It is too bad the Zionist peace movements didn't join the human chain yesterday from the north Gaza settlement of Nisanit to the Western Wall through East Jerusalem. It is hard to imagine a route that better symbolizes the chasm separating the Gaza Strip from the State of Israel. "The chain" started outside Israeli jurisdiction and ended in East Jerusalem, which has been annexed to Israel from the formal-legal perspective.
All the governments, including distinctly right-wing governments, that have ruled in the past 37 years since the territories were occupied did not annex Dir El-Balach or even "City of the Patriarchs" Hebron.
No country in the world supports perpetuating Israeli occupation in the territories. In contrast, even the Palestinian leadership has recognized the Israeli bond to the Western Wall and expressed willingness to leave the Old City's Jewish Quarter and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem in Israeli hands. Even Arab states and the international community - headed by the U.S. - understood a long time ago that the situation in East Jerusalem will never go back to what it once was. Right-wing protesters, who planned to connected Nisanit and Jerusalem, ignored the gap between a small controversial sphere and official Israeli sovereignty.
In an article published in February in the settler magazine "Nekuda", National Union MK Arieh Eldad wrote that "the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel whether or not there are Arabs here, whether or not there is international agreement to our presence. The Land of Israel is the Jewish Homeland".
Eldad mentions that "Zionism is the movement to liberate the Land of Israel from foreign occupation, just like it is the movement to liberate the people of Israel from the slavery of exile."
Indeed, this is the summary of the Zionist idea. In order to implement Professor Eldad's logic, he and his settler friends should have been carrying huge signs yesterday calling for the liberation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank from the Arab foreign occupation, as he calls it.
As long as Nisanit and Hebron have not been "liberated", converted into inseparable parts of the state of Israel like East Jerusalem, the quarter of a million Jews living there are in the slavery of exile.
It is interesting that even while in the ruling coalition, the leaders of the extreme right did not propose annexing these "little strips of Israel" to the state of Israel. Even today, at the height of a struggle against the disengagement plan which they call the transfer of Jews from their homes, the settlers do not demand that Nisanit be annexed to their national home.
The conflict between the Zionist idea and Jewish life outside the jurisdiction of the Jewish state typifies not only the margins of the far right. It is also evident in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's call on French Jews to immigrate to Israel, when he himself - under cover of the disengagement from Gaza storm - is nurturing the Jews in the exile of "Judea and Samaria".
It is interesting what Sharon would say to French president Jacques Chirac, if Chirac were to ask why he doesn't call on the settlers to immigrate as well. Isn't the Jewish community in the West Bank a minority of the population, like the Jewish community in France? Are the Muslims of Marseilles more dangerous than the Muslims of Hebron?
If the Zionist mitzvah is bringing Jews to immigrate to the sovereign Jewish State in order to strengthen its Jewish characteristics, the chain pulling Jews into their homeland should start from the exile closest to home. Later, maybe, there will be peace, and then who knows, maybe our brethren from overseas may follow.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now