metal fences. Surrounded by armed towers. Patrolled 365 days a year by soldiers in army jeeps.

Three generations living, breathing, leading their lives in prisons — and accepting that as normal.

It is not normal.

What does it do to a child to be forced to wait for heavily secured transportation to ride to school? What does it do to children at night, when guns and rifles are the last things they see before falling asleep? What does it do to all the thousands of widows, bereaved parents and schoolmates when decade after decade the death and injury numbers just rise?

The writer of these lines does not live in the settlements. My primary contact is from consistent and many visits to family and friends who chose to make their home there.

Let these words ring out from this page, let anyone within whom the conscience of free men or women still breathes in their hearts.

Allowing these good people to live under those conditions is a stain that will haunt mankind for generations. 

It is unprecedented in the annals of history. And, it is unacceptable under any known accepted societal mores.

There will be those reading these lines who mechanically regurgitate the too-well circulated asinine anti-settlement propaganda. 

Which are all deceptive lies fueled by truism in human nature: Tell a lie big enough and long enough and people will believe it.

Departing from the pitiful path of today’s Israel defenders, we won’t dignify those conniving claims. Rather, we will follow the sagacious advice of old: Do not answer foolish claims, lest you yourself be viewed as foolish.

We will, however, call another spade a spade. The inhabitants of those incarcerated villages and cities are good people. There, we have said it. Political correctness aside. Things need to be said, things deserve to be clear.

For decades, that population has remained the finest, most admirable citizens that country has ever witnessed. Their ranks include commanders in every military unit. They pay exorbitantly high taxes, demanding mortgages and have built schools, factories and cities which are nothing but exemplary.

To aspire to their innate level of hospitality, generosity and optimism for life would befit any of us.

Despite the reality that we’re discussing large towns and mid-sized cities, inexplicably the term ‘settlements’ has stuck. Though they are doctors, engineers, accountants, teachers, social workers, moms and dads the term ‘settlers’ is still being used.

‘Settlements and settlers’ are no random terms. They’re designed and promulgated to delegitmate some of the finest most patriotic people in the world.

People who are willing to live and raise their children and grandchildren like animals in a zoo, and act as if it’s normal.

At some point in the conversation, the question arises: Considering all of the circumstances, what should be done?

My response is: These are two issues. What can be done, is one issue. But, first we must be absolutely clear, the conditions that three generations of human beings have undergone is morally unacceptable.

Do not talk to me about Iran. Do not talk to me about a million and one social issues.

It may not be popular. And, it may not be an issue today.

But, it should be.

The fact that Israel allows these people to live like that does not make it right. Allowing these people to live under those conditions is a stain on Jews, on Israel and on humanity.

We wait for a leader with the moral fiber to bring this up to the public debate. We wait for the public to make a moral stand. And, set these people free.

There is no excuse for allowing three generations to live behind barricades. These are the last people on earth living behind ghetto walls. They deserve to be free.

Rabbi Fishel Jacobs served as an officer, Major, in the Israel Prison Service for over a decade. He’s authored many best-selling books and is a speaker in demand worldwide.

About the Author
Rabbi Fishel Jacobs served as a major in the Israeli Prison Service and Chabad campus chaplain at Tel Aviv University. He's authored numerous bestselling books on practical Talmudic law and speaks worldwide.
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