Wednesday August 20, 2014
Israel Hayom
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Emily Amrousi

Lower than a doormat

I read it twice to be sure I understood it correctly. This week, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (who only a week ago got five stars for her brilliant statement, "The ones who tried to harm us are not the same ones with whom we are holding, or will hold, peace talks") succeeded in redefining democracy with the following statement: "There is a majority for an agreement. Unfortunately, the politics of the Knesset or the government does not always represent that majority."

Well, then -- at a time when illegal infiltrators turn irate over the Interior Ministry's opening hours, say they are fed up with this country and start threatening to leave, we can also understand such convoluted doggerel. Now it is obvious why she is called, in Hebrew, "sarat ha-mishpatim" [the Hebrew word "mishpat" means both justice and a grammatical sentence]. She's got a new sentence every week. Give it a rest already!

Another person who ought to be taking a rest is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is forcing the nation that dwells in Zion to serve as surrogate mother to a creature whose entire essence is to destroy its own parent. It will sprout a dagger even as it is still inside the womb. What mother on earth would consent to carry a fetus like that? But we are screwed up, suffering from territorial anorexia, and in a hurry to nod our heads when Kerry says that construction in Ariel is preventing peace.

We have gotten so accustomed to that axiom that we do not jam on the brakes and come to a screeching halt when someone regurgitates it. We are so used to it that things have reached the point where construction can be an "appropriate Zionist response" to a large-scale terror attack or "compensation to the right wing" for releasing prisoners and letting murderers go free.

The latest equation creates a link of guilt between the settlers who "want to build" and terrorists who go free (as if there were now a dispute between the victims' families and the terrorists, as if this were not, many times, a case of overlapping identity). At the same time, this might be put another way: Instead of "issuing construction permits to appease the right wing over the release of terrorists," one might say: "releasing terrorists to appease the left wing over construction in the territories." Annoying, no? It is the same thing.

We need to build because it is necessary. Stop going on about how the tenders are recycled and old, that most of the construction is in Jerusalem, which was annexed as a single entity. Construction in Itamar ought to be like construction on the Golan Heights. It will not upset the Americans if it does not upset us. And I never saw Ohad Hemo of Channel 2 with aerial photographs of construction beginning in the moshavim of the Golan Heights or reporting in a dramatic tone about the number of concrete castings in Katzrin.

* * *

In ancient times, women used to accompany their husbands into battle wearing jewelry. This was their way of saying: You have a place to come back to, man; you have someone to fight for. Nearby, at the same time, the Talmud tells us: "Every man who went to war in the time of King David would write his wife a bill of divorce." This was intended to prevent the wives from becoming agunot -- unable to remarry because their husbands' fate was unknown. The result was chilling. A soldier would put on his armor and tell his wife: I do not know you; you may marry anyone you wish.

The soldiers of the house of David did not go to war to protect their wives or their homes, but for something greater, even if they had to pay a heavy price in terms of their personal or family life. Maimonides mentioned that anyone who thought of his wife when he went out to war committed a transgression. If a soldier carries a photograph of his wife in his wallet, that photograph will weaken him, not strengthen him.

According to the Jewish perspective, the Jewish nation is not some cooperative society whose members have joined together because of shared interests. Rather, an eternal and divine idea is embodied in the nation.

The families whose loved ones were murdered by the terrorists who were released this week made just claims. But it was the prime minister of Israel, not they, who should have made them. The release of murderers is not the problem of several dozen families, but the problem of a nation whose honor is lower than a doormat.

Just like we do not go to war for wife and children, we should not stop releasing terrorists for their sake. Instead, we should do that for what is known as the people of Israel, which has become a laughingstock. An inverted Nazi salute on the soccer pitch, a victory sign toward the horizon. We are being walked on, and we call it a massage.

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