Opinion  Others
Free at last
By Amos Oz
Published: 21.08.05, 17:48
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1. Amos Oz - One of Israel's most celebrated authors
Meir ,   Beit Shemesh   (08.21.05)
Also, inconsiderate, self-hating, no respect for Jewish tradition, no love of our land. One wonders if he respect the Arab's traditions and views more than the religious. I can think of other authors more worthy - Moshe Shamir, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Shai Agnon. Oz is not on the same level
2. AMos Oz is by definition a Reform Jew
disengagement forum ,   Jerusalem   (08.21.05)
"To be a free people means each person is entitled to choose which parts of Jewish tradition are important to him, and which to leave behind." If you define yourself as Jewish due to your ethnicity than you are not free you are subject to the Halacha because it is the Halacha that dictates if a Jew is ethnically a Jew, and if you define yourself as a Jew due to your religious beliefs well then it goes without saying. BUT if you define yourself as a Jew ethnically but you define what an ethnic Jew is, then you are not an authentic jew you are creating a new race/religion/CULTURE of the same name, but not the original thing. It it is what the Haredim and Orthodox Jews call the Reform Jews, the definition being "people who reform Judaism".
3. The man speaks the truth - b'emet
Eyal ,   Tlv.il   (08.21.05)
In 5 years time Israel may be a neo-dati, ultra-conservative state; Lamah? Ci, the revenge of the rabbonim ant\d their settler minyanium. They will not forget the betrayal of HSaorn, the IDF and us leftists. Then again they are up against a potent force: the momentum of current affairs. Sadly they cannot look up from their shiurim to take cogniscence [sp?] of the political, cultural and geographic realities exploding around them. we need to think long term if Israel is to survive. They think outside of time "Moshiach time" where day to day realities have no place. Then again, so do Hamas, they live in "the time of 72 virgins" [why would anyone want an inexperienced parter? Oh, it's the assertive male thing] and they are as destructive as the right-wing datim. Sorry for them all.
4. Starw Man
Ben ,   USA   (08.21.05)
Oz is knocking down his own straw man "whole land of Israel," filled wall-to-wall with Jews-only towns. That describes the dream of the Arabs. The Jews want only to mind their busines. The Leftists want only to mind the Arabs' business. "demanding from the Palestinians that they do the same" Go demand. Just like before '67. It means to free ourselves, once-and-for-all, from the nightmare of being an occupying, uprooting, exploiting, settling, expropriating, humiliating, discriminatory country." Fine so become once again an occupied, uprooted, exploited, settled, expropriated, humiliated, discriminated colony like before '48. " the dream of free Israelis. The dream of the whole land of Israel and a messianic kingship" Yours is the dream of a messianic society along the lines of utopian socialism. The Arabs would rather stay poor, dumb, exploited, barefoot and pregnant in a stolen land land without Jews. Even Jewish graves, stupid. That is the question? Why are we talking security as if Arabs are a volcano or a tsunami, and not human beings> Is that a Leftist thing to do? Why can't a Jews live and work and play and die where he wants, Leftist? Why can't Arabs do the same without trying to kill anyone, Leftist? Answer Moshe Feiglin with reason and respect instead of invoking what you should invoke for Arabs and Moslems.
5. Truly a nation-building event for us all
Sean ,   S Africa   (08.21.05)
Sitting in ulpan today I was thinking that somehow what is going on in Israel today is something that is being played out on another field; a spiritual one. True it has pro's and con's for both Jews and Arabs: politically and economically, culturally and socially. Truly it is a nation-building event: for the Jews as well as the Palestinians. Or at least it has the potential. It only takes a bullet or a suicide bomb to lead us back to the path of darkness. But only if we give in to fear. The light is up ahead. The route out of the tunnel is obvious. Fear, our mutual weakness, is the only thing that will keep both Jew and Arab in the dark; that will prevent us from taking up the mantle of peace for all mankind. I experienced change on an all-encompassing level in South Africa, Amos Oz makes me believe this can happen in Israel.
6. Go to Uganda
Ben ,   Galut   (08.21.05)
In a sense, Oz is right, but he is fightinghis battle in the wrong place. He certainly should be free to save the world for the Enlightenment, but the land of Israel is already spoken for. His problem is that everywhere in the world, he cannot escape being a Jew, and now in Israel, he is free to do it but cannot convince himself. Except for a few traffic restrictions and unenforced symbolic cultural guidelines, he is free to violate the whole Torah law, but fears a theocracy. That speaks more for him than the religious. Why beat his head against the wall? Go someplace where you are wanted. If not Uganda, maybe Mars.
7. Words of an Israeli author
Zvi Lando ,   Tekoa, Israel   (08.21.05)
Just like his novels... blah, blah, blah, You talk about foreign workers? Who has done all of the building in this country in the last 30 years? Amos, go back to your favorite cafe, write another novel that people will only love as long as you speak out against Jews, and don't embarass yourself too much.....
8. A few important pioints mist out!
Yossi Levin ,   Brooklyn NY   (08.21.05)
Dear mr Amos Oz After reading your article thouroughly, you brought out some very important pionts, and I must say that you are a great writer, i have read some of your other things also, you really write very well, and it is a pleasure to read from you. But i do have some questions on what you wrote, firstly, what makes you so confident that we are an occupying force in palistianain land causing pain and suffering to ourselves and the arabs, can you bring one clear proof that this land of gaza, that for 1, was given to the jews straight from gods kindness? 2 was won by israel clearly in front of the worlds eyes by wars forced upon her to burn her very existence? even if you dont beleive that god gave it to us, dont you think a war is enough to gain us the land after 4 wars israel has went through,? more so, is it really so extremist to work and settle in a land so beatiful and productive to work it and make it your very own dream, which was supported clearly by the israeli goverment back then with the big help of sharon, which is jewish land won by our fallen soldeirs and couragous will to live in peace, IS THIS RABBI EXTREMISIM, is it really such a crime? have you ever visited these people in their homes, have you seen these rabbi extremisit hospitality? no where else would you get such a welcome, so much kindness, i am sure youdont offer the same open house many of them offer. do you think this will put down the terrorists, dont you see them parading into gaza vowing for more jewish blood? screaming on top of their lungs that they will only kill more jews, and yet you call your own self, your own pride RABBI EXTREMISIM? how can you choose the parts of traditional judaisim that you feel are important, firstly judiasim is a thing of today, we serve god and thank for what he gives us, its not traditional, and if you beleive that god gives us life peace and food, then if he says commandments, how can you pick, if you believe there is a god, then what makes you decide how to listen to only SOME things of your choosing that he says, shouldnt we listen to everything, just like a general in a army,? i have so many more questions to ask you, but first i would really like to hear what you have to say on these first. thank you for your time yossi levin
ls ,   israel   (08.21.05)
How sad to see such an intelligiant man so deceived. The jewish people have been sufferering from self hatred since Sinai. The Jewish people were to be "A LIGHT UNTO THE NATION", according to Torah standards and those jews who feel that they must live and be like the nations, should find another country to live in.
10. Oz was once smart
Ben ,   USA   (08.21.05)
Oz said something smart. Once. He said in Europe they said 'Jews out to Palestine!' Now the same Europeans are saying 'Jews out of Palestine!' Why don't you get that ALL OF ISRAEL is under dispute. After '67 comes '48. after '48 comes '19? After '19 comes 1882. Look at a map. Israel is a tiny Jewish community, dotting a sea of hostile Arabs. Because five minutes after the Palestinian State, they will decalsre an alliance with Jordan or Syria and sudeenly become just Arabs, as the artificial Palestinian identity is unsustainable, it has no context, no history, no content except anti Jew/Israeli/Zionist. Unfortuantely, you just became an post-Zionist. Israel has a half a percent of the region's land mass for five percent of its population. Will reducing it to a quarter percent solve things? By dismantling 'settlements' (neighborhoods) you are shooting yourselves in the foot. You are sawing off the branch on which you sit. Not just the religious land but the religious ideology provides your buffer zone. because if you guys have no right except historic and moral, then you are indeed subject to historical and military forces, and are as the Arabs say a foreign alien culture with no right to change the stinking regional culture they prefer.
11. Amos Oz
gabriel eskel ,   israel   (08.21.05)
Maybe a great man but formost a great deciever, himself and others, really feeling "pain" while sitting beside his fleshpot. What a shame!
12. Thank you Amoz Oz!
Richard ,   Paris   (08.21.05)
The greates acomplishment of civilisation is the separation of State and religion. Being ruled by bearded bigots, be it in Teheran, Jerusalem or esewhere, is one of the worst things than can happen to a human being. Religion is fine as long as it is restricted to the private sphere. Religion ruling politics is hell on earth.
13. Oz hits the nail on the head
Sam ,   Potomac Maryland USA   (08.21.05)
Amos Oz angers a lot of people -- in the same way that Isaiah or Jeremiah angered people--he speaks the truth. There are people in the religous community who share many of his views: I am one of them. The fanatcism of many in the Yesha crowd is a bit too much to take--and the State of Israel has been brutalized due to its occupation of another people. To be occupiers was the farthest thing from the minds of those who came here--
14. Amos article
shmuel ben ovadia ,   Miami USA   (08.21.05)
The problem with Israelis that follow your line of thinking, is that they do not realize that the only thing that connects us Jews outside of Israel and the Israeli jew is the jewish denominator. I have nothing in common with an Israeli, i do not speak hebrew, I do not subscribe to their lack of courtesy, their lack of elegance, their aloofness, the only thing i have in common is the religion. Everyboby can select according to his soul how religious he wants to be, but it has to respect religion and the institution, including rabbis. Next time a secular israeli comes to me in America for a donation to Israel, i will say no. He is a citizen of israel, just like any other arab Iraeli, but not part of the nation of Irael.
15. The silent majority.
Lisa ,   Jerusalem, Israel   (08.21.05)
Thank you for saying what so many people are thinking.
16. Dear Amos...
Alex   (08.21.05)
I understand your anguish. But my view changed after my Christian neighbour told me last night "The goverment in your state is causing the greatest anti semetic hype since the holocaust". Amos, with wise words like yours, its either the Messiah or this is the beginning of the end. We are digging our own graves. And when that day comes, there will be no difference between the right and the left. They will kill us all.
17. #12 is right
edward ,   las vegas   (08.21.05)
that is the problem with the american government right now and why it is so violent and kills so many people. bush is an evagelical nutjob who has murdered more innocent people than all of al queda since he has been in office. he is the real terrorist, and it just proves you cannot base government policy on religious ideologies.
18. Amos Is not silent
Ben Ami 2 ,   NYC in Golus   (08.21.05)
Our Ancestors did not suffer 1900 years of golus for your dream. Their dream was for Eretz Yisroel. Torat Yisroel and AM YIsroel. Your Dream is Bi-nationalism, agnosticism and Liberalism. The dream of 1900 years, not the vanity of the moment will prevail. BTW, your claim that you feel the settler's pain is NOT CREDIBLE. LoNG LIVE MESSIANISM.
19. Free at last
Dr Shalom Friedman ,   jerusalem   (08.21.05)
Once again Mr Oz expresses the outcry and moans of a dying segment of our society. Dying not only in numbers but in idiology. The settlers were not the ones who decided on gaza. It was our own "unified state of Israel" who called for them. It was the religous zionists who simply responded to their call disproportionatly ,as they do to all the calls of their brothers and their land, whether in the army or volunteering for MDA etc.in every facet and aspect of Israeli society .Look around, learn, speak to your brothers. You have much more in commen than you appear, or care to regognize.Stop generalizing .Religous Zionism has never been stronger. It is a large heterogeneous groupt that will continue to support and build and serve.They do not all live in what you refer to as the occupied territories.It is too often that we hear the typical " all knowing Israeli". "I will respect your mourning by remaining silent, but I cannot share in your grief. "Perhaps best reflects the hipocracy of the very unity and stregnth you call for.
21. Traitor
Talya ,   California, USA   (08.21.05)
Amos Oz, you disgust me. How can you say vile things like that? How will we be free knowing the Gaza will become one big terrorist camp? If I get a hold on one of your books, I will burn it. Ugly, leftist traitor.
22. Amos, sounds like u write well....
Joe ,   London   (08.21.05)
that line "True, Palestinians and Thai workers can come in to do the dirty work, but no more." At first it sounds like you really hit home, but let me ask you a few questions? 1) who does your dirty work? 2) Who brought these Thai workers to Israel? Was it the settlers? Or the people in Northern Tel Aviv who needed dirty work done for them? 3) I had a Polish cleaning lady and we would often discuss the Holocaust. I once told her my disgrace that Poles were living in Jewish homes now. She told me "You can have your homes back, but that is all we have. When i need to make a living, I am doing the same thing my grandmother did. I look for Jews and i know they will treat me well and pay me well. Now that there are no Jews in Poland, I must travel to England to find them!" 4) Maybe it is time for YOU to become a dirty worker and start getting down on your knees and mopping the floor. 5) I am pro the disengagment, but with words like yours, we are making this move a new age in Israel, when there will be no more room for talk ever again between us. Thank you Amos.
23. Comment on Amos Oz's article "Free at last"
Joe van Zwaren ,   Jerusalem, ISRAEL   (08.21.05)
From Amos Oz's article, it seems the people he talks for could not stand that the religious in this country find furfillment, and while living in the fleshpots of Tel Aviv and Haifa, could not bear the thought of those primitive, degenerate religious Jews trying to live peaceful in the land of their forefathers. Amos OZ 's hatred of religious Jews is reminescent of the hate that the "enlighthened German Jews" had of Judaism, one that resulted in banning orthodoxy in many German towns in the nineteenth centruy but this SICK self hatred and assimilation did NOTHING to pacify German hatred of Jews except to make it grow. Today's Israel is a pathetic country ruled by a small corrupt elite, actually leftwing in only its opposition to the religious and settlers but the most capitaist and cruel conservatives, that have cleaned this country from any trace of social conscience and blame all their misdeads on their opponents. In a country where they control the press and the courts so effectively, they have established a shadow government which controls so effectively those last vestiges of Israeli democracy, that the people lost all hope in any future. This is so the rich spoil kids can shot drugs freely in Tel Aviv and to have their pick of Ukranian slavewomen smuggled over through Egypt. A country where the police have opened criminal files on most of our elected politicians, which are activated by the shaddow government. Judges that see people as guilty until proven innocent and are willing to throw children into jail to break them from their primitive beliefs. It is hard to find Israeli citizens that have not suffered from this corrupt dictatorial elite. Yes Amos Oz, your enlighthened elite are free at last to lie and lie and to carry every abomination possible against the people of Israel and get away with it. But when you have finished destroying the settlers, who are you going to blame?
24. Amos
Secular Sabra ,   Israel   (08.21.05)
Thank you for saying what is in my heart and speaking for us all . Todah haver .
25. Talya
David ,   Jerusalem   (08.21.05)
You are the disgusting one. How ugly that there are Jewish fascists who have the nerve to speak so brazenly. Crawl back under your rock. Jews are not fascists and Israel will never become the Jewish Iran that people like you hope for.
26. To Mr. Oz and young Jews
Irina ,   USA   (08.21.05)
Mr. Oz, Do you really think that after leaving Gaza the Arabs will accept Israel's existence? Don't you know that after Oslo the number of terrorist's attacks tripled? Don't you forget that Gaza was taken as a result of a defensive war, the same way as it happens all over the world, when winner states keep lands which have strategic value (examples: USA, Soviet Union, etc.)? Don't you know what Israeli Generals Yaalon, Dichter, Farkash, Gazit, etc. said that Gaza "was critical for Israel's security"? Don't you remember Sharon himself, who in 2002 said: "Evacuating Gaza will only encourage terrorism...”. Don't you really understand that appeasing terror is a bad idea? By the way, why Gaza settlers have to be removed when Israel moves boarders? They wanted to stay on their land whatever the state it would be, the same way as millions of Arabs do inside Israel. You said that you are not a religious man. It is sad, but not all Jews can be genuine Jews (in Hebrew a word “Jew” means physically connected to G-d). In this case you cannot understand what it means to be a Jew. Why then you live in Israel? It would be much easier for you to live somewhere else. To be a Jew is a very, very, heavy burden, not everyone can carry it. Your ancestors could. They chose to be killed, not converted. They knew where evil was and chose G-d instead and brought monotheism to the world. But it’s interesting, if you even move somewhere else, the evil will reach you there. Arabs will reach you everywhere - in London, New York, or somewhere else. The more you retreat, the sooner you will be killed and your atheism won’t help. World War III has already begun, and Israel is at the forefront. This fight is the fight between Good and Evil and no one will be able to stay in the middle. I am writing these comments not for you Mr. Oz. You are old enough and you have already chosen your way. I am writing to young people. Dear brothers and sisters Jews, please read a book “Battle-ground. Fact and fantasy in Palestine” by Samuel Katz. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations called this book an eye-opener. It is a heart breaking history of Arab-Israeli conflict. You can find it on AFSI (Americans for safe Israel) site.
27. Free at last???
Michael Anbar ,   Amherst, NY USA   (08.21.05)
Dear Mr. Oz: Katonti. I am humbled disputing your essay, as I am not a literary celebrity like you are. However, your essay “Free at last,“ celebrating the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip, requires an answer; an answer from a secular Jew like yourself but one who believes to have a better historical perspective. Let me remind you that Zionism is an attribute of Judaism not less than the ethical values of Judaism you espouse to. Let me remind you that the Hebrew language you speak and write in is the language of the Bible that has been maintained and cherished by the same religious Jews you so despise. Let me remind you that the enemies of the Jewish people, be it Nazis or Muslims do not differentiate between Jewish socialists like yourself and religious Jews you so hate. When the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948 and 1967, those Arabs who wanted to eradicate the Jewish state and eliminate its Jewish inhabitants, were not after those messianic religious zealots you loathe; they were first of all after you, the Jewish atheistic socialist. If you would have studied the Koran, the roadmap of Islamic radicalism, you would find that Muslims might accept religious Jews as subordinates but their ideology mandates killing you, the essential Infidel. Your personal and national enemies have repeatedly declared that you have no right to the land you live in on both sides of the “green line”. Ironically, instead of denouncing them, you denounced your fellow Jews who are not ready to accept Muslim claims to the historical homeland of the Jewish nation whose language you speak and whose members adore your writings. It seem that these are exactly those radical enemies of yours and of your people that you support. Like you, I would like to see the State of Israel be tolerant of all religions and of all members of the Jewish nation including secular Jews like you and me. But when I read you essay I find it loaded with intolerance toward Jews who practice their ancient religious tenets. How can you ask them to be tolerant to you when you show so mush hatred to them? How can they be tolerant to you when you show glee in the moment of their personal and communal tragedy? You seem to be happy that Sharon has managed to split our nation, allowing you and your cohorts to be in the lead in the intra-Jewish ideological strife, to the delight of your Arab national adversaries who are glad to devour both you and your antagonists – those “despised” religious Jews. I am sorry that my prose is no match to yours but I believe that you do not manage to match my concern for the survival of the Jewish people, not in a socialist illusionary world but being caught in the crossfire in a cruel, bloody conflict between Islamic fascism and Western civilization.
28. reply to 21
did u serve in the IDF? do u pay taxes in Israel? do u vote in Israel? No? So u have no right to talk. PS. Bookburning is a Nazi invention.
29. "I will respect your mourning by remaining silent"
avraham walfish ,   tekoah, Israel   (08.21.05)
Unfortunately, Mr. Oz, you didn't heed your own words of wisdom of compassion - the closest approach to true compassion that you were able to muster. Your assertion that you perceive the pain of the settlers rings hollow, a literary conceit. Were you truly to respect their pain, you would indeed keep silent for a few weeks or months. Your message - which we have heard from you before - would have waited until the wounds had healed a bit. But unfortunately there is no true compassion, not in the timing of your article and not in its content. A little true compassion would enable you to perceive the settlers as three-dimensional human beings, whose dreams and aspirations and actions cannot be reduced to your simplistic cardboard formulae. In the future, please honor us much more with your silence. Maybe then you can also learn to listen - as a true writer should, and as you never have.
30. reply to 28
disengagementforum ,   Jerusalem   (08.22.05)
The IDF is either killing palestinians or kicking Jews out of their homes, who the hell cares if she served in the idf the idf is like milosevic's army.
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