A Jerusalem Insight: Darkness and Light

[Moshe Kempinski]

Summary ... The lights of Gush Katif have been dimmed. The lights of all the faithful of Israel who stood, marched, cried out and struggled has also been stifled. Yet, the young children raised in what was Gush Katif understand the ideas of "eternal" and "people" and "long voyage" more than most others.

Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness always fills the void when light ceases to shine. It is critical to remember that fact, and not to give darkness too much power and strength. Darkness exists where there is no light. When we give too much credit power to darkness, we stop taking responsibility for the light we should have been presenting. As Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel was wont to say "do not curse the darkness, rather you must add light".

Yet there are times that darkness seems to engulf the light. There are times darkness seems to work under its own power and seems to overwhelm even the purest of lights. The lights of Gush Katif have been dimmed. The lights of all the faithful of Israel who stood, marched , cried out and struggled has also been stifled.

The darkness that seems to emanate from the media and the office of the Prime Minister seems to be prevailing at this time. As a result one's heart grows cold and angry.

We watch our Prime minister gleefully bantering with the press and those individuals somehow called "American Jewish Leadership" about his misadventures back home.

He gives a rousing speech at the United Nations assembly and receives a pat on the back by many of the world leaders whose intentions towards Israel are far from being amicable. We watch as people herald this new "Statesman" when in fact they are simply applauding an Israeli leader acting like the classic "court Jew" of the middle ages "playing" before his masters.

Sharon has been informed by Military Intelligence that his misadventure in Gush Katif is going to, G-d forbid lead to bloodshed. Sharon has, according to army sources, warned the army that they must do everything to curtail any terrorist incident until after the vote in the Likud Central Committee !It seems that the darkness that Sharon has become the vessel for, has no bounds. Could it be that his primary concern is to win the vote in the Likud central committee, and saving Jewish lives is but a tool in that mission?

The darkness grows deeper.

Hundreds of families are still living in one or two rooms in a hotel watching their family framework being stretched to the breaking point. The government vaccilates between blaming the victim to taking credit for volunteer efforts that have nothing to do with them and in fact arose out of their lack of action.

People have no idea where they will be living. They have no idea where they will be working. They have no idea where their children will be going to school. The proud self sufficient farmers and former residents of Gush Katif are being forced into situations where they are dependent on other people's charity and good will. The once flourishing communities of Gush Katif are demanding to stay together as a community, while the government offers apartments spread out throughout the country. The government then decides to fine any expelled resident who does not accept the dispersed apartments suggested by the government. It seems that Sharon and his cadre want to disperse and destroy the spirit that was Gush Katif.

The darkness becomes more palpable.

One of the architects of the ill-fated Oslo plan is interviewed on Israeli radio. He is asked about the concerns regarding the distinct possibility that the Hamas will take over in the Gaza strip. He said "we need to change the disc in our heads. We have to realize that we are out of Gaza. It is none of our business". The reporter then asked him, "but what about the weapons and missiles that can be smuggled into Gaza?". He responded slightly irritated "You don't understand, it is none of our business, we are out of the Gaza strip. It doesn't matter to us." The reporter obediently mumbled, "Oh I see, thank you."

Complete nonsense is uttered in defense of a completely nonsensical plan and the media buys into the lie.

The darkness is now blinding.

Yet the points of light are being drawn together. Across the country, Jewish families are trying to express love, support and affection to the abandoned expelled families. Throughout the country the feelings one senses is not of pity and compassion for Sharon's refugees, but rather a deserving oustretched hand of support for brave brothers and sisters who are resting from a difficult and even tragic battle.

The light begins to shine.

The exiled community of Netzarim has decided to embark on their next mission for the people of Israel. They have decided to set up a community in the sand dunes of Halutza on the Sinai-Israel border. Since the expulsion this Egyptian Israeli border has become a source of great security concerns. With the border between Gaza and Egypt almost completely open, the unguarded Sinai-Israel border raises many questions and concern. Again, it is the same small group of pioneers who want to stand in that gap in the front lines of this country.

The light is beginning to disperse the shame and the darkness.

Last week I was doing a delivery run to one of the hotels housing the expelled Jews of Gush Katif. The residents of my Jerusalem neighborhood had collected toys and craft kits for the children of the makeshift kindergartens in the hotel. As I drove up to the hotel I saw the nursery group of two and three year olds playing in the park across from the hotel. With small tinny, shrill voices the children were singing a song that has moved and impassioned us all through these difficult months. The words were "Am HaNetsach Lo Mifached (The Eternal People Have No Fear of the Long Road)".

My eyes brimmed with tears as I thought that these children should have no idea what "eternal" means. They are still too young to understand the concept of a "people". Their young lives could not have equipped them with any basis to understand the meaning of the "long road."

Yet as I sat in my car listening, I realized that these young children raised in what was Gush Katif understand the ideas of "eternal" and "people" and "long voyage" more than most others.

Much more so than our Prime Minister.

The light has just begun to truly glow.

[ Published: September 25, 2005 ]

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