Monday, March 10, 2008

I Met Yossi Klein Halevi and...

I met Yossi Klein-Halevi yesterday morning and we discussed the Merkaz Massacre.

He was later interviewed by JTA and he let me know that what I had sent him later in the day helped him frame these thoughts:-

Just three weeks before the Six-Day War in 1967, on Israel's 19th Independence Day, Zvi Kook used his address to his students to bemoan the loss of the biblical heartland in the West Bank.

Nearly weeping he asked, "Where is our Jericho? Where is our Nablus?"

His students were stunned by his unusual lamentations and seemingly without warning found themselves in those same places within weeks of his talk.

"Within religious Zionist circles, that speech was very quickly seen as an outburst of prophecy," said Yossi Klein Halevi, a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Stragetic Studies at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem think tank. "The Mercaz Harav yeshiva's significance is far deeper for the religious community than politics. The politics are an expression of prophecy. "So this is an assault of place of prophecy," he said, referring to the attack. Many of the religous Zionist community's rabbis have called on the Olmert government to take a more decisive, military stand to protect Israel.

"Within that community there is deep anger, even rage, at what is perceived to be the government's inability to turn the tragedy into strength, and for the religious Zionist community it compounds the tragedy," Klein Halevi said.

"What that community wants to see is a decision by the government to go to war with the intention of winning. Whether that's against Hamas or Hezbollah now or in the future, whether it relates to Iran, the religious Zionist community is desperate for a government decision to fight the enemies of Israel with resolve.

The yeshiva in its statement reflected this sentiment, saying: "This monstrous attack must bring about a major and substantial change. We call upon and demand from the Government of Israel to wake up and to fight to the end, without mercy, against the enemies of Israel."

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