Tuesday, November 01, 2005

With My Back to the Sea by Daniel pinner

The 29th day of Elul, the final day of 5765. A time for soul-searching, both personally and nationally. Today is the final time, before the Trial begins, to plead for mercy from the Judge. It is 104 days since I was arrested. The charge against me is simple. On Shabbat, three-and-a-half-months ago, I was strolling along the sea-front in Gush Katif (of blessed memory) when I was attacked by about 50 Arabs throwing rocks. With nowhere to go but heaven, hell or the ocean, I fired a few warning shots in the air, and, as the Arabs ducked, I retreated to the hotel in Hof Dekalim. Of course, I could have exercised havlaga (restraint), taken my chances on living or dying, and avoided court. That way, I could also have saved the Israeli police and court system a lot of unnecessary work. Actually, come to think of it, my situation was almost a paradigm of Israel: my back to the sea, surrounded by Arabs intent on my annihilation, outnumbered about 50 to 1 - and in the dock for the crime of having defended myself. In 1967, Israel had her back to the sea, surrounded by implacably hostile Arab states intent on her annihilation, outnumbered on all fronts. If, at that time, Israel would not have defended herself, then she could have won world sympathy - the sympathy that is always accorded dead Jews - and would have saved the United Nations so much time consumed in Security Council meetings condemning Israeli aggression. The famous Israeli satirist, Ephraim Kishon, expressed it succinctly in the title of his book So Sorry We Won! Maybe I should paraphrase this in the Israeli court: "So sorry I survived!" Israel's prime minister during the Six Day War, Levi Eshkol, conveyed the national mood: "We won the war," he said, "and thereby lost world sympathy." Tough. But we would rather that than the other way 'round. For myself - to paraphrase Rabbi Meir Kahane - I would rather have the court's condemnation than the media's eulogies. But now, in this time of judgment - when "all who walk in the world pass by Him like lambs" (Mishnah, Rosh HaShanah 1:2) - now is the time to pray for compassion for all Jews who are imprisoned for being loyal to Israel: For Shimshon Avichay ben Liora Chava, attacked in Gush Katif three months ago, and accused of attempted murder; For Tzviya bat Rut, who entered Sa-Nur "illegally" a couple of weeks ago, and is now alone, in solitary confinement, in N'vei Tirtzah prison - and she is just 16 years old. Above all, for the State of Israel, which has so lost its bearings, its ideological compass, its conscience. May the House of Israel merit to be inscribed in the Book of Life for the year 5766; and may we all merit to see the return of justice to Israel.

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