Friday, July 21, 2006

be strong and resolute

I read a book a couple of months ago called Dispatches from an Anxious State, by Daniel Gordis.  He was an American Jew who moved to Israel a few years ago.  This book is a collection of emails he wrote to family and friends, eventually some of them making it to the New York Times.  He's written a couple of other books as well, and he also continues to periodically post these dispatches on his website.     Here are some exerpts from the latest dispatch, today.

That small block of Haifa, with its shattered shell of a building,
rubble all along the street, citizens dazed as they wandered about
looking at it all, appeared to be exactly what it was – a war zone.

And yet, the people in the street stayed near their homes, going
nowhere. The newscaster asked them why they didn’t go somewhere else,
where it might be safer. One man answered with statistics. “Why leave
now? We’ve already been hit. The chances of us being hit again are one
in a million.” To which another man responded almost with outrage.
“What do numbers have to do with it?” he asked. And then, he turned to
the camera, almost screaming, pointed to the broken building, and said,
“This is our home. Mi-po ani lo zaz. From here, I am not budging. And
he repeated his refrain over and over again. “This is my home. And from
here, I am not budging.” Mi-po ani lo zaz.

Israelis understand what this is. This is a war over our homes. Over
our homes in the north, for now, but eventually, as the rockets get
better and larger, all of our homes. This is not about the territories.
This is not about the “occupation.” This is not about creating a
Palestinian State. This is about whether there will be a state called

.....................Now, the bitter reality of which Israel’s right wing had warned about
all along is beginning to settle in. It is not lost on virtually any
Israelis that the two primary fronts on which this war is being
conducted are precisely the two fronts from which we withdrew to
internationally recognized borders. We withdrew from Gaza, despite all
the internal objections, hoping to move Palestinian statehood – and
peace – one step closer. But all we got in return was the election of
Hamas, and a barrage of more than 800 Qassams that they refused to end.
And then they stole Gilad Shalit {one of the kidnapped soldiers}. Not from Gaza. Not from some
contested no man’s land. From inside the internationally recognized
borders of Israel. As if to make sure that we got the point – “There is
no place that you’re safe. There is no place to which we won’t take
this war. You can’t stay here.”

Because as much as we have wanted to believe otherwise, they have
no interest in building their homeland. They only care about destroying

....................And which is why this incredibly divided and divisive society has
rallied so monolithically around a Prime Minister who until last week
wasn’t terribly popular, and around a war that may or may not
accomplish all its military objectives. It explains why, even as the
air raid sirens go off across the country, and may eventually start
their wail in Tel Aviv, too, as people dash across streets, panicked,
trying to find the nearest bomb shelter, no one complains about the
government. No one’s complaining about the amount of time it’s taking
the air force to put a stop to this. It explains why all over this
city, advertisements on bus stops have been replaced with a photo of an
Israeli flag and the phrase Chazak Ve-ematz – “be strong and resolute”
(Moses’ words to Joshua in Deut. 31:7)..................

....................It’s sad, because deep down, people are starting to wonder. Would going
there be the only way to get beyond their hate? We got out of Lebanon.
We left Gaza. Olmert was elected after he openly declared his intention
to give back the majority of the West Bank. But without intending to,
we called their bluff. And now we know: the issue isn’t their
statehood. It’s ours..........................

..........................It’s the eighth war, or the ninth. But it isn’t the last war. It’s the
first war, all over again. We’ve got this war for the same reason that
we had all the others. We have this war for the same reason that people
in Haifa are still saying mi-po ani lo zaz. We got this war for the
same reason that we got the first, and the second.

We know why they attacked then. And we know why they’re still
attacking. And we’re determined to hold on for the same reason that
they’re so determined never to stop. There’s one reason, and one reason

The Jewish People has no where else to go.

1 comment:

  1. Very good article! I'll look for more. Thanks for stopping by my blog! And I know what you mean about the princess thing! :-)


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