Jews over the line
By reinstating the Green Line on maps, Yuli Tamir is instituting a kind of ideological persecution against the more than a quarter of a million Jewish citizens who live in Judea and Samaria.
Even more than she is sinning against historic truth in her desire to restore the Green Line to school maps, Education Minister Yuli Tamir is sinning by separating and distancing the community that lives "over the line" from the Israeli collective. Tamir is not only a former leader of Peace Now, one of those who charted the movement's course; she is also a graduate of countless dialogues, "covenants of brothers" and similar activities, whose purpose was to preserve the weakening Jewish Israeli fabric. But by reinstating the Green Line on maps, Tamir is instituting a kind of ideological persecution against the more than a quarter of a million Jewish citizens who live in Judea and Samaria.
As if the difficult feelings of expulsion that, ever since the destruction of Gush Katif, have accompanied most Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria - both as a disaster that actually happened and as a threat that continues to hover over them - were not enough; as if the route of the separation wall and fence - which, it is clear to all, does not merely mark a security border - were not enough; as if the expressions of hatred by the leftist "cultural" elite were not enough; now, the education minister comes along and wants to put a seal on this feeling of separation.
Tamir apparently fails to understand that this seal is also liable to push additional precious portions of this public outside the camp, making them despair of the State of Israel and feel that they must close themselves off in their own ghettos. These people, instead of integrating into society and influencing its way forward, are constructing paths of isolation and alienation for themselves.
Elyakim Ha'etzni, who is not among the despairers, recently published a pamphlet called "The Shock of the Retreat in the Land of Israel," in which he describes the "terrible vision of the separation of the State of Israel from the Land of Israel." Ha'etzni warns that this will result in Jewish residents of the country identifying solely with the land, and not with the state, which has turned its back on the land and on them.
Granted, Ha'etzni is writing about the future when he describes a "new existence that we have never yet tried - Jews living in the land of Israel but outside the State of Israel," and he is referring to this as a possibility in geographic terms. But the existence we are experiencing now is even more dangerous: Jews who live in the land of Israel, but feel as if they were outside the State of Israel; Jews who feel like exiles in their own land and are alienated from their state and its institutions. And this is all happening even before the projected withdrawal, may it not happen.
These are people who view the Israel Police and the courts as biased agencies lacking all integrity. And unfortunately, in recent years, these agencies have given grounds for one to see them in that way. They include some who are distancing themselves from the symbols that tied them to the state - the flag, or certain prayers - and are liable to distance themselves still further in the future. From the standpoint of this public, Tamir's step merely legitimizes the separatist path.
In last Friday's Makor Rishon newspaper, Bentzi Lieberman, the outgoing chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements, defined the summer 2005 demonstration in Kfar Maimon as "the Archimedes point in the history of settlement in Yesha" (a Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza). Lieberman explained why he and his colleagues, including rabbis affiliated with Rabbi Avraham Shapira, refrained from ordering the tens of thousands of demonstrators to break through the fences. "At Kfar Maimon, the Yesha Council stated clearly and publicly that without the Israeli people and Israeli society, the settlement [movement] has no validity. Yesha residents and their supporters must not become confused. They are first and foremost emissaries of the nation," Lieberman said.
Tamir is not only mistaken and misleading, both historically and factually; she is also weakening the approach that seeks not to break the rope. Tamir and her colleagues lack the wisdom and generosity of victors. They are capable of understanding the "Palestinian dream," even those aspects of it that endanger us, and of feeling empathy for it. They can even accept maps that show Palestine covering the entire length and breadth of the western land of Israel, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River - because in any case, they claim, this is a dream that will never come true, so why not let them dream? But they are not capable of relating similarly, not to mention preferentially, to the Jewish dream of those who have already been uprooted from their houses, or, heaven forbid, are slated to be so uprooted.