Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shigrah vs. Gerush

Yom chamishi, 2 Av 5769.

Durng the battle for Gush Katif, there were differing opinions (surprise, surprise) on the best "battle plan."  Many of the citizens of the beleaguered settlement bloc argued on behalf of "shigrah" -- routine.  "If the government sees that their threats cannot stop us from living our normal lives, they will see that we are not intimidated.  We won't leave.  We will plant and harvest and go on as usual.  We will build.  We will have Torah scroll dedications, just like always."  Nadia Matar, one of the founders of Women for Israel's Tomorrow (dubbed by the MSM as "Women in Green") pointed out a small but glaring problem.

"Just remember that the root letters of "shigrah" (routine) and "gerush" (expulsion) are the same."

Nadia came to Neve Daniel at the request of Rebbetzin Geula Twersky, to speak to a group of interested community members.  She spoke with us casually, telling her personal history, the history of Women for Israel's Tomorrow, the history of the Oslo agreements, and the ongoing fight for a Jewish presence in Shdema.

When the Dearly Beloved and I first made aliyah, we went with Nadia to Shdema.  (He had been loyally supporting me as I wept at the computer since the early 1990s regarding the urgent angst over "the settlements."  It seemed only right to "put our money where our mouth is.") We followed Nadia the Conqueror down the road surrounded by Arab villages to Shdema...  and ended up sliding down (rather than going up) the hill in our beat-up old Kangoo...  smack into the military police.  This delayed their ascent, so that Nadia and her small group could make it up the hill.  Somehow, we were not arrested.  (How would we have explained THAT to the kids?)  Not having a weapon or a guide with us on our return, we took the road to Jerusalem, which we had heard was a shorter route past the Arab villages than the route we had come, with major trepidation.  Baruch Hashem, we made it home without incident.  But we decided we probably weren't cut out for on-site protesting.

Many months later, visits by Jews to Shdema are government-approved and IDF-supported.  However, as Nadia points out, the battle is not yet won.  This tiny piece of high ground is all that keeps the eastern part of Gush Etzion from being cut off from Jerusalem.  If it were to become Judenrein, only the Minharot (Tunnels) highway and the long way around Beit Shemesh/Ramat Beit Shemesh would connect the two sectors.  Bitter history has shown what happens when the Gush is isolated from Jerusalem.  Both areas become more vulnerable to attack.

Nadia asked us if we had noticed the white Oxfam signs going up in the Gush, as well as other activities that show EU and UN support for the "Palestinians'" efforts to claim land in this area by hastily planting and building in open areas.  Were we aware of the giant Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers present in the area, one of whose claims to fame was the destruction of houses and communites?  Did we know that the Arabs have succeeded in surrounding Shdema with building and planting, in their bid to drive us away from that strategic hilltop?

Our daily routine may be choking us.

The Dearly Beloved and I decided that our new routine, as we become more entrenched in our Land, is to take a more active stand against giving away chunks of it for elusive promises of peace, especially as the enemy keeps increasing hostilities.  So we will join our friends and neighbors in adding to the Jewish presence in Shdema.

Routine in Israel isn't like routine elsewhere in the world -- and here routine doesn't ever mean "mundane."  In Israel, routine means solving problems differently.  It means taking more time to do simple things, but for very good reasons.  It means remembering what the root letters are in the word "routine," and not becoming so complacent that the letters switch around to mean "expulsion." 

 P.S.  Keep in mind that there are other "outposts" that are holding ground for us in the Gush.  Between Elazar and Neve Daniel is the tiny fledgling community of Nezer, which will need to be supported if it is not to be destroyed. Our own Sde Boaz will also need our continued support.  Otherwise, it is of concern that the quiet war against the Jews of the Gush, being fought by the EU and the UN and others, will fill the areas between our small towns with Arab villages -- some of which are hostile toward our peaceful communities.  As I have expressed before, any neighboring Arabs who feel friendly toward us don't speak up against the violence.  So we can't know who they are.



THESE COMING TWO FRIDAYS WE HAVE A SPECIAL TREAT! In addition to our Hebrew program we added an ENGLISH PROGRAM IN SHDEMA! Make sure not to miss it!


10:30am-12:00 noon -- PANEL IN ENGLISH: "WE MADE ALIYA. WHAT NOW?" with RABBI MOSHE LICHTMAN, author  of Eretz Israel in the Parasha and translator of Eim Habanim Smeicha,resident of Bet Shemesh, RABBI YITZHAK AND GEULA TWERSKY from Neve Daniel, ZAHAVA ENGLARD from Efrat and SHARON KATZ, editor of VOICES, resident of Efrat, as moderator


9:30am-10:30am -- LECTURE IN ENGLISH by ITAMAR MARCUS, Director Palestinian Media Watch on: "FATAH AND HAMAS: Find the difference"

More details and short movies about the struggle for a Jewish Shdema can be found by clicking on:

The flyer with the entire program in 3 languages -- Hebrew, English and Russian -- can be found by clicking on:

We must point out that the upcoming Hebrew program is fascinating too and urge you to join.

Shdema is accessible by car. For bus transporatation please call Elisheva to reserve seats. 052-3003689


The Committee for a Jewish Shdema and Women in Green

for details: Nadia Matar 0505500834  Yehudit Katzover 0507161818


If you haven't seen Avi Abelow's excellent film, Home Game, or if you haven't seen it for a while, please read the information below, and watch the film for free:

To commemorate the 4th anniversary of the Gaza pullout, or expulsion as opponents call it, Home Game: The Movie is now available online for FREE during the "The Nine Days", which begins on July 22nd and ends with the close of the fast day of the 9th of Av that falls out on July 30th.

Watch the movie, forward it on to your friends, relatives and community lists and send us your feedback about this moving and important film:
Click here to watch Home Game today
Thie movie is  most appropriate activity for the 9 days, in general, and Tisha Ba'av specifically.

Oh, by the way... mazal tov on all the Arab weddings going on in my neighborhood lately.  (Is Av a particularly auspicious time for Arab weddings???)  We've been listening to "music" that sounds vaguely like jackals, and many weapons being fired, all for the sake of the Arab version of simcha.  Sometimes our communites overlap a bit.  Jameel at the Muqata shares the love.
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