10 August 2008

Three Years After the Expulsion of Jews from Gush Qatif, Hope of Redemption Arises from Tragedy


Copyright © 2008, R. Kossover
First published at Blogcritics Magazine

8 August, 2008 - 7 Av, 5768

It was three years ago this Tish'a b'Av that the units of the Israel Police and the IDF destroyed 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria in what the Israel government called hehitnatkút m'áza – the "disengagement" from Gaza. A total of 10,000 citizens were driven from their homes, and today the majority of them still live in temporary housing, where they are internal refugees, scorned by the government that had lured them to military bases in the Gaza Strip, promised them homes in Gaza, and then, after two decades, destroyed their lives.

Because I lived in Israel at the time, I did not notice how this was covered by the international media. I only knew that this was a tragedy in the making, an act that was a sin against the people who lived in Gaza and northern Samaria, and a sin against the G-d of Israel, and that ultimately the punishment for this would be heavy.

I was right on all counts.

The flight from Gaza was looked upon by the Arabs living there as a signal to begin the bombardment of the kibbutzim near Gaza that had stood against the Gush Qatif residents, as well as the villages, cities and towns in "Green Line" Israel that are near the Gaza strip.

The failure of the government to use bunker busters to destroy homes and hospitals in Gaza when the Arabs started to bombard Green Line Israel, taught the Arabs that the government in Israel was composed of irresolute fools and gutless cowards who, unlike the Arab guerrillas and terrorists, did not have the guts to do more than send "signals" to the Arab enemy.

It gave a clear signal to the HizbAllah, and its Iranian sponsors in the north, that Israel would not really fight if attacked. They did attack, and although our soldiers fought with the bravery of lions, their commanders and the leaders of the country proved themselves to be like bananas, yellow on the outside and squishy on the inside. And the "government," the civilian administrators in the northern third of the country, ran away from the rocket bombardment like so many rats into a sewer.

Is it Divine punishment that the man who had orchestrated this tragedy wound up completely paralyzed by a stroke, artificially kept alive to satisfy the ambitions of his successors – and presently rots like a tomato? It was the lives of tomato growers he destroyed, amongst others. Is it Divine punishment that the nation that pressured Israel to kick out its own citizens from its homes was to see ten times as many of its own citizens kicked out of their own homes in a storm that effectively destroyed New Orleans at the same time? I leave the reader to ponder this, but in my mind there is no doubt that Divine justice is being handed out.

There is one escape from Divine justice. It is called repentance of one's sins. Heretofore, nobody, but nobody, was willing to say in public, after having been part of this sin against the Jewish people and the G-d of Israel, "I was wrong. I sinned – I am sorry."

Until yesterday.

Arutz Sheva reported that a Female Soldier Asks Forgiveness of Gush Qatif Expellees.

The young member of a left wing kibbutz, which are generally known for hostility to Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, asked forgiveness of the people she expelled. She described the town of K'far Darom in the following words:
We entered Kfar Darom. This was the first time I was in Gush Katif. I saw that it looked just like a Kibbutz - large lawns, very nice one-floor houses. I had always thought that 'settlers' meant caravans and poverty, but suddenly I saw how beautiful the place was...
She had always been fed propaganda about what evil people "the settlers" were. Face to face with them, she discovered that "the settlers" were human beings after all. Not only that, but they were an awful lot like her.

Kibbutzniks have a powerful work ethic, and it is evident from her words that she was being ordered to do something that goes against the grain of any kibbutznik – destroy a prosperous and successful enterprise. So, it should not surprise anyone that she had a lot of trouble doing what she was ordered to do. So did a lot of other soldiers and policemen and women. After she left, she was probably debriefed, to make sure she would not commit suicide, as did many soldiers who participated in this sinful action. And perhaps, she actually was convinced for a time that what she did was tragic, but necessary.

But the events of the last two years, when Arab terrorists continually attacked Israeli towns abutting the Gaza Strip; when HizbAllah bombarded Israel, even though the country's soldiers were able to blunt the defeat to some degree, America prevented Israel from making it impossible for this to recur; the failure of the government to provide any kind of restitution for the residents of the north, let alone the expellees from Gush Qatif; the flinty refusal of the government of Israel to really protect its citizens in the face of all this; all these events, one after another in the last months, must have given the young woman pause.

What she has done, a soldier showing decency and conscience where her superiors have shown none, was an act that took a certain amount of courage. It should also be borne in mind that for the present, for her own reasons, she has done this with a certain amount of anonymity. However, she is not really anonymous in her act. There is a photo of her in the article, and it will take the Shaba"k, the Secret Police, little time to find out who she really is.

In spite of all this, it is a beginning.

Her words, repeated below, are a slap in the face to the traitors who sit on Government Hill, plotting the ruination of this country and their own escape. They are proof that the days of the State – an institution that refuses to apologize for its sins against G-d – are numbered.
Three years is not a short time, and things should have straightened out already. But year after year we see that this is not the case. I'm very ashamed to look these people in the eyes. I am ashamed that I represented the values of the State, while the State forgot these values.
I feel that I was part of a terrible injustice that was done to these people - an injustice that, looking backwards, was not necessary, in my opinion, and with no real [positive] results, only negative ones.

May G-d bless this girl and make her an outrider of the future, filling out our land with nashím Hayalót – women of valor.