Shame on us!

“Kol  omer kra, v’amar ma ekra” A voice says “cry out” and I say “what shall I cry?” (Isaiah 40)

It is incredible to believe ! It is shocking to believe! Have we gone completely mad altogether?

This week, in the midst of the fierce August heat, hundreds of young Arab children ran excitedly to their schools for the beginning of the new school year. And what they saw makes me feel ashamed of our government.

Children from kindergarten to fourth grade arrived to see what was left of their schools. They had been demolished. Nothing remained except for empty floors. A new school built only three weeks ago with funds from Norway was in total ruins. Bulldozed by our Israeli authorities on the ground that they had been built without “legal” permits.

And if permission had been requested for legal permits, our authorities would have found ways to deny them. Shame on us !

Children are now forced to learn in tents with chairs but no desks. One school which had solar panels to provide power was demolished and the solar panels dragged away by our soldiers.

Are we at war with Palestinian children? What have they done to us to deserve the deprivation of an education?

Reading 258 comments on the internet, each one condemned Israel. “Even Hitler did not demolish schools”, wrote one. “The children don’t have to learn hatred of Israel from their parents; they learn hatred from the Nazi Israeli Zionists”, wrote another.  258 comments, more to come, rightly, in my opinion, blaming us for this action.

The anti-Semites of the world do not have to fabricate tales about our “horrible” actions. They have only to see and read about them on their televisions and in their newspapers. And what does our hasbara authorities do to explain these actions? Nothing. Nothing that makes any sense.  Nothing that is believable.

We talk about peace. But there is no peace. And perhaps there will never be peace. Sadly, it is actions such as these school demolitions that keeps peace in the far distance.

Our sages have taught us “lo midrash ha-ikkar ela ha-maaseh”….. it is not what one says that is important, it is what one does.  Or to quote an English-language expression “actions speak louder than words”. We have the knowledge to speak good words but often..too often.. our actions do not match our words.

Arab mothers sit outside the tents in the heat, bringing bottles of water for their children to drink. The teachers seem to be doing their very best to cope and to provide these very young minds with positive thoughts. It is a very difficult task

. And it pains me to see young boys and girls from ages 5 to 10 sitting on the ground and holding their brand new school textbooks while crying because their school is no longer a school.

What would we Jews have said had the Poles, Lithuanian, German, or Hungarian Jew-haters destroyed the Jewish schools where young Jewish children came peacefully to learn?

How can we explain the actions of COGAT and our military authorities? How can we explain to the world why we have done what we have done?  “Illegal permits” is only a fictitious reason for demolishing schools. Politics is the actual reason.

Are there no voices in our Knesset, Cabinet, courts, which can be heard condemning these disgraceful acts?

I am a very proud Israeli citizen. But today, all I can say is “Shame on us”. Boosha v’cherpa !

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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