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Last week, during the soccer match between Beitar-Jerusalem and Sakhnin, the Arab Sakhnin fans attacked the Jewish fans of Beitar, threw stones at them, and brutally assaulted them. The Israeli police were present in the stadium, but they did not lift a finger to defend the Jews against the Arab pogromists. An article by Avi Ashkenazi and Moran Katz in NRG-Maariv from January 10 confirms this, and calls the police nonintervention in Arab riots as "the hands in the pockets procedure" -- policemen stand on the side and watch. The article explains that this ensues from the trauma of the police from the Arab riots in Galilee in October 2000. After the Or Commission issued its conclusions, cases were opened by the Department for the Investigation of Officers (Mahash) against scores of Northern District policemen and officers. Due to the trauma caused by the opening of cases, many policemen "are afraid to become entangled with disturbances of public order, and -- above all -- they are afraid of finding themselves before a commission of inquiry and having to explain why they engaged in violence or took steps to disperse demonstrations."
All of this applies for demonstrations by Arabs, but when this is a group of Jewish youth, Eretz Israel loyalists, who are defending a Jewish home established on Jewish land, when they nonviolently try to prevent, with their bodies the demolition of a house, the police don't have to think twice: they have a seal of approval, from the highest levels, to beat, to drag, to break bones, to use clubs -- and this week they decided to cross a red line: in the operation to destroy a house in Neveh Daniel North, Israel's police used gas against peaceful Jews who were closed within a building in a closed chamber. The associations this raises for all of us are chilling. Where are the condemnations by the director of Yad Vashem? Where is the outcry by Holocaust survivors? It is intolerable that gas is used in the State of Israel against Jews whose only "crime" is protesting against the destruction of Jewish homes.
The police violence in Neveh Daniel exceeded all bounds. Not only did they use their fists and clubs, smashing the head of a child with a rifle butt, and tear gas, they even used pepper spray, directly into the eyes of their targets. And the forces of evil promise that this is only the beginning: it was related in a Kol Yisrael news report that the police plan to use against the settlers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, "means for the dispersal of demonstrations the likes of which have not been seen in the past." This undoubtedly refers to sadistic means such as rubber bullets, salt bullets, and horses, and who knows what else the feverish minds of the self-hating Jews in the police are planning for us.
If we want this to stop, once and for all, we must learn from the Arabs in Galilee: to act in such a way that we will deter the police, who will prefer to stand on the side, "with their hands in their pockets." As the NRG-Maariv article quotes: "The Deputy Commander of the Galilee District, Commander Yoram Malul, who commanded the forces in Sakhnin: 'At some stage I gave orders to the policemen in the stadium, but I saw that they were not obeying. They simply didn't move.'" That is, the phenomenon of refusing orders does exist among the police! But it is only an Arab public that deters them, in both the legal and public realms. We must reach the same level. We must ignite a firestorm, in the Israeli and foreign media, about the security forces' even daring to think that they are allowed to use tear gas against our children and to beat them so fiercely. We must show our rage and anger.
We must defend our youth, like every mother lion when hostile elements attack her cubs. We must not let this go unchallenged. Every rabbi, every teacher, every parent in our camp must take a few minutes a day and make telephone calls and send faxes in protest to the offices of the Police Inspector-General, the Minister of Internal Security, the editorial offices of the media, the human rights organizations, the Knesset members, the Chief Rabbinate, and who knows who else. Letters of condemnation must be organized in every community in Israel and abroad. In every settlement of Judea & Samaria in which pinot hamot (soldier refreshment stands) have been set up, they should be closed for a single day, with a sign on the door: "Closed in protest against the violence by soldiers and police directed against our children. The pinah hamah will reopen tomorrow, and we will be happy to host members of the security forces who do not participate in the expulsion of Jews and do not attack our children." Every local council head must pick up the telephone to the Inspector-General and "read him the riot act." Every settlement must aid the youth to file personal complaints against violent policemen and soldiers. Enough of the silence of the lambs!
And now, for the good news: although the expulsion and destruction forces succeeded in demolishing a single structure in Neveh Daniel, the real success was ours. The authorities simply did not anticipate such determined and massive opposition in "moderate" Gush Etzion. In the morning they came with a bulldozer and a few soldiers and policemen. They thought that after the disgraceful disaster in Gush Katif, we can be tossed out of any place without resistance. But despite the extremely short warning, more than three hundred young people came, from Gush Etzion, Efrat, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and even from the hills of Samaria. It was simply a wonderful sight, of youth broadcasting an unequivocal message: You did not break us this summer. To the contrary! We learned from the mistakes of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Never again will we dance with or embrace the expulsion forces.
In Neveh Daniel, Haggai Segal received an answer to the question that he asked in an article in Mekor Rishon a week ago, entitled "Enough of Despair." Segal addresses the settler public, and asks if the right is determined to raise a white flag, or whether it will recover at the last moment?
quote:"Most of the settlers are still in mourning for Gush Katif, occupied with their sackcloth and fasting. It is difficult to find even a spark of optimism, not to speak of a fighting spirit. The sole message that emerges from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and from the right-wing parties is weeping and wailing.
Segal ends his column with the questions:
"Is anyone in the right properly organizing for a struggle against the next disengagement? Where is the orange youth? Is anybody listening? Hello?"
I agree with Segal's analysis. Unquestionably, a considerable part, if not the majority, of the adult settlers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza suffer from profound despair, and it is extremely difficult to organize them from anew for the impending battles. But, in my humble opinion, the despair in our camp is not a consequence of the crime of expulsion itself and the fact that the forces of evil succeeded in their mission of destroying Gush Katif and northern Samaria and handing over the territory to the Arab enemy. Rather, this despair results from the awareness that our camp presumably lacks true leadership that is desirous of really struggling, as every other sector of the population would do when faced with decrees of destruction and ruin.
After this summer, when the entire national camp awaited words of inspiration and encouragement from those who profess to be our leaders, we saw the film by Rino Zeror on Channel Two, and we were horrified! In this film, we clearly see the leaders of Moetzet Yesha (the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) and certain rabbis, actively collaborating with the expulsion forces: embracing the policemen, trying to restrain the youth, and coordinating with the police the break-in to the synagogue in Neveh Dekalim, while the girls inside were engaged in heartrending prayer. After Zeror's film, we have received more and more information about the collaboration by those who were supposed to lead us. The frosting on the cake was the "sulha" (reconciliation) by the heads of Moetzet Yesha with Sharon.
Quote: "They aren't angry any more. The leaders of the settlers hurried yesterday to forgive Prime Minister Sharon for the evacuation of settlements. "Sharon's contribution to the settlements is bigger than the damages of the disengagement," they say!!! (NRG-Maariv, January 6, 2006).
Something like this can certainly drive an entire public to despair. With unsuccessful leaders like these, we can already start packing everywhere. With leaders like these, what is the point of struggling? In any event, they will make deals and aid the expellers to carry out their designs!
But here comes the good news. As our Rabbis teach us: "In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man" (Avot 2:5). Our youth understood this, and translated this teaching as follows: "In a place where there are no leaders, strive to be a leader." The youth understood that the time has come to cleanse the stain of the dances and the embraces, and to show the right path. The path is that, from now on, we must struggle for every hill, for every home, for each and every grain of the Land of Israel that they want to take from us.
Those hundreds of youth who established the dozens of meahazim (outpost settlements) during Sukkot and Hanukkah, together with their friends and acquaintances from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and from "little Israel," rushed to Neveh Daniel and, for eight hours, defended a single small structure. In the summer, it took the forces of evil eight hours to eliminate an entire settlement. If this is what happened in Neveh Daniel, in "mamlakhti [statist] and moderate" Gush Etzion -- which we hope is no longer such, then we can be optimistic that, with G-d's help, our camp will emerge from its despair and depression, raise its head, and stop letting the forces of evil spit in its face and trod on it.
We adults must take a stand with our wonderful youth, participate with it in its struggles, and help it both with money and materially, and, with G-d's help, we will stop the evil decrees. A good friend of mine, a deportee from Neveh Dekalim, heard about our struggles in Gush Etzion and told me: "Nadia, promise me that you won't have a leadership of wimps -- really struggle!" My dear friend, I hope that we can give you the good tidings that we have stopped being wimps. We have stopped being naive regarding certain leaders. Not only will we struggle for every place in Judea and Samaria, we will continue to struggle in order to return to the places from which we were deported and, with G-d's help, we will reestablish Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
And who knows -- if we demonstrate determination, loyalty, and faith in the justness of our cause, we might finally be joined by thousands of Beitar-Jerusalem soccer fans, a considerable portion of whom are with us ideologically, and together, with G-d's help, we will save the people of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the Torah of Israel from the decrees of destruction and ruin.
Ruth and Nadia Matar established Women For Israel's Tomorrow
(Women in Green), an activist group of women based in Jerusalem. Their
website address is http://www.womeningreen.org
This essay was submitted January 15, 2006.
Ruth and Nadia Matar established Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green), an activist group of women based in Jerusalem. Their website address is http://www.womeningreen.org This essay was submitted January 15, 2006.
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