Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Other, Better Israel

Caroline Glick writes of another aspect of the Morano family, one of whom, Immanuel, was killed last week in the commando raid into Lebanon:-

EXACTLY A year before his death, Morano's humility and dedication to serving his country brought him to perform a different sort of nocturnal mission.

Every night last August - until precisely 52 weeks before his death - he snuck into Gush Katif to bring food to his brother David and his family who were besieged along with the rest of the residents of Gush Katif by a force of some 50,000 IDF and police forces. These forces, who outnumbered the forces sent into Lebanon to fight Hizbullah a year later by 20,000, were under orders not to fight Israel's enemies, but to expel loyal, patriotic Israeli citizens from their homes and communities, destroy their homes and communities and abandon their land to Hamas and Fatah control.

David Morano is a major in reserves in another elite IDF unit. Last year in Neve Dekalim he challenged the IDF to find one soldier who would be capable of throwing him and his family out of their home. Taking David's point and seeking to avoid embarrassment, the senior brass of the IDF beat a steady path to his door, attempting to convince him that he must leave.

Sitting in a modestly furnished, book-lined living room, David repeatedly demanded to be told the strategic rationale of the expulsions. Why were these senior commanders following orders to surrender land to terrorists? Why were they turning 8,500 Jews into refugees in the Land of Israel in order to carry out a mission conceived by a prime minister desperate to avoid a felony indictment on corruption charges from the radical leftist state prosecution? David kept repeating over and over again that this was not the reason he and his four brothers served as combat officers in the IDF. He warned over and over again that expelling the Israelis from Gaza would strengthen Israel's enemies and lead directly to another war.

NONE OF the officers who spoke to David could provide him with answers. The most they could do was lend a sympathetic ear as they suggested he start packing his bags. They could not convince him to leave.

In the end, the events had their own momentum. By Friday afternoon, David and his family were more or less the only family left on their street.

Everyone else had been expelled Thursday. Over the Sabbath, the remaining Jews of Neve Dekalim darted around in the shadows avoiding arrests by soldiers and police. When they gathered in the synagogue, they were momentarily heartened to see that a couple hundred were still on hand.

But their spirits were broken. By the end of the next week, they were all refugees, their homes and communities laid to waste by IDF bulldozers. Their abandoned synagogues awaited destruction at the hands of Palestinian mobs which came three weeks later.

Some of the most charged moments at David's home last summer came when he expressed his indignation over the way that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz and his generals daily insulted the religious Zionist community. Halutz threatened to bar the youths who protested the expulsions from serving in the military. Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, who as then OC Southern Command commanded the expulsions, talked about "a lost generation," and demanded an accounting by the heads of the religious Zionist public for their children who refused to accept the legitimacy of the expulsions. Maj. Gen. Benny Ganz, who then served as OC Northern Command, claimed that the youth who protested the expulsions were a greater danger to Israel than Hizbullah.

And yet, over the past year, after in many cases having to submit to humiliating interrogations by the Shin Bet, and repeated rejections by draft boards due to their "ideological fervor," thousands of the youths who protested last summer's expulsions were drafted into the army. Like Emmanuel and David Morano and their three older brothers, these soldiers make up the backbone of the IDF's regular combat and Special Forces units. Like Emmanuel Morano, a disproportionate number of religious Zionist soldiers have died in the past month of war.

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