Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wisdom from Naomi

As promised, Naomi Ragen's reflection on the present situation:

The Gathering Storm
By Naomi Ragen

Friends, Some of you have commented that I'm sending out much lessmaterial of late. This is not your imagination. As I sit in my little study in Jerusalem, overlooking the rolling hills where David once fought Goliath, I feel overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness as day after day the news gets worse and worse.

There is a line from I, Claudius, the mini-series on ancient Rome based on Robert Graves wonderful book that keeps going through my head. It is spoken by Claudius, the reluctant emperor who wishes to bring back the Republic and end the corrupt monarchy. He says: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out."

What Claudius means, is let the horrors brought about by perversions and lies and corruption come to fruition so that people will clearly see what a state their world is in, and work for change.

We are definitely in the mud. Israeli leadership is the most incompetent and corrupt in her history. Everyone from our Prime Minister to our President is under investigation from everything from bribe-taking to rape. After all the bitter lessons of the fake Oslo Accords, that had our children dying in the streets, we have learned nothing, as Olmert goes once again to the Americans with yet another deadly plan to give our enemies more land, and with it, more opportunity, to kill us.

It's not that Israelis don't know what is going on. They do. But people are overwhelmed by the sheer pace of events that unfold with frightening speed from month to month. Still reeling from the rocket attacks on the North, we must deal with daily rocket attacks on our South and the huge weapons influx from the Philadelphi Corridor, once closely guarded by the IDF, which is now open to endless weapons imports from Egypt, thanks to a decision made by people like Mofaz and Halutz to withdraw. Every day, some other suicide bomber is apprehended. You don't hear about it, because we don't die, but that doesn't mean our enemies have stopped trying to kill us.

Some people - the reserve officers whose lives were risked in the last debacle in Lebanon- have had the gumption to rally to bring down the corrupt government, but most of us are mired in confusion and simple fatigue. We get sidetracked by foolishness, like the decision to turn Jerusalem into a world-wide venue for gay rights activism, an idea that backfired, exposing fanaticism and hatred on all sides. No, I didn't think the parade was a good idea, but I was equally appalled by the violence and destruction wreaked on Jerusalem by the parade's opponents.

I also found the activism against gay rights by the Chief Rabbinate to be the height of hypocrisy. So concerned are they with Jewish law and the holiness of the Jewish people that Chief Rabbi Amar (whose own family was arrested not long ago for assault and battery on his daughter's suitor) cancelled the much anticipated Agunah Conference. The Conference would have brought together Orthodox rabbis from all over the world in a historic effort to come up with halachic solutions to Jewish laws that encourage the blackmail and extortion of Jewish women seeking a divorce, laws which have turned the Jewish marriage ceremony into a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

And while we focus all our time and energy on these ridiculous little tempests in teapots, Iran goes on building her atom bomb unimpeded, a bomb with our name on it. Olmert smiles at us from the front page of newspapers as he shakes the hand of a smiling lame duck president, confident that the U.S. is going to stop Iran and save us. His own sons already live in America, so I guess he isn't very worried. But mine live here in Israel, and I am. The world seems mired in the same kind of lethargy and Jew-hatred which preceded the Holocaust.

Open any news channel, read any newspaper, and the story line continues to be the poor Palestinians, even though they continue to support the most corrupt, violent and dysfunctional regime on earth. The lies covering up Islamic extremism and its agenda worldwide continue to be flaunted by trendy films, TV shows, Hollywood"stars", once-respectable newspapers, public-funded radio shows.

The victory of the Democrats over the Republicans while certainly in response to the Bush administration's many failures, also no doubt shows a weakening of the resolve to face the terrorist threat head-on, and a desire to believe that there is another, easier way to secure our freedoms, the way of negotiation, of easing the "grievances"that the Muslims have against the West. As Brigitte Gabriel writes in her amazing book, Because They Hate: "Theirgrievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our democratic process.''

The Jews of America, who could do so much to strengthentheir sisters and brothers in Israel, continue to be influenced by the anti-Israel propaganda. That a large portion of funds raised for the Israeli victims of the war in Lebanon by the UJC were earmarked for Israeli Arabs, who openly sided with Nasrallah, is one symptom. The complete abandonment of the Jews of Gush Katif by American Jewry, so eager to help Arabs, is another. The government is supposedly helping them, you'll hear these people say. It's their own fault for not signing on the dotted line in time, for resisting government policy. The fact that everyone, even those who did sign, remain jobless, homeless and poverty-stricken because of their crime of living in an area that defended Israel's south from terrorist bombardment for many years, is unforgivable.

It's as if we Jews have adopted the "hate the settler" philosophy of our enemies, and wish to join the forces that want them punished for their crime of being Zionists, and patriots,and self-sacrificing, and loyal.

Jonathan Pollard, the spy who did not harm anyone, or anyAmerican interest, remains behind bars because he is a Jew who helped Israel, having long ago paid for any wrong doing, serving more time than spies who gave information to America's worst enemies and caused irreparable damage to her security. And Jews are afraid to stand up for him. That is another sign.

The rockets continue to fall on Sderot and the Negev from Gaza. Each time we try to stop it, the world press gathers like jackals to condemn us. Misinformation, outright propaganda abounds. I'm sick of it.It's like emptying a flooded cruise liner with a teaspoon.

In his book "The Gathering Storm," Churchill wrote: "How easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented: how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous; how the structure and habits of democratic States.... lack those elements of persistence and conviction which can alone give security to humblemasses; how, even, in matters of self-preservation, no policy is pursued for even ten or fifteen years at a time. We shall see how the counsel of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger; how the middle course adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life maybe found to lead direct to the bull's-eye of disaster." Perhaps we have passed the point of no return. Perhaps our accumulated mistakes and crimes have created a downhill momentum that can no longer be stopped by human effort, but only Godly intervention, i.e. a miracle.

Churchill wrotethat he gained comfort from the fact that when Nazi Germany finally showed her true face, in a way that even the most naive could not ignore, "my warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me....I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams."

I doubt that the storm that is gathering, threatening all we love, and cherish and believe in, will allow us even that scant comfort. I do not want to be "terribly vindicated." I want to live out my life, and die in a good old age, my children and grandchildren safe and healthy around me, free citizens in the land of their forefathers.

This is my dream. May God help us.

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