In the year 2000, an organization called Women in Black was featured by the Hebrew (leftist) media. These women were the mothers of soldiers who had died defending the piece of south Lebanon that Israel had held on to when it withdrew from the rest of the country in 1984.
They protested daily that it was a waste of their childrens' lives to have had them stationed in Lebanon, and they demanded that the government withdraw soldiers from there to save lives. At the time, they were the media's darlings. In time, this will change, and they will learn what it is to be shunned in a Jewish society. That time has not arrived yet, though.
In a controversial decision, Ehud Barak decided on a unilateral withdrawal to "recognized international borders" that was to solve the problem of the casualties lost to occupying southern Lebanon up until the Litani River. On the day of the ordered withdrawal, Arab forces attacked and the Israelis ran away.
HizbAllah, an Iranian puppet organization of Shia Arabs formed to "fight the Israeli occupier" moved soldiers all the way to the border while the Israelis fled south. And the pattern that we were to see until the 2006 rocket attacks by HizbAllah began. The UN moved in an ineffectual force of "peacekeepers" who did nothing.
HizbAllah attacked Israel with rockets, claiming that a farm that was Lebanese territory had not been evacuated, and therefore, Lebanon had not yet been freed of the occupier. The UN ruled that the farm belonged to Israel. But this did not matter to HizbAllah. They continued to bombard Israel with rockets while the Iranian government resupplied HizbAllah, trained their soldiers and the United Nations did nothing to stop any of this.
The further consequences of withdrawing from strategic territory were to have a humiliating price in 2006 – the defeat of Israel's army by a terrorist organization. But the immediate consequences came much sooner. The infamous Camp David meetings in July 2000 were supposed to produce a final peace agreement between Arafat, the "Raïs" of the "Palestinian" Authority, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak. But Arafat turned down the best offer that Barak could make him and walked away. What was
unknown to the public was that the PLO had begun to secretly plan for war in the autumn of 2000 and went to war - using a visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount on Rosh Hashanah as the excuse.
This war started as a series of riots at the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem, with a whole slew of rock throwing incidents. But it was a war. I learned of this from an e-mail which I still have stored in my computer to remind me of what war looks like from the point of view of an e-mail. A woman who lives in Beitar Illit was writing to a list of would-be immigrants, and I saw this e-mail a couple of days after Rosh Hashanah. In it, she described soldiers laying prone outside her home shooting at the Arab village across the hill.
The rock throwing incidents became shooting incidents, with regular shooting at Gilo in south Jerusalem from the Arab village of Beit Jarrah, and regular bombardment of Gush Qatif from the Arab cities in the Gaza Strip. The public waited for Barak, a former chief of staff of the IDF, to order the crushing of this rebellion and the arrest of the Arab terrorist leaders. But Barak did not do this.
In fact, the IDF was held back from doing anything except crowd control while Barak made desperate efforts to negotiate with Arafat to get back the illusory "peace of Oslo". A mob of Arabs took over Joseph's tomb and the IDF evacuated it – doing something they had never done before – at least not in the public eye. They allowed one of their casualties to die in enemy hands, a Druze soldier named Mudhuf Yussuf.
Rabbi Yossi Baumol from Ateret Kohanim wrote of this incident in the essay which is the religious underpinning of this series of articles. He pointed out that in Jewish tradition there is not one messiah but two: the "messiah, son of Joseph" and the "messiah, son of David". Each of these messianic figures has a separate task and the first messianic figure, the messiah, son of Joseph, had to die before the second one could arrive to do his task of spiritual redemption. The "messiah, son of Joseph" had the task of re-populating the Land with Jews, and with seeing to it that there would be sustenance for them and fighting the "wars of the messiah."
Rabbi Baumol argued that the "messiah, son of Joseph" was really the Zionist movement, noting that Yosef and Tzion have the same numerical value in Gematria, the Jewish method of using Hebrew letters to denote numbers. He also pointed out that it was the Zionist movement that had repopulated the land with Jews, developed a self defense force for them and had, as its apotheoses, the founding of the State and the Six Day War. He made the observation that what we were seeing was the gradual destruction of Zionism, as a movement to inspire people to do things, as a force to repopulate the Land and now, as a military force to defend it. Six years on from this analysis, we can see the truth of Rabbi Baumol's words in the events that have transpired since then.
Jew expelling Jew and defeat on the field – final loss of nearly all 1967 gains
Spitting at G-d's gift of easy victory in 1967 has finally lead to a situation where Israeli police expelled Jewish residents of Gush Qatif in 2005, and what was nearly worse, the defeat of the IDF before a force of terrorists in the mountains of Lebanon and the flight of the government from the entire northern portion of the country during a rocket bombardment from south Lebanon – the very area that Ehud Barak thought he was so smart in evacuating in 2000. Both events, taken together, have caused the public to lose all of its confidence in a government of thieves and liars that has led them to defeat. Gone completely is the joie de vivre that I saw in 1973. Gone completely is any sense of optimism or hope. All that we see today is a tired nation waiting for the next blow to fall, for the next shoe to drop and for war to strike again, bringing only death, disaster and funerals.
To be blunt, this is a very depressing topic to write about further. However, the reader can examine the 70 or so articles I have written at Blogcritics Magazine to see how I've attempted to cover the events of the last year and a half.
Now, in June 2007, forty years after the Six Day War – the shining moment of my youth that inspired me to come home – we again face war with Syria, we again face war with Gaza, and in addition to all this, we face the threat of missile bombardment from south Lebanon, as well as Iran, and portions of Samaria. Again, I can look at the tiny Jewish state on the map in the midst of the Arab enemy and tell my wife, "Dear, they have us surrounded," exactly as did my mother to my father when watching the TV on Sunday night, 4 June, 1967.
Our government is so weak as to hardly merit the name, so corrupt you could call it a mafia. Our army is so under-supplied that it can afford only forays and sorties into enemy territory, territory conquered proudly 40 years earlier. When I was a youth, I turned to the IDF for inspiration. Now, I have less hair, and considerably more wisdom. I turn not to an unstable institution that has been eaten into. Its morale is in the toilet.
I turn instead to the G-d of Israel for my security, and I wait for the morning when I will hear the missiles flying overhead,and hear my wife shout "Reuven! War!!"