Once upon a time Jews were forced to wear stars


Once upon
a time, Jews
were forced
to wear stars.


(image from Ha’aretz)


Amotz Asa-el writes an interesting opinion piece about the Gaza pullout being the beginning of the end of what he calls the “war of utopias.”

With the Jordanian artillery’s damage still visible on buildings and in courtyards around us, we proceeded to explore what for the previous 19 years had been for all of us beyond the pale. Joining the colorful, jubilant and often singing convoy of 200,000 young, old, rich, poor, religious, secular and above all delirious Israelis that snaked its way around Mount Zion to the Old City in Shavuot of ’67, usually for the first time in their lives, we felt as if panacea was one arm’s length ahead of us, and all of Jewish history’s tortures were behind us.

In fact, we were merely embarking on yet another arduous journey, one that would last decades and nearly debilitate the Jewish state. For the morning after the Six Day War a new battle had been engaged, a skirmish purely Jewish, one that ultimately split Israel and much of the Diaspora down the middle, dividing thinkers, parties, families and even individuals.

It was the war of the Jewish utopias.

And later in the piece:

The following year’s murder of peace activist Emil Gruenzweig during a political rally outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem made it plain that what back in ’67 caused a sense of euphoria actually carried with it the seeds of a potential civil war. The following decade, those who still deluded themselves that the situation was actually digestible were confounded once and for all by the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.

The war of the utopias was threatening to bring down the Jewish state in other ways as well. It was sapping the political system’s energies, which were dedicated disproportionately to the territorial debate, while fundamental debates about the shape of the economy, the school system, health care or infrastructure development were neglected, and actually altogether avoided.

Fortunately, by then, Middle Israelis had grown disillusioned with both schools of thought.
To them, the Lebanon War and the Intifada proved the Greater Israel mindset impractical, while the Oslo misadventure exposed land for peace as an equally aloof illusion. At that point, roughly when he became prime minister, Sharon figured that restoring the Israeli consensus – which he more than anyone else had helped shatter – was more strategically imperative than a greater Israel. It was no coincidence that just then, when a major figure in the war of utopias finally gave up on winning it, Israel’s political discourse veered, for the first time in decades, to worthwhile domestic policy dilemmas, as the Netanyahu and Dovrat reforms were introduced.

In a few weeks, once he ends Israel’s presence in Gaza and establishes the new, unstated Israeli strategic aim of obtaining internationally tolerated borders with as much land and as few Palestinians as possible, Sharon will have also effectively ended the futile war of Israeli utopias.

It’s high time.

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  • This shabbat’s parsha is about the sin of the spies.

    Even though we knew that the land of Israel was full of milk and honey, Moshe Rabenu sent ‘spies’ to bring back confirmation. Instead, they came back with slander and disbelief that we could possibly survive and conquer the current residents of Canaan. Hashem sent us on a 38 year detour.

    Yom yerushalayim two weeks ago commemorated the miraculous liberation of Jerusalem. I don’t even think that PM Golda Meir or Moshe Dayan had planned to liberate Jerusalem, or if we were drawn into it ‘for some reason’. The Jewish world was euphoious and thought that it the final redemption was about to happen. But, hours after the glorious liberation, Dayan demanded that we take down the Israeli flags from the temple mount because…’it isn’t ours, we can’t possible keep it’, and ceremoniously handed back the keys to the Wakf.

    That happened 38 years ago.

    TM, if history is any indication, then you should actually expect Israel to grow in the next few years rather than to contract. I do.

    I totally understand where your coming from. My ‘talk’ seems fanatical, even I would’ve thought that I was crazy twelve years ago. But the pieces are falling into place, and it is only logical that ‘something’ great will be happening to Israel very soon. It might involve a bit of a low, perhaps the anxiety of the upcoming expulsion is it, but after this dip, things will be much, much brighter.

  • I read somewhere that HaShem wantes to send women as spies. That is why the Torah calls them Moshe’s spies. That HaShem felt that women would be more objective in their reporting.

  • The ’67 war was a great turning point for the Jewish people, even the most secular of jews were forced to confront the blatent miracles. My father who was a Sanchan in 67 and 73, who isn’t a religious Jew by any standards, even acknowledges the events that took place. If you attribute victory to the “great” Rabin, Dayan,Sharon, Meir, etc you are sadly wrong. OUr victory or any victory for that matter stems directly from G-D. Whats the moral of this story: The Jewish people once again faced insurmountable odds and almost eminent death, and yet still overcame. We were abandoned by our allies for the most part, and were left to face the arab hordes on our own. It never ceases to amaze me the Jewish reactions to such events. The Secularists claim brilliant military strategy and lightening warfare were the reason for victory, Bullsh-t. Jews never seem to learn from their mistakes or where to direct their faith.. Today we face adversity and instead of putting our faith once again were we should, we put it in the negotiation skills of the US, EU, and PA. Do Jews need to have their backs against the wall, or lose it all to once again see the light?

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