Thursday, August 18, 2005
For most Israelis the evacuation of the settlements in the Gaza Strip is not very tangible. Three television channels provide us almost all day with live broadcasts, and for those who do not have the opportunity to watch t.v. there are radio broadcasts and the internet. This morning I left my home early to get to the doctor ( I had to get a prescription for antibiotics, I started to suffer from a combination of laryngitis and otitis ). At nine o'clock I came home, where my wife was working on the computer, our daughter was drawing and our son was watching Hop!, the ( excellent ) children's channel. Around ten I brought the three of them to the swimming pool at the Technion ( the technical university ), where they spend the day. I returned home to work and to clean our house for the weekend. Just to give an idea of how surreal life in Israel can be: at exactly 15.30, when the security forces started to enter two synagogues in Neveh Dekalim to evacuate the people who after long negotiations and several deadlines still refused to leave on their own, I almost finished cleaning the house, by vacuuming and mopping the floor. Two out of our three television sets were turned on ( one in the living room, one in our bedroom ) so that I could follow the events even when I went from room to room. After that, with the evacuation of the synagogues still being broadcasted live, I had a shower and went upstairs to write this posting. Right now I listen to one of John Field's piano concertos.
Do I feel guilty for not letting the disengagement determine my whole life these days? Not really. In a way I feel sorry for the settlers, but on the other hand I hear too many extremist voices among them to really identify with them and with their pain. I feel very much sorry for their children, who are nothing but pawns in the ideological games played by their parents. One of the reasons why I do not feel any guilt is that my conscience is clear: I do not see myself as any less of a Zionist than they are, the only difference is that I decided to make my home within Israel itself, not in a place that is under heavy dispute and that would expose me and my family to unnecessary dangers.
Not a few of the settlers moved to Gaza after I came to Israel in June 1992, i.e. after the Oslo accords made it clear that the days of the Jewish settlements in the territories were numbered, or at least that the Jewish presence there is not something that should be taken for granted. I admire the faith that many of those people have, but I believe not only in G'd but also in my duty, as a Zionist and as a parent, to take reality into account, to show maximum respect for the laws and symbols of the state as well as for the main victims of the occupation - the Palestinians -, to teach my children that same respect and to protect them from unnecessary dangers and violence.
Some of my feelings are expressed well by OrthodoxAnarchist: “what’s going on right now is painful. i feel for the families yet find it difficult to fathom their shock and suprise as it’s been shown in the news. this has been a year in the coming; they’re acting like they didn’t believe the day would come. their disbelief is staggering. israel’s been terrorizing arabs, knocking down their houses, razing their villages, suppressing their rights, brutalizing and dehumanizing them for decades. they didn’t think the government would do the same to them when they they no longer served the government’s interests?”
At least one good thing came out of all the mess of these last few days: the number of visitors to my weblog has risen steadily, and many of those visitors I had never seen before. For example, I found myself being quoted at a website named Global Voices ( and apparently somehow related to Harvard University ). Also, the shares at the Tel Aviv stock exchange have gone up, according to a report that I heard this morning when I drove home from the Technion.
Posted by Bert at 4:32 PM