Sunday, August 14, 2005

Many of the extremists among the opponents of the disengagement are religious, but it cannot be stated enough that extremists form only a small minority of the pullout opponents and of the national-religious public in Israel. Itamar Ben Gvir, Nadia Matar and others on the fringes of Israel's right-wing politics have made it difficult for most secular Israelis to identify with the settlers. When you hear ordinary people who are ( or eventually will be ) forced to evacuate their homes - such as the members of the Neuman family from the Neve Dekalim settlement, who have been portrayed and followed for weeks on the channel 2 news broadcast - talk about what they are going through it is easy and natural to share their fears and their anger. On the other hand, when you hear fanatics repeat their slogans, or when you see children who are brainwashed so that they know exactly what - according to the laws that they despise so much - they are allowed and not allowed to do and to say to policemen and soldiers, it is hard not to think "Yalla, let's get this over with asap", or less exalted thoughts.
The media, especially the television channels, can not be blamed for not having given the opponents of disengagement enough room and airtime to say what they want to say. For weeks I have hardly heard any coherent argument in favor of disengagement, whereas on a daily basis I was told that - and sometimes also why - the pullout is bad for us. That fanatics took away much of that room and airtime is not the media's fault.
These days it often seems that insanity has taken us all hostage. That most of us are still ordinary Zionists who somehow want to ( continue to ) live together in the only state of our own that we will ever get - even though sometimes I think that a 2-state-solution will not be enough to solve the conflict - becomes clear when you read postings such as that of a fellow blogger ( F ), who is religious and lives in Jerusalem. Last Friday she wrote ( by the bold type I stress what I feel right now ):
"I prayed that whatever happens next week should be for the best, and that if the disengagement happens, it should happen peacefully and in a way that sanctifies Hashem's name.There is nothing more I feel I, personally, can do. I have shared many opinions on my blog. I have emphasized, here, my wish for national unity and for everyone, Orange and Blue, to live in brotherhood on the Day After. The rest is out of my hands. It's in the hands of the army, the police, the settlers, the protesters . . . but not mine. In a way, that is a relief."

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