Thursday, April 12, 2012

A history of the struggle for Israel

A history of the struggle for Israel

Dr. Haim Shine

The house near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, purchased at full price, has been evacuated. The forefathers will have to wait until the Judea and Samaria Civil Administration allows new neighbors to move in next to them. The forefathers waited two thousand years; they can wait a bit longer.

Not a day has passed since the evacuation and the Grad rocket shot from the Sinai Peninsula into Eilat that we are not reminded that the true battle is over the entire Land of Israel. It does not end with the house in Hebron, which has already earned the nickname "the disputed house." Indeed, the story of this house is the story of all Israel, which since Jews began returning to it in the second half of the 19th century, has been a "disputed house."

In fact, the state of Israel is independent, strong and prosperous, and in a constant state of dispute. Every person who knows world history knows that Jews, for thousands of years, have been a nation of dispute. Thus it is no wonder that after we read the Book of Esther each year, describing our salvation from Haman, we bless: "Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast taken up our quarrels, who hast judged our judgments, who hast taken revenge for us" (Babylonian Talmud, Megillah Tractate, Ch. 3, pg. 21).

Alleged breaches of public order have accompanied the Jews for generations. One might argue that in practice, wherever Jews have lived, they were a threat to public order. Even these days, residents of central Tel Aviv violate the global public order. It is a fact that many people around the world are convinced that if Tel Aviv did not exist, the Iranians would not need a nuclear bomb and therefore world oil prices would be remarkably cheap. There is no difference between the luxurious towers in the city and the disputed house in Hebron.

The Jewish return to Zion after two thousand years of exile radically changed history. Such a phenomenon had no precedent in human history. Israelis carried out a swift revival of Hebrew, a dead language, renewing the days of glory from before the Diaspora. In Israel, the Jews have built a magnificent military and a reputable scientific establishment. All of these efforts were made so that Jews would no longer be a public nuisance in countries around the world.

With the story of the disputed house in Hebron, it is hard to hear the claim of endangering public order from the Civil Administration, which is subordinate to Israel's security establishment. Indeed, one who cannot impose civil order in a place where Jews buy land and houses legally cannot possibly protect the Jews' right to live in Jerusalem.

Most of Hebron's Arab residents have accepted the fact that Jews live alongside and amongst them. Once they internalized the fact that Jews will not allow another massacre in Hebron, as was the case during the 1929 riots, they came to the correct conclusion that the reality of life is stronger than any unrestrained incitement. This is a fact that the State Prosecutor's office and the Civil Administration have yet to understand: the people of Israel have returned to Judea and Samaria forever to build and be rebuilt.

The struggle over the disputed house is not between the Jewish settlers and the so-called Palestinians in Hebron. It is an internal struggle between the Jewish majority in Israel, connected to their national heritage, and a minority group that believes it can change the course of Jewish history. This minority wants only a small country, within the 1967 borders, a pet to a cruel and alienated world.

Passover is the holiday of freedom; a noble expression of our desire for freedom and liberation from the yoke of foreigners. Hopefully, this Passover, we will again be released from the yoke of slavery and bondage that we place on ourselves, due to humility and a sense of national inferiority.