Israel, Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy, Short Fiction, Career Guidance

Location: Israel

Monday, August 22, 2005

Response on use of Nazi comparison

Dear R,

I respectfully disagree. I expect only time will tell how things develop, which I hope will only be for the best, and such analogies will no longer be necessary or come to mind.

I at least have come to terms with the anti-religious bend of the institutions and centers of power in Israel. While I don't believe that they wish to kill us physically, I do believe they want to diminish us in every other way (perhaps it is less of a Purim-like threat and more of a Chanukah-like one).

I agree that part of the solution is to be closer with the average secular Israeli Jew which our community has not been so good at, and I attribute as part of the reason for current events. However, there is an important and influential minority, who have developed a large squad of officers who are comfortable inflicting pain on Jews. This same minority is hyper-sensitive to the concerns of a large population of Arabs that would be happy with us dead.

I am not sure that I should feel brotherly love for this group of deeply assimilated, hateful, anti-religious Israeli Jews and the institutions they lead in their current state. We are on diametrically oppossed paths, with little or no common-denominator. Others have stated that they are pushing the Dati-Leumi crowd into a corner and forcing them to choose between allegiance to the State (in its current makeup) and allegiance to God. If the two are not now compatible nor have a common purpose, I know where I stand.

It is similar to the recurring argument about politicians that try to influence the goverments "from within" or at what point they leave it because they don't want to be associated with it. I believe these questions will come up on a larger scale.

This past week for me in Gush Katif was traumatic on various levels. I am not the first nor will I be the last to make comparisons to the Nazis -- even people that went through the Holocaust are saying the same. I am not making this comparison to be alarmist or to cheapen the use of the term. The comparison comes unbidden. What makes it even more painful is that it is our brothers doing this.

My general sense was that the Police and especially the Yasam units had no problem being rough and implementing these orders. I know it was very difficult though for many of the soldiers. The poor boys and girls were also victims in a sense, and were used and pressured to be a part of it. Typically, they only did one forceful eviction and were then rotated. Just the one eviction burned many of them out and I fear for their long-term psycological health.

This past week has been a big step backwards for the Jewish State. I'm not sure what the best way forward is, either on an individual level or a community one.

I'm sorry that you're offended and find my arguments unnacceptable. For me it was a very real and frightening experience that fills me with dread. Perhaps I should call them Hellenists -- but emotionally that term has no meaning for me. From personal family history and education I know what a Nazi means. I know how things started there, and whether we care to admit it or not, there are unarguable parallels.

There was also a lot of bravery, strength and compassion evident in the more humane soldiers and that gives me a measure of hope.

May we just have good notices and an end to sorrow.



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