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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Woe Unto Israel - A Lament for Leadership - Reprint from The Muqata

Woe Unto Israel - A Lament for Leadership

This is a reprint of Jameel's important posting from last night.

It's the evening of Tisha B'Av now in Israel. The day Jews mourn the destruction of the Jewish Temples and other calamities that have befallen the Jewish people.

I already sat on the floor of our shul, and heard "Eicha" -- The Book of Lamentations, and thought long and hard about this posting.

The stated cause of the destruction of the Second Temple 2000 years ago, was that of "sin'at chinam" -- baseless hated among the Jewish people. For the past 3 weeks since the start of the war, I have tried to to put politics aside, and let the Israeli Prime Minister run the war as best as he sees fit.

I have encouraged a united front, and encouraged Jews around the world to unite against our common enemy -- so that we bring our kidnapped IDF soldiers safely home, remove the missile threat of Hizbolla from South Lebanon, and instill the fear of the IDF into the Palestinians in Gaza, so that they realize it's not worthwhile to shoot rockets at Israel.

However, tonight, I can no longer remain silent.

As awful as it is to write this on Tisha B'Av, I have checked and rechecked myself to make sure that the source of this posting is not based on sin'at chinam -- needless hatred.

Today, the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, has showed the world his true colors -- that the unity of Israel is unimportant to him. Olmert said:

"Israel's victory in Lebanon will give a new momentum to complete the disengagement from the Palestinians by evacuating most settlements in Judea and Samaria." YNETNEWS

At a time when Israel needs its unity the most, when rightwing/leftwing, secular and religious soldiers are fighting shoulder to shoulder in South Lebanon and Gaza, when rockets are falling on civilians of all walks of life and shades of Israel -- more than anything we need unity, NOW.

And yet, Olmert decided that now, the day before Tisha B'Av, on the one year anniversary of the destruction of Gush Katif, is the perfect time for him to announce that his "convergence" plan of the evacuation and destruction of many more settlements in the West Bank, will be served by a victory in Lebanon.

There were many who said that the national-religious youth would shun the IDF as a result of the Disengagement, yet they are still signing up in droves for the most elite of combat units. This war is being fought by the IDF -- the unified army of Israel, for the protection of the State of Israel.

And yet, Olmert has ulterior motives for this war?

There's a story running around in my head since last week, that I can't let go of.

Major Roi Klein...IDF combat officer...who gave his life fighting last week in Bint Jebail, South Lebanon.

Major Roi Klein...just shy of his 31rst birthday from the hilltop settlement of Eli. He was married with 2 young boys...and went off to battle in South Lebanon.

While leading the charge against a Hizbolla terrorist position, a grenade was thrown at his IDF platoon, and Roi made the decision to jump on top of the grenade. Falling flat over it, his body absorbed the explosion -- saving the lives of the soldiers under his command.

What goes through the mind of a soldier, a husband, a father when he sees the grenade being thrown at him, and the split second decision that will end his life, yet save those around him?

This noble Jewish soldier not only sacrificed his life, Al Kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d by defending the Jewish State, but in the process, saved the individual lives of his fellow soldiers around him. Every soldier's life he saved was a world in and of itself.

And those soldiers whose lives were saved all told the same story...that as he jumped on the grenade, everyone was able to hear him say, "Shma Yisrael, Hashem Elokaynu, Hashem Echad." (Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One)

Over the past week, Olmert has cynically invoked this story of Roi Klein and now professes that the purpose of the war is to promote his political plan of the "convergence". Olmert knows perfectly well that bombastic statements at this point in time will only serve to rile up the right wing. Roi Klein's widow and children live in Eli -- a settlement slated for destruction by Olmert's convergence plan -- and now he says that the war in Lebanon -- Roi Klein's heroic death, will serve to springboard that PLAN?!

This week, Olmert sent the Israeli Police to "unauthorized" hilltop outposts -- the very same ones that Ariel Sharon encouraged to be built -- and the police served destruction/eviction orders. Unfortunately, many of the husbands of those caravans didn't receive the "orders" and their wives did instead. That's because their husbands are currently fighting in South Lebanon in the IDF.

We can not be silent any more. There is a limit to how much Am Yisrael can stomach for the sake of unity, when the Prime Minister of Israel is purposely acting divisively to achieve his own narrow political goals...during wartime!

And you know what? Olmert is entitled to his political opinion as Prime Minister, and he is even entitled to try and push his plan forward.

However, to do so now, during wartime, intentionally targeting the settlers who are showing incredible loyalty to a State which turned it's back on them last year, who are fighting as one in a war of survival for the Jewish State -- shows incredible cynicism, small mindedness, and I'm sad to say...evil.

And for Olmert to say so on the day before Tisha B'Av...shows that he is not worthy of leading the Jewish State.

I seriously suggest you take a minute to send PM Olmert and his staff a comment on how the Prime Minister of Israel is acting. And if you really are incensed by his words and actions -- then pass this along to others.

A Meaningful Tisha B'Av to the Entire Jewish People,


You can send Olmert and his staff your comments at the following locations:

By Web Form: Here
By Email: pm_eng@pmo.gov.il
By Fac: [+972]-2-670-5475
By Phone: [+972] -2-670-5555

Rachael Risby-Raz
Diaspora Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister
Phone; 02-6706182
Fax: 02-6706179

Erez Halfon
Advisor to the Prime Minister
Phone; 02-670-5235
Fax; 02-651-0630

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin


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