Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random disengagement thoughts

Last night I couldn't sleep because of the whirl of emotions and conflicting thoughts in my head. So here I am to get some of them off my chest; maybe when they are on the blog, they won't have to live in my heart anymore.

1) Some time today I reached the end of my emotional rope. I didn't go to watch the disengagement on TV tonight, because I can't absorb anymore. It's too painful. I care too much. Instead of checking Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the New York Times every 15 minutes, I started checking them every hour or two.

2) Then I felt guilty, because if I can't take it anymore, how do the settlers feel? The security forces? Here I feel most specially for the young soldiers, who I'm sure would very much like to go home right now, get a hug from their mothers, and sleep for a week. And I'm also thinking about the people who were evacuated in the last few days and are now living with their kids in a hotel in Ashkelon. They must wake up and look around and feel so sad.

3) On the whole I feel a lot of respect for the people who stayed in their homes to be forcibly removed. That takes guts and real resolve. That is the real deal. I may not share the values/ decisions that led them to make that decision in this particular instance, and in certain cases I saw on TV I have some picky criticisms about the presence/ use of children, but on the main I really respect the strength of their convictions. I can think of a few things important enough to me that, if threatened, would inspire me to do the same thing. For their unshakable resolve combined with lack of violence, I say: Kol hakavod [literally: "all the honor."]

4) I'm so proud of the security forces. Their restraint and sympathy, combined with determination, has been extraordinary. Those are our kids! That's our army! I'm so pained for them, but so proud about how they've been handling it all.

5) If I hear one more analogy between the disengagement and the Holocaust, I'll be ill. The Holocaust has been irrevocably belittled, because this time it was us Jews who did the belittling. I'm so angry about this I hardly know what to do with myself.

6) Lots of thoughts about the future of the Dati Leumi (Religious Zionist/Nationalist) movement. It's been a one-issue movement (the settlements) for too long. The question is, now that they've pretty much lost a huge chunk of what they wanted on that one issue, where will they go? Will they (we) (finally) become a movement with relevant things to say on other issues, such as the economy, social welfare, the environment, immigration, etc? Or will it morph into something else, something a little more Dati and a little less Leumi?

And what of all those kids, hundreds (thousands?) of them who have spent the last few days urging soldiers to disobey orders? Within the next few years most of those kids -- the boys, at least, and many of the girls -- will become soldiers themselves. What does this mean for them? For the army?

7) Been doing some thinking about my own opinions on Greater Israel, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. Lots to say. Not tonight.

8) A few days ago I started reading this fascinating blog by a religious (I'm assuming from her picture, perhaps unfairly), female, highly intelligent journalist living in Gaza with her (adorable) little boy. My first thought: She's the flip side of me! She's smart, sassy, doesn't take crap from anyone, has a wry sense of humor, and is fiercely proud of, and loyal to, her people. When her people are wronged, she's really impassioned about it. She really cares, she's religiously affiliated, and she's educated. If she'd been born Jewish, she'd be living in Katamon and praying at Shir Chadash. She is what I would have been if I were Arab, and I am what she would have been if she were Jewish. Spoooooky.

My second thought: I wish she'd write more about how sucky this situation (ie, the conflict with the Palestinians, terrorism, etc) is for Israelis, but then again, how much do Israeli bloggers write about how sucky it is to be a Palestinian right now? Not much.

My third thought: Well, no, really, I wish she'd just throw some kind of bone to the Israelis, you know? Like, when it comes up, I do, actually, in fact, acknowledge that being a Palestinian must really suck right now. It may not be what I focus on, but I do, in fact, care. I wish there was more of that on her blog about us. The closest I've seen is an admission that she is not calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. Gee, thanks. Thanks a lot.

So now I think of her not so much as someone who could be me, if she'd been born Jewish, but rather certain otherwise wonderful acquaintances of mine with whom I never talk politics because as soon as you mention anything at all sympathetic about Joe Palestinian, the automatic response is: Why should I care! They are terrorists! Don't you remember Tali Hatuel? Don't you remember the Dolphinarium? They are animals! I don't care! They can all go to hell! And I'm like "Um, OK . . . how 'bout them Cubs?" In other words, I find her blog exceedingly irritating, but I'm not writing her off. She'll stay on my list of regular reads. Sometimes, it is important to allow oneself to be irritated.

Anyway, the connection to the disengagement: This Gazan blogger is angry because the media is focusing on the Jews who are being driven out of their homes, instead of the actual story, which is, in her opinion, all the Palestinians who have been driven out of their homes over the years. To which I say: yes, they are a story. But they are not "the" story this week. This week, it's the Jewish settlers who are the story. Don't worry, the world will get back to you. Give us our day in the hot, hellish media lights. Right or wrong, it will be your turn again soon enough. Right now the world is transfixed by the sight of a Jewish army acting against Jews. In a couple of weeks they'll have moved on to other things, I can guarantee.

9) I wonder where R. is right now and what kind of orders he's had to give in the last few days.

10) Today I saw a poster which said "Yehudi mekarev Yehudi" (a Jew helps another Jew become closer to God/Torah observance), a play on the ubiquitous "Yehudi lo migaresh Yehudi" (A Jew does not expel a Jew) signs which have been everywhere for the last few months. There was a photo of two men, with their backs to the camer and their arms around each other's shoulders, one wearing a black suit and black velvet yarmulka, and the other wearing no yarmulka, a t-shirt, and jeans. Under the photo was a bunch of verses from the Bible and quotes from famous rabbis about the importance of inspiring one's fellow Jew to keep the commandments; I didn't spend too much time reading the whole thing, but was rather touched by the idea in general. In case you haven't noticed, I'm much, much happier when we're talking about Jewish unity than I am when we're talking about any sort of conflict, with anyone. Of course, I'm sure there are secular Jews who would look at the same poster and say "great, now they are going to try to make us all born-again." But, as a religious person who has lots of non-religious friends whom I accept exactly the way they are, I thought the poster was nice.

That's enough for now. It's 10:18 and my friend Judy just called to wish me a happy birthday. This means she has not been reading my blog. She will kill me for mentioning this. Anyway, she's waiting patiently for me to finish this post. Gotta go.

No comments:

Post a Comment