|Ofra before destruction. Photo Credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90|
It surprised me somewhat to discover recently that the Israeli problem of throwing Jews out of their properties goes at least as far back as the prophet Yehezkel (Ezekiel). He conveys a very important message from haShem in perek 45, pasuk 9:
|9 So said the Lord God: Enough, princes of Israel; remove violence and plunder, and perform justice and righteousness; take away your evictions from My people, says the Lord God.||ט כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה רַב לָכֶם נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל חָמָס וָשֹׁד הָסִירוּ וּמִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עֲשׂוּ הָרִימוּ גְרֻשֹׁתֵיכֶם מֵעַל עַמִּי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה:|
|RASHI: take away your evictions: Take away [your practice] of evicting My people from their inherited property.|
This, after describing how we are to take a portion of land from what we were given and, in the process of dividing it amongst the Twelve Tribes, setting aside a portion for Him and His sanctuary. Apparently, the separation of Holy Ground from the Jewish people is keeping us separated from haShem - which, of course, is what the enemies of Israel want with all their hearts!
The book Yechezkel, from the Artscroll Tanach series, comments further (pages 710-11):
Enough for you, princes of Israel!
This is a call to the former kings of Judah, who have been demoted to the level of princes by the Babylonian conquerors. The robbery and rapine (plundering -CDG) which you have practiced in the past must cease; instead, you must practice justice and righteousness (Metzudos).
Malbim offers an interpretation which looks to the future: You will have ample property, O princes of Israel...There is no need for you to practice robbery and rapine. My dispositions are such that you can practice justice and righteousness.How relevant this is today, both the taxes and the evictions! Israelis even refer to the gerush of Gush Katif. Hitnatkut (self-disconnection -CDG), the official designation for this event in 2005, which everyone knows by now was totally the wrong way to go, is far too sterile a term for us.
Desist from your evictions of My people [lit. remove your evictions from My people].
[Artscroll's translation -CDG]: Stop evicting My people from their properties (Rashi).
Radak and Metzudos hold that [the root letters -CDG] גרש can mean to throw or to impose. The meaning is: Desist from imposing [unfair] taxes upon My people.
Amona was just the latest (and hopefully, the last) in a long series of summary evictions of Jews in Israel (or in the terms of the evictors, near Israel but in what they consider to be Palestinian territory, after many years of Arabs never reporting about it), which would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world.
It turns out that many factors were brought to bear in this latest tearing out of Jewish roots (and its upcoming continuation within Ofra, may it be erased. Can we make up our mind as to what we are doing?). Among these are:
1. The insistence of Israeli politicians and media that we must depend on military support, and therefore take orders, from the United States.
2. At least one leftist Member of Knesset asserts that our High Court of Justice (definitely not the right name for them!) makes laws rather than forming their judgments around laws made by proper lawmakers (in our case, the Knesset). Both of these factors are further discussed here.
3. The demonization of the settlers of Yehuda and the Shomron - making settler a dirty word; in the words of former US consul in Yerushalayim Phillip Wilcox, Jewish settlers are niggers (longtime investigative journalist David Bedein's recently-published interpretation) with no human rights (see there for the exact quote, from 1990.). There, I've written it. (It's the first time I've used this highly pejorative term in more than 50 years. We don't like it any more than black people do!)
4. The established fact that the above-mentioned High Court places anti-settlement justices in charge of settlers' cases in order to prejudice the outcome.
5. We have been internalizing everyone else's narratives that we forget we are even a nation.
6. We have spent so much time fighting for our survival in little communities, ghettos and mellahs as well as in the big cities of just about everywhere, outside our land. We can't internalize what real sovereignty means, for us. To make it worse, our government, particularly the High Court, indulges in political warfare against a certain segment of Israeli society: the settlers (who actually prefer the term mitnahalim, inheritors).
7. We are easy to divide and conquer. No need for links on this one. I think we all know it; we have a term for it: sinath hinam, literally hatred of those who are free (and thus, our own freedom). The questions are: Why? and How do we stop it? Do we dare NOT trust HaQadosh Barukh Hu???
I agree with many others greater than I that we must dare to trust Him. It is the only way out of the morass we have been living through these last couple of thousand years. As Moshe Feiglin, whose new party Zehut focuses on life with Jewish identity, says, ultimately it isn't the fault of the High Court or the Left — it is we ordinary citizens who must divest ourselves from our ongoing dysfunctions that we have become so used to that we can't recognize when we are giving in even when we don't have to (my words, but see here - video, 11:52. If you don't understand Hebrew, turn on Closed Captions for English. Here is another opportunity to identify some of the points listed above). Internal corruption also plays a prominent role, as the program there points out. And so far, we haven't been able to stop the calling of the Jewish desire to simply survive as Jews an extremist view! What happened to "live and let live"?
But, Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher says, in the video below, that the High Court (he calls it the Low Court 😉) are for the most part Erev Rav; they showed it most recently by fighting the government itself for the destruction of Amona, and they show it every time they arrogate to themselves the right to make up law as they go.
Take courage, faithful Jews! Geula is almost here!
Current Events in the Haftarah: Bo 5777
Even more reading & listening:
BULLETPROOF: What will happen now to the Residents of Amona? | The Most Heroic at Amona - The "Violent" Youth | Whoever Strikes a Jew Strikes G-d | Jeremy Gimpel's son Lavi is planting 1,000 trees in Gush Etzion for his Bar Mitzvah |