Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Disengagement from the Rational

I wonder what great Power can create a mind fitted to the complex analysis and intellectual skepticism of Iyun learning, yet equally as capable of rejecting this mode of thought when it comes to Israeli politics. . . like a fashionable trend, the righteous indignation spread throughout the Yeshiva, compelling the socially aware to declare their disgust at Israel's soldiers and spout the propraganda already spinning around, and I quote, "the massacre."

An important clarification: I'm comfortable blaming the IDF for the Jew-on-Jew violence. I think ultimately the violence was their decision. The pictures and the blood send a frightening tingle up my spine- one that I worry will soon return.

What surprised me was the rationale, or more accurately, stupidity, behind the epidemic of opinion. Where came the irrevocable fact that "they were hitting us out of rage and hatred for Jewish settlers?" How can so many intelligent kids compare one day of 200 injuries to six years and six million? How can we equate a government seeking peace for Zion with a nation seeking our permanent destruction?

And how can we get away with it? Thank G-d, R' Elon yelled at the yeshiva for three hours- but despite his efforts, I don't feel comfortable speaking out in HaKotel. Judaism, as practiced today, has a dirty habit of infecting its social, political, and cultural mores with the religious significance that should be reserved for Halakha. R' Elon is special for many reasons, and the heat he takes for distancing himself from the Mercaz HaRav world on this issue only highlights the sad political-theological situation on the other side: where is the multi-faceted perspective, social conscience, and love affair with the Jewish people that Rav Kook represented? Along with G-d and Judaism as a whole, R' Kook's name is being hijacked to justify the current political minhag hamakom.

Sunday's rally at Kikar Zion was civil- but it missed the point. A protest against unnecessary police brutality is a noble show of universal values; woe that it became a color war between Israel's right wing and religious parties: who can pollute the most fliers, raise the largest banner, or boo every mention of Ehud Olmert with the most Haman-style intensity. Clearthinking Jews should not take their cues from 1984's hate hour; we ought to be above the propraganda and comfort in blind numbers that typifies . . . our Arab brethren across the checkpoint. If only it had been a rally against the violence, and not against left-wing politics, if only the demands for a formal police investigation weren't overshadowed by the anti-Kadima rhetoric, if only this had been the unifying, bridge-building, left-right-center dati-chiloni event it so rightly deserved to be . . . we could have witnessed an event not only unique, but effective. Something that would make the Israeli public take notice of our message, instead of see through our immaturity.

True, I feel for the injured bodies carried out of Amona- but I fear for the diseased minds. One can only hope that this great Power fashioned us so, as with the broken arms and bloody gashes, the coming weeks will see these intellectual wounds as they slowly fade away.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

what what yeah

Anonymous said...

What surprised me was the rationale, or more accurately, stupidity, behind the epidemic of opinion. Where came the irrevocable fact that "they were hitting us out of rage and hatred for Jewish settlers?" How can so many intelligent kids compare one day of 200 injuries to six years and six million? How can we equate a government seeking peace for Zion with a nation seeking our permanent destruction?
You noticed the problem- congratulations! Kids, who dont yet have the right to vote or borrow their parents cars, have taken over the entire protest project. Yes, they are intelligent in that they actively care about their future and the future of the state. But kids are chaser mashehu- the foresight and emotional straightjackets that I hope most adults have developed. I personally visited Amona and was horrified at some of the tactics they resorted to. This is just speculation: maybe adults would have formulated some more peacful and practical protests (although in the face of killer horses I doubt anyone would have remained calm) A loudspeaker was shouting "propoganda" like instructions, encouraging havoc- anything to slow the soldier's progress. Real violence was barely diverted- Next time- yes there might be a next time- stand up for what you believe in but violence between JEWS? nothing can justify that- read last weeks parsha alright?
(standing up nonviolently- that is what a blog is for!)

Tzarich Iyun said...

The problem is not underdeveloped bodies taking over national campaigns- it is a defect of underdeveloped minds. Kids can do better. Adults can do worse.

Gush Guy said...

Well, for starters I couldn't agree more with the authors sentiments on the Post Amona antics. I think, however, even more importantly, an evaluation of how such an action by the government has come to be popularly accepted in mainstream Israel is certainly in order. I will do my best to supply some educated guesses and conjecture.
There are basically three issues that led to Amona:
1) Demonization of the religious settler movement. Lets face it. Israel is far from its religious high in 1967 and the Rabbanut isn't make things any better. Israelis are for the most part sick of being different and want to be the same or at least similar to the rest of the western world. Many of them see the western world as their only ticket to surviving the long fight against the arabs(and to a large degree they are right)thus anything to remove the antiquated ideals of the yishuv was welcome.
In addition, the notion of the settlers are defending the front lines has lost almost all of its secular support. That isn't helping so much either.
2) Israelis are sick of the palestinian problem- this also served undoubtedly as the main reason for the hitnatkut. No one wants to be responsible militarily or socially for a people that perennially self destructs. the wall, to them represents a logical solution. Anyone on the wrong side of it is not looked upon in fondly.

3) The Katom movement- the settlers, by breaking away from the government and utilizing their own resources instead of trying to convince their countrymen that they are not irrelevant, gambled on being able to muster enough strength behind the historically saber rattling far right and lost big time. All these tiny parties took away all their support for Likud and instead went solo. It was then that Olmert a shrewd politician if nothing else, moved to highlight the settlers as rebels in the way of peace and thus Amona.

As for Amona itself I blame first and foremost the parents. I have family that lives in the Shomron and they always boast about their
ability to control their children better than their American counterparts. How on earth did they let this happen! What are 6-10 year old kids doing at a rally that the parents clearly knew was going to be violent. Lets imagine for a minute that the parents didn't think their kids would be injured physically, or that any noticeable harm would be done to them. Still, would these parents willfully let their kids at that age see a rated R movie? of course not! These overprotective mothers who preach so often about maintaining the family, neglected their kids and for that I think the responsible thing to do would be to call social services or at least encourage some of these parents to seek help.
Regarding the teachers and Rabbis I am truly ashamed. Serioulsy were you hoping to gain sympathy points for your cause when you sent kids to the front lines? Most of us just saw a depicable manipulation of a group of young impressionable people desperate for answers. This in an outrage and you, the teachers in all these tzioni dati schools should have your day of reckoning.

To all the kids I think its important to say that it is not nor will it ever be in the near future the end of the world. Stop fighting the everyone agianst us battle that for years no underdog has manged to win and start to move back into the mainstream if that means giving up some of your eretz yisrael hashleima attitude then so be it. Later on when expansion and settler activity becomes popular again, as I am undoubtedly sure it will, you can wave you banner of Torah v'avoda as high and as vigorously as you please but for right now, calm down. Oh, and if you haven't gotten the hint yet, violence is not the answer.

Gush Guy said...

Sorry about the typos I was kind of in a rush

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