Monday, August 16, 2004

Morality and Israel

James Bennet's final climatic chords in his profile of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, "Sharon's Wars", that he had published in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday, August 15, 2004, refer to an Israel that is "morally alert...morally conflicted but...also morally compromised in the eyes of the world". He then selects as a final nail in his coffin carpentry a statement spoken by extreme left-winger, Yaron Ezrahi, a former Peace Now spokesperson, that Israel could become ''the largest ghetto in modern Jewish history."

Bennet's pessimism is but a reflection on the refusal of too many to accept that Israel, and its driving nationalist ideology, Zionism, have a place at all in the scheme of things. Kept away for centuries from its rightful sons, our land became a neglected desert and, starting in the 1930s, when we Jews were kept away from the land by restrictive immigration policies, millions were eventually cremated and buried alive in the Holocaust. Land and people are inextricably bound up.

Prior to 1967, the disputed territories were somehow not "occupied" by Jordan or Egypt and the "Palestine", it became obvious, that terrorists attempted then to "liberate" was but Israel itself. That unpleasant fact was, and still is, ignored.

Israel is in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as a result of Arab aggression but it is there by the right of historical and legal primacy. These areas are the Jewish heartland where our kings, priests and prophets lived and bequeathed to the world the highest degrees of religious and cultural morality.

To ban Jews, like myself, from living in sites such as Shiloh, Beth El and Hebron, whether initiated from within by Israeli politicians or forced on our leaders from without, is the immorality that cannot be tolerated.

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