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On the value of life, crossing red lines and judging those in grief
What’s the score?

 

These days are days of war, and the sword is striking with all its might. The home front in the center of the country is 'ready' for the Katyusha fire on Haifa and Kiryat Shmona, but is finding it difficult to digest the images of fallen soldiers in Lebanon.

 

The question of how many fallen soldiers are "worth" the removal of the threat on northern settlements is a question without a clear answer. No one can evaluate the cost of calm, or what the nominal value of life would be in exchange for routine and calm in Haifa. The question "how much" shouldn't be asked but rather "for what and why."

 

During a cabinet meeting, Minister Shimon Peres, developer of the Galilee and the Negev, took the liberty to ask how many casualties would be expected if the decision to expand the ground assault in Lebanon was taken.

 

Did Shimon Peres ask how many casualties would be expected in 1993, if we signed the Oslo Accords that he concocted? Did he ask in 1999 how many casualties there would be if we unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon? Had he asked these questions, and evaluated the situation properly, would he have still supported these moves?

 

Crossing the red lines

 

To the poet Ilan Sheinfeld and the playwright Yehoshua Sobol,

 

Dear Sirs,

 

You were recently the undersigned of a publication stating that you unequivocally support the IDF operation in Lebanon. You did not suffice with expressing your support, but you actually embarked on an assault against the enemy calling for its defeat with military force.

 

You took the liberty of saying in your interviews, that you are members of the leftwing camp, and that you even opposed the first war in Lebanon.

 

I am sending you this letter, my friends, to prepare you for the days ahead, and they will not be easy for you. I fear that you don't fully understand the force of the backs that will be turned on you by former friends: members of the peace camp.

 

It won't happen suddenly, but it will be very clear. Fewer and fewer phone calls will be returned. Suddenly the reviews of your new plays or books will state that your work doesn't quite meet the standards of previous works. Criticism towards you will be purely professional, but deep inside, you'll know exactly when you switched from being reputable and esteemed poets and playwrights to personas-non-grata.

 

Worst of all, whisperings behind your back will be heard in your milieu, in some local newspapers and in the association in which you are a member, whisperings such as "something has happened to him" and "we can't figure out what's wrong with him lately." Occasionally you may even hear "actually, he's quite talented, but we always knew there was something strange about him."

 

Communists and their spiritual followers always regarded those who opposed the regime as insane, particularly those who emerged from the camp but deserted to the enemy's political camp, and by so doing exposing their friends disgracefully. For this there is no forgiveness and no absolution.

 

Suddenly, each time your name is mentioned, you'll hear someone clearing his throat, or making a finger sign indicating that you are a bit "nuts." You always were.

 

Whispers, insinuations, jeering remarks in the newspaper, slight insults and wild slander – this is what you can expect in the next two years. You dared rise up against a small political camp. But it is revengeful and bears a grudge. You went against a small but noisy herd of "young writers," the intellectuals, those supported by the European Union, directors and critics who preach against Israel and are fans of Palestinian rights.

 

They are a minority, but well connected to the echelons of power and award committees. They will treat you the way they once treated those who converted their religion: with scorn and contempt.

 

You have joined people such as Eyal Megged, Amnon Lord, Dudu Elharar, Ariel Zilber and others of their ilk who have opened their eyes.

 

You may comfort yourselves in the knowledge that what you'll be getting in return for the high price you'll be forced to pay, will be your integrity and courage.

 

Violation and disgrace

 

Because we are so careful not to judge a person in times of grief, and because we are so considerate of bereaved sisters, we submissively give in to every foolish thing that is said during this period. As if bereavement and mourning exempt one from making proper judgment.

 

And as if the moment of tragedy, when a stage for mourning and eulogy is provided, a member of the bereaved family can turn the funeral into a demonstration, while matters of good manners and etiquette become void.

 

The call made by a fallen soldier's sister to the Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Israel Weiss, to leave the funeral ceremony was disgraceful. It is a defilement of God's name, defilement of the dead, humiliation of a scholar, a blow to bereavement and abuse of Judaism and lovers of the Land of Israel.

 


פרסום ראשון: 08.11.06, 16:02
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