Thursday, October 15, 2009


By Ari Bussel

The year is 5770, 2009 in the general count. The day is the tenth of the Month of Tishrei, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is a day of reflection, a day in which broken promises, wrong deeds and language spoken in haste are being erased, forgiven, forgotten, and a new year begins. But can we forget?

The world stood by uninterested when, for eight years, residents of a small city near the Gaza border could not rest. During the day, their children playing outside or at school were unprotected from a constant rockets bombardment. During the night, everyone was at home, but most homes lacked safety. There was no place to hide, only to run away.

Most residents of Sderot stayed, unable to move. They simply could not afford to do so. Several factories had outlets in the area - from food production to textile manufacturing and afforded work for the families. For the majority of the period, the residents of area were deserted by Israel as by the international community. Every so often politicians stopped there for a photo-op, but nothing of substance was attempted.

My mistake, three years ago, an internal wound was inflicted on the body-Israel. The country's leaders decided to unilaterally withdraw from the entire Gaza Strip. Some 8,000 evacuees joined the circle of victims-heads of families that until then were proud providers for their children, communities and country now bound to wonder the desert. Unlike their forefathers before them, it was now in reverse: from freedom to slavery and destitute.

An entire export industry destroyed, an area once blossoming became the training ground for terrorists and a launching pad for even more rockets.

Israel could have endured longer as it did for eight years. Instead, a decision that should have been made seven or eight years earlier finally was finally taken: Israel will stand no more. Operation Cast Lead resulted in 14 dead in Israel and has significantly diminished the number of rockets and the smuggling operation into Gaza.

Throughout the Operation, Israel took steps to make certain civilian casualties were minimized. These efforts were a precision science, the likes of which no other country would spend its resources or waste its power achieving.

Israel's barbaric enemy knew no boundaries - from using humans as shields, to utilizing hospitals and mosques as centers of operation, headquarters of this octopus of evil. But most egregiously, the enemy aimed for civilian centers, shopping malls and hospitals, knowing all too well that the victims will not only be Jews but Bedouin and Arabs.

A new report is out, and the United Nations (against Israel and the Jewish People) is convening in its aftermath. The report carries the name of a Jew, and the world is awed, marveling at the new discoveries: seeming to prove at last Israel, clearly, is at fault for war crimes.

Lies, Lies and more Lies. Lies with a capital "L." Lies emanating from a hatred for Jews because they are Jews. Lies designed to further weaken the body-Israel. Successful lies for several reasons: First, the world turns a blind eye and wants to believe them, despite evidence to the contrary. Second, Israelis and Jews themselves help create and propagate these lies.

Leading reporters in Israel have termed the Operation, as it was being carried out, a "blood bath." Israel was silent. Leading professors in Israel, who were in range and aim of the rockets, let the world know that Israel deserves what it is getting for it is an Apartheid State. They urged the world to "BOYCOTT ISRAEL." Their colleagues and administrators kept silent. American Jewry then continued kneeling before a new Pharaoh and the choir sang "Hallelujah! Let there be Two States."

On this Day of Atonement 5770 (2009), we need look no further than ourselves to realize a major overhaul is required. Israelis, so it seems, are the root cause of their own problems. They may not instigate trouble, the reign of terror is just several miles away, but they add explosives and corrosives to the fire. Then they are astonished when a bigger explosion hits them squarely in the face.

On the morning of Atonement services, just after the sunset ushered in this holiest of days in the Hebrew calendar, I heard an interpretation of the most known prayer in Judaism, The Shema.

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad (Hear Oh Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One).

The recitation of The Shema is done every day of our lives. It is probably the single most unifying element in Judaism. As our last breath escape our body and we return to our creator, the departed says The Shema as we leave our mortal life behind. When we are in grave peril, we say The Shema. When we are about to commit the most noble and heroic of acts, we enlist G-d to our side by saying The Shema.

When we are about to die to sanctify the name of G-d, we recite The Shema, like Major Roey Klein who threw himself at an exploding grenade, thus saving the lives of his soldiers.

Rabbi Dr. Daryl Temkin explained to the congregants that The Shema is really a call to ourselves to listen. One should ask oneself - is what I am saying of value? Is it interesting? Would I, if I were the listener, want to hear what is being said?

Listen, Oh Israel, listen to your words first. Hear the elements flowing through your veins and arteries, like water from springs and rivers to the great sea. Listen: Who are you? What is it that defines and drives you? You repeat the blessing "Bless are Thou, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, who made us alive, and sustained us and brought us to this time and place," but do you pay attention - do you hear?

"Israel," says Dr. Temkin, is an analogy to our dreams: a dream of a nation, a dream of setting an example, of living a life worth living, a dream "For Next Year in Jerusalem." Dreams that have sustained us through the millennia and continue to drive our lives despite all obstacles. These are dreams ever in our prayers, in our celebrations and in Israel's national anthem - THE HOPE.

Let us not be confused-it is not "the hope" of President Hussein Obama, duly elected leader of the American People. Hatikva is the aspiration of a people to live. A people who cannot explain what drives others to hate them so the world's greatest evil turned on them and plotted their extermination. It was the hope of a few against the Nazi war machine in the Warsaw Ghetto. It was the hope and aspiration to have a country by those in Israel under British Mandate. The hope was sang some 62 years ago on a day that changed yearning to reality, and that hope continues to guide us even today, at the dawn of the third millennium.

Listen to your dreams. Can you hear them? Our G-d is ONE, there is no other. Our G-d is our guide and our protector. Our G-d is the light that is within each and every one of us - a light that comes into being even when we are in our mother's womb and stays until we end our journey and our light escapes the mortal bonds to return to the Creator.

On this Day of Atonement, we need look no further than ourselves to find both the guilty party and the strength to make amends, to continue. May we also find a way to deal with those elements from within our midst that collaborate with our enemies-without understanding the harm they do their people.

Alas, the end is not for us to decide. Our actions are meaningless when the Decision Maker is none other than the One who Decides, who assigns life and death, by His wisdom and knowledge. The end, even if near, will forever see the Nation of Israel prevail. The Hebrew people have always been and will be protected by the army of the Devine and cannot be decimated - not by the will of mere men.

from Muslim World Today

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