Sunday, November 06, 2005

We Will Forgive

As someone who was extremely opposed to the disengagement plan, I feel it is my responsibility to respond to a new ideological wave that is spreading in the Religious Zionist movement. This wave promotes separation from the state which it deems unfit to be the Jewish State and encourages steps towards the creation of a new order which will be, of course, religious. Of course, we all pray for the time of the Mashiach where all Jews will follow halacha. However, is the right way to get to that time to separate ourselves from our Jewish Brothers and force them into that time period or to work from within and inspire the people around us? Traditionally, the religious zionist movement has preferred the second option. However, after the disengagement plan, many people in this sector feel betrayed by their brothers and now yell a slogan which promotes separation: "Lo Nishka'h, Lo Nisla'h" (We will not Forget, We Will Not forgive) It is specifically this slogan which motivated me to write this response.

The first obvious question is: Why has their been such a sudden shift in the ideology of this part of the religious zionist sector? Why did they not feel betrayed when the governments of Israel have done many other irreligious or even antireligious things. We all still remember the yeminite babies, the cutting of the peyot. However, what we said then is that these people are still our brothers and while many of their actions are horrible, many are also messianic and therefore we must work with them. What changed now? The thing that changed is that many people in the religious zionist sector have slowly become
chareidi when it comes to erets israel. It's ok to be mechalel shabbat but if you touch erets israel, you deserve to die. This is not only wrong but it is also completely baseless and illogical. If someone wants to be chareidi, at least be consistent with your ideology and be chareidi in every aspect!

Now, let’s think about why disengagement happened. There are hundreds of reasons for disengagement. What I will therefore do is remind the religious Zionist public of some reasons that they often forget: The reason disengagement happened is because the secular Jews in Israel did not care about Gaza. The reason they did not care about Gush Katif was because we, the religious Zionist public, did not convince them to care. It was our responsibility and we failed! It is, partly, our fault. Rav Motty Elon said once that if we had not left the synagogues of Tel Aviv and separated ourselves in communities of only religious people while these synagogues were becoming places for people to sell drugs, then we, the religious zionist community, would not be looked at as "crazy settlers" but rather as normal people with ideology. Then, our ideology would have been much easier to communicate. Now, the proposed solution that some people have is further seperation. Do you fight darkness with darkness? No! You fight Darkness with light! Our response for disengagement should be Love, Chesed etc.. Everyone should volunteer some time to the secular communities, help out the needy there, make the religious zionist community part of the Israeli people not separate!

Of course, the people in Chutz Laarets who violently oppose disengagement have another paradox to deal with. If there were enough Jews in Israel, Sharon would not have been able to use the demographic argument in order to give back Gaza. We would still have Gush Katif. If the Jews of North America had made aliyah, we might still be dancing on the beaches of Gush Katif for succot. So, when something which partly causes a disaster criticizes a disaster, it is a bit of a problem.

The only message I want to give in this post is that we are separated enough as we are. We need to start working on rebuilding our ties. And for this, we need to start with smart leadership which has smart slogans. If our slogan stays "We will not forget we will not forgive", our ties will never be rebuilt. Our slogan should be "Lo Nishka'h, Ve Lo Nishla'h Et Atsmenu, Aval Nishla'h et Ahenu" We Will Not forget, We will not Forgive Ourselves, but we Will forgive our brothers. We Will not Forget - the beautiful communities of Gush Katif, the beautiful beaches, the beautiful farms, the great food, the great synagogues, the great people, the great kedusha. We Will not forgive Ourselves - For not doing enough in order to educate our brothers and make them understand how important and incredible Gush Katif was and how much it is essential to Israel. But we will forgive our brothers - For not knowing better, because that is partly our fault, and when we cause a problem, we cannot criticize it.

May Gush Katif be rebuilt soon in our times with the Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem.