Let’s call their bluff.
The fence is a future border. Whatever, whoever is in will be residents of the State of Israel, whatever, whoever is out will lose their homes and land.
It’s that simple. And anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves or letting them selves be fooled. If it was about security the world wouldn’t be fighting us via the Hague. If it was about security it would exclude the Arabs of Wadi Ara. If it was about security it would not be running through peoples’ homes in Abu Dis.
Western Gush Etzion is in the national consensus. Even Barak, who was willing to give up the Temple Mount, wanted to hang on to the Gush. And those of us living here have a major role to play. Breathing a sigh of relief that we’re in, we’re safe, is betraying our responsibility, our position, our strength, our privilege in having the opportunity to do something for our nation. To hark back to the book of Esther that we read on Purim- Esther was safe in the palace, she could have saved herself. But she risked her life and everything she had in order to save the Jewish people. She took her position and used it for the good of her nation, taking a chance that by the whims of an unstable king she herself would die. She and Mordechai understood that it was all or nothing when it comes to being part of the chosen people, and that we must act. Pray- always- but do what we as simple human beings can do until we can do no more and then, and only then, leave it to G-d.
We the residents of Efrat and Gush Etzion are in the same position now. We are now Esther. We must refuse to be in the fence, fight the establishment of it, for if we are in the consensus but out of the fence then it will prove that the fence is not the future border. But if it is, then we all, every Israeli, need to be told that now. Establishing borders without a national agreement, or even a debate, is sneaky at best, chilling at worst. It’s certainly not what I learned in 11th grade democracy class. And we have the power now to call the bluff, to force the Prime Minister to explain that Efrat is in but Tekoa, Nokdim and other Jewish communities are out because it is his intention to ethnically cleanse eastern Gush Etzion from its’ Jews in the near future. Does it put us more at risk? Perhaps, though a fence provides little more than an illusion of security. The just arrested terror gang that was responsible for blowing up the last 2 buses in Jerusalem was planning on hijacking a bus from Efrat and taking it to Bethlehem, to strap the passenger/hostages with bombs and demand the release of terrorist murderers from prison-or else. The PLO/PA plans and implements bloody attacks everywhere in the country in singular pursuit of their oft-stated goal to replace all of Israel with â€˜Palestine’. The lesson from Gaza is that no fence will stop mortars, missiles and as we now know, even infiltrations into the highly secured port of Ashdod, either.
As Jews in general and Israelis in particular we have a responsibility to think not only of what’s good for us personally, but what is good for our people even if it entails personal sacrifice and risk. We have it in us, everyone who sends a son or daughter to the army is making that choice. It’s no different now.
Next week I go to Poland, to see the remnants of the Warsaw ghetto, Jews forced behind walls, only a brave few standing up to the enemy. We may be better groomed sheep now, but the result will be the same if we don’t wake up to the fact that this is a war for our very existence, and wars need to be fought to win. Appeasement? Been there, done that. This week I’ll weep at some of the six million graves that attest to the price that is paid for going that way.
Israelis deserve to be told straight out what this government intends to do and then decide if we collectively agree or not, for we will pay the collective price. We in Efrat can help uncover the bluff and demand to be told the truth. The Jewish people must worry not just about each other now but about debts we owe to the past and the necessity of protecting the rights and patrimony of future generations whom we represent as well. So much must be taken into account. Is this the way?