Monday, June 8, 2009

Feels Like Purim in June.....

Everything is so upside down, it reminds me of Purim. Here we are, a peaceful, democratic people, bending over backwards to have peace with our neighbours. Our enemy, constantly attacking our innocent civilians, demanding control of most of our land. (Only with the help of G-d have many of these attacks been unsuccessful.) Along comes an ‘unbiased’ mediator, and insists that the only way to ensure peace in our region is to hand over our land. Hypothetical comparison; if a terrorist bombed Obama’s neighbourhood, would he insist that they all better pack up and move to Alaska in order to maintain peace? A humorous Purim spiel no doubt!

According to news reports, the Obama administration will soon be pressuring Israel to withdraw from positions held prior to 2000, to dismantle cities and towns built over the years. Something is terribly wrong with this picture! Where in any psychology book does it say that the way to chastise a criminal is by giving him what he wants, to reward him for his corruption? Pretending to entertain the idea, where exactly do they expect thousands upon thousands of Israeli residents to live? And are we to just stop having children in order to prevent natural growth of our communities? Even if, in someone’s twisted mind, they thought this would accomplish something… been there, done that. It’s been almost 4 years since more than 3,000 Israeli citizens from Gush Katif were forcefully removed from their homes by the Sharon-Olmert government in a bid to make peace with the arabs. This land we vacated for ‘the greater good’ was supposed to give the arabs some hope and dignity. Instead of growing crops and building industrial and commercial parks for employment, it became a hotbed of terrorism where terrorist training camps, weapons factories and tunnels blossomed. Instead of any kind of reciprocal peace gesture, we had to bear the brunt of daily barrages of rockets into our southern towns. In this backwards, upside down playing field of the Middle East, even self-defense needs justification.

The comparison to Purim is even more striking as, like Haman’s scheme of old, the end game today is total obliteration of the Jews. The threat is not just to the south or the north of our G-d given country… it is the whole tiny little spec of our Holy Land which is in peril. Like the Purim story, we must start acting like Esther and Mordechai and begin to put The Master of the Universe at the top of the equation. We must understand that He is our only salvation. May HaShem grant our Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the strength and wisdom to make the right decisions for our people.

Only when we begin to act like a light unto the nations will we merit being one.

A Rude Awakening

I always considered myself very open-minded and a person who accepted everyone, regardless of race, colour or religion. I grew up in a small town with very few Jewish families so most of my friends were not Jewish. Because of this, when we made aliyah in the summer of 1992, I couldn’t imagine being anything but open to peace with our Arab neighbours.

Israel signed the Declaration of Principles with the PLO on September 13, 1993. No one with any understanding of the political situation would have given this any credence, but the media played it up in grand style. Still naive, I too had hopes that it may prove successful. But the ink had barely dried on the paper when the terrorist attacks intensified. Random shootings, knifings and suicide bus bombings became a common occurrence.

Then, a little over a year later an incident occurred which bore deep into my heart and soul. A 19 year old soldier, Nachshon Wachsman z’l, was kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas terrorists. After nearly a week, an ultimatum was given with a 24 hour deadline of Friday, October 13th. Uniting together with thousands of others from around the world, we prayed for his safe release. On Friday night, as per a request from Nachshon’s mother, Esther, we lit a candle for him. In his merit, many Shabbat candles were lit that may not have been otherwise. I fell asleep that Shabbat night with Nachshon on my mind and I dreamed that I saw him floating above the Old City of Jerusalem. It was only when I awoke and heard the sad news did I realize what my dream meant. Even with no radio or TV on Shabbat, this report somehow made its way to us all…. Nachshon Mordechai Wachsman (as well as another Israeli soldier) had been murdered by his captors during a failed rescue attempt.

This was the beginning of my realization that peace with the enemy was out of reach. Less than a week later, October 19, 1994, a suicide bus bombing in Tel Aviv claimed the lives of 22 precious souls and injured 75 others. From the signing of the ‘agreement’ on September 13th 1993 until September 2000, 269 civilians and soldiers were murdered in terrorist attacks in Israel. The existence of such monsters was indeed a rude awakening for me. What kind of human beings could be so hateful and heartless? These events could no longer be viewed as arbitrary. Something of this magnitude can only be orchestrated by a power greater than mankind itself.

The Jewish people merit to dwell in the land because of their Covenant with G-d. One imperative obligation which binds us to this Covenant is ‘You Shall Keep the Sabbath’. If we fail on our end of the agreement, how can we expect HaShem to sit idly by? These wake-up calls are but a ‘love tap’ from a Father who loves us. HaShem is trying to shake us up yet so many do not hear the message. We are all one people, yet we are all guilty of so many sins against our own; this one judging that one and that one judging the other. The only solution is to be united and live our lives according to G-d’s word, and in so doing, He will have reason to protect us and save us.

May we all merit HaShem’s loving mercy…..