Ready to Cross Lines

The battle for Israeli sovereignty is taking place in the fields on the way to Kfar Maimon in the south of the country.

They stood in long lines, the youths of the rule of law and the youths of total belief. One was silent and scared, the other was pressuring for refusal. One was idle, the other was calling out, "Jews don't banish Jews."

At 9:30 P.M., Border Police officers stopped the orange march, two kilometers from Netivot. Was there really a need? Was it right to use Israel Defense Forces soldiers to stop a civilian rally inside sovereign Israeli territory?

At 10:30 P.M., none of this mattered. The dynamics of arbitrariness on the one hand and unsupervised rebellion on the other had taken their toll. Spread out on the yellow fields was a sight that looked like it came out of pictures of wars in the Middle Ages. There were long lines of police officers and soldiers and Border Police officers, and there were masses of religious warriors. And the cry echoing into the night: Soldier, police officer - refuse orders. Soldier, police officer - refuse orders.

Will Israel survive this summer? One would assume so. But the first evening of the struggle between disengagement and those who don't want it was very worrying. It exposed unqualified readiness on both sides to trample norms, to cross lines. If the national behavior and the settlers' behavior don't settle down, they could transform the evacuation of Gush Katif into an unprecedented trauma of identity.