Friday, August 04, 2006

First You Give Your Life...Then They Tear Down Your House

Further to a post on Kesher Talk about Olmert's recent politically doltish pronouncement that he is going to proceed with realignment as soon as he can (irrespective of new security concerns or even popular consensus), there's an interesting piece in the Jerusalem Post discussing the background several of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comment that military success in the North could create momentum for his realignment plan was horrible.

It came just one day after tens of thousands of settlers and religious Zionists mourned the one-year anniversary of the "expulsion" from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.

At no other time of the year were religious Zionists so conscious of their tense relations with the Olmert government...

It also came less than a week after the death of Maj. Ro'i Klein, 31, who lived with his wife and two children in Eli, a settlement in Samaria. Klein died heroically by jumping on a Hizbullah grenade to take the brunt of the explosion, thus rescuing his fellow soldiers.

The Kleins lived in Eli's Yovel neighborhood.. on the Olmert government's list of "illegal outposts" slated for evacuation.

Rafi Ben-Bassat, vice chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council ... commented on the impact of Olmert's statement, saying: "First you die for your country and then, as a prize, they tear down your house."

Given the tenor of Tony Blair's recent comments in LA, one can hypothesize that Olmert's political misjudgement was in part a down payment in return for Blair's extraordinary support.
Unless we re-appraise our strategy, unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win.
No doubt Olmert still feels committed to this policy, though it seems obvious, before any implementation, there first needs to be security reassessments in light of the method of Hezbollah's entrenchment in Lebanon. One hardly feels that access to such munitions will be limited only to Hezbollah in the future, especially now that an alliance exists between Hamas and Hezbollah. Moreover, remember the arms shipment in Karine A.

More from the original article:
Lt. Amihai Merhavia, also of Eli, was killed in the same Bint Jbail battle. Merhavia, active in the movement for Greater Israel, was dismissed from the IDF's 51st Battalion for writing a letter to the chief of General Staff expressing his opposition to the disengagement plan. Merhavia was also beaten unconscious during a demonstration against uprooting the Gilad Farm outpost.

But Merhavia struggled, with the help of officers who knew and respected him, to be reinstated in his battalion.

Olmert's statement gave the impression that he is either oblivious or callous to the tremendous internal conflict experienced by soldiers like Merhavia and Klein, both students of the religious premilitary Academy in Eli, and hundreds of additional religious Zionist young men currently fighting in the North.

These young men have been taught by their rabbis to serve the Jewish people wholeheartedly and unselfishly, even if they must give up their lives. They have been taught that the State of Israel is holy because it is the vehicle for realizing the first steps toward redemption, which includes the ingathering of the exiles.

But at the same time many of these young men are still spiritually devastated by the traumas of the Gush Katif and North Samaria expulsions. These expulsions seem to contradict the gradual forward-moving process of redemption.

Somehow these soldiers must compartmentalize their feelings. They must somehow separate their dismay at the misuse of the IDF as a force for evacuating Jews from their homes - instead of a force for destroying our enemies - from the loyalty and pride they have in a Jewish state that is the best guarantee against destruction of the Jewish people.


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