Perhaps I am certifiably insane. At least paranoid. I’ve started to feel that the whole world is my enemy. Or at least the part of the world that I’m connected to. I look around and there are others who share my angst. Are they also crazy?
Or is the world itself crazy, and we normal? That’s what I really believe. But, then again, that’s how crazy people think. So who knows?
Providing I’m of sound mind, I just can’t get my head around Obama, the UN vote, Bibi, and, of course, Trump. I’m also not so sure I wouldn’t get into a rousing argument with some of the settlers. Some, not all.
Let me backtrack. The settlers first. I don’t consider anyone who lives in what Israel calls Jerusalem to be a settler. I know those boundaries have changed over the years. Our family lived in French Hill for a while. That’s a territory according to the UN. Not to me. It’s Jerusalem proper along with Talpiot, Ramat Eshkol and many of the other no longer young and new neighborhoods. We lived there in the early 70’s. Safe to say Israel’s feet are on that ground. And that’s ground that was earned in blood,Jewish blood. Our home was not far from Givat Hatachmoshet, Ammunition Hill, on Sderot Eshkol. And also quite near the busy bus stop on the corner of Derech Shechem, scene of numerous fatal terrorist attacks through the years. Jerusalem city of peace, was always ours forever, and it shall remain ours forever. The only times that our people ever left was when they were forced to. And even then, we prayed towards Jerusalem, as we do until this day. And we yearned for her. As we do until this day. One of the few things that all Jews agree to is that Jerusalem will remain a Jewish city.
Our modern history shows us that when the Arabs were caretakers of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, they destroyed and vandalized her holy sites. Those are ours and we won’t give them back.
Nonetheless many many Palestinian Arabs also live in Jerusalem They have access to their holy sites. They are citizens of the State of Israel. Some are active in the government. They share the city, largely in peace and tranquility.
But the settlers in other places are going to have to argue their case with the government, not with me. I have such ambivalence. I understand their position that Judea and Samaria, the West Bank in common parlance, have always been Jewish. I go to shul and read the Tanach every Shabbat and read recently, as we do every year, about Hebron and Qiryat Arba. We hallow the grave of our matriarch Rachel whose kever is there, a place of Jewish pilgrimage, in a largely hostile neighborhood. Rachel is laid to rest in an area with relatively few Jews. The local non Jewish population also needs a place to call home. And if Jewish settlement there expands, there will only be more killing. Is that what Rachel would have wanted?
The truth on the ground is that the West Bank is largely populated by Palestinians. Maybe it is provocative to settle small Jewish communities there and make the Palestinians feel unwanted in their own homes, with their grape arbors and fields and farms and goats and sheep. And colleges. And mosques. And offices. And medical practices. And schools.
On the other hand, the Palestinians have not always been good neighbors. Terrorism. Indoctrinating children in school. Making obscene acts of violence into acts of heroics. Honoring the killers.
Of course not all of them are violent. Most are not. But there have been too many innocents killed in the name of Palestinian freedom, Israeli innocents, for Israel to endure. So fences have been built. And other unpleasant challenges to Palestinian liberty have been instituted. Border checks and security checks. What to do? What to do?
The feeble claim that the return of land will bring peace, however, is easily disavowed. Before 1967 the Palestinians had the land they now crave. They used those porous borders to attack Israel repeatedly. Until June of 1967 when, in a mere six days, they lost it all. And then, years later, Israel returned Gaza, with its new startups and improved infrastructure, and thriving agriculture. And look what it’s like today.
We need the wisdom of a Solomon to choose the right path. So far it has not been found. So there are endless arguments between Jews, and Arabs, and governments throughout the world and the UN. Even, as reported here, in utter simplicity, the solutions are evasive.
What carries more weight? History and attachment to a land that was only left under duress? Or feet on the ground? Millions of lives depend on the wisdom to solve this issue. Luckily it’s not my job!
So now we go to Bibi. I understand his quandary. But, really there’s no need to be provocative and to announce new settlements or expanding settlements so reliably and regularly. I wouldn’t want his job and he’s obviously doing it well enough to satisfy enough Israelis so that he’s repeatedly reelected. But, come on! Less is more. Each announcement is a political hot potato. Cool off. Look for resolution.There needs to be a two state solution. What else can be done with millions of non-Jews living in the Jewish homeland? There is no doubt that there will be two states in the future so the time to launch the peace is now. Really!
The UN doesn’t deserve any praise or nuance. They are despicable and deplorable……and anti-Semitic. I regret that the United States is their chief funder. It’s wasted money. They ignore horrific criminal governments and only mobilize their rhetoric to argue against Israel. I wish them the fate of the League of Nations. Now.
Obama doesn’t like Bibi. And I’m not so sure he likes Jews either. Clearly, he stabbed us in the back this time and one can only hope that his betrayal will never be forgotten. We, many of us, did forget Roosevelt’s betrayal. Let’s not be sanguine about Obama’s.
And Trump. Well, his instincts are always all wrong. He just may bring us to the brink of war in Israel. And if not war, then surely increased security risks and attempts at violence. Be wary of a man who has so much confidence in his own ignorance.
These are scary times. Here’s a toast to 2017 and a fervent wish that things in our world get better. Right now we’re on the precipice.