Sunday, October 16, 2005

Whoever believed that the wounds of the disengagement had started to heal was probably wrong. Such a process - if it actually takes place - will take years, not weeks. This weekend we were reminded once again of, on the one hand, the hatred felt by many settlers towards those whom they consider responsible for the evacuation of the Gaza settlements, and - on the other hand - the indifference that many Israelis show towards the hardships of the settlers. This morning I read an interesting article by Zvi Bar'el of Ha'Aretz. He tells us about the Yesha Council, and about the relationship between settlers and the State, post-disengagement. As Bar'el points out, the last letter of the acronym Yesha ( Yehudah, Shomron, 'Aza, i.e. Judea, Samaria, Gaza ) has lost its relevancy, since there are no Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip anymore. His conclusion makes sense: "It seems that the Yesha settlers realize that from now on they will need to struggle to join the State of Israel and not vice versa. It is a political battle - for example, over the path of the wall or the demarcation of borders. It is a battle in which, for the first time, the citizens of Israel will have a decisive vote, or at least an equal one, to that of the settlers." One reader commented that he hopes Yesh ( "There is" ) will become "Eyn" ( "There is not" ) soon, as there is no future in the territories. In many ways I would agree with that. Still, that did not change the fact that I had to swallow hard when I heard about the shooting near Gush Etzion in which three young Israelis were murdered this afternoon. I heard the news when I waited for our daughter to finish her swimming lesson ( she is six years old and already does some nice freestyle swimming, maybe at the 2016 Olympics both Israel and Holland will be able to celebrate the achievements of De Bruin/Bar-On ( no, not Inge ) :-) ). Later we went to buy two school sweaters for her, and I forgot about the news and heard nobody else talking about the terror attack. When I watched the evening news, my attention was mainly caught by the cloudburst outside, and by the news item on the attack against Major General El'azar Stern and his family last Friday. The same news item told us about soldiers serving in Hebron who recently ( one of them even on Yom Kippur ) were verbally attacked by settlers near or in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and told that they could not pray there. Also I heard that soldiers who hitchhike in the territories often are asked by settlers about their role in the disengagement before being given or refused a ride. As for the attack near Gush Etzion, at least the right wing politicians and Yesha representatives whom we had not heard from and about for more than a month got a chance to tell us how right they have always been and to imply once again how evil and destructive Ariel Sharon and his policies are. One wonders whether we ever will be one people again. Maybe we stopped being such a people a long time ago, or maybe such a people never existed. Or maybe I am just getting depressed because of the weather. No, I don't think so, although I am not a great fan of rain in Israel. I always said - only half-jokingly - that I would want a job that allows me to spend ( hot and dry ) summers in Israel and ( cold, white and stormy ) winters in Europe. Whereas houses in Europe are not built for hot summers, here the houses are never as comfortable as those in Europe when it is cold and wet outside. PS:
Gideon Levy wrote an article that describes a phenomenon that came to my attention almost each time that I watched television recently: more and more criminals who are shown in news broadcasts appear to (have) be(come) religious, i.e. they wear a kippa. As is often his custom, Levy exaggerates and deals freely in stereotypes ( "the least ethical community in Israeli society, the settlers", "the true guardians of the stamp of morality, the human rights activists" ), but that does not mean that the phenomenon is not noticeable.

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