Thursday, January 15, 2009

ישראל, היום וכל יום Israel, Today and every day

As some may know, ever since my year in Israel on Nativ I have greatly enjoyed reading the news from Israel not on CNN or Fox, but from Israeli sources, in Hebrew. My favorite source for quick, up to the minute news has always been from the Ma'ariv newspaper, online at . Recently, I discovered that the Yisrael Hayom newspaper, which is distributed free at bus stations around Israel (though a little more serious that its counterpart Metro), is available online in full, which provides the opportunity to read articles in their original context.
As I'm sure many others have been doing, I've been reading the news very frequently as I try to follow what's going on in Israel during her current time of great need. While sometimes I am only able to skim headlines, I had the pleasure of reading through this fascinating opinion piece that appeared in Yisrael Hayom on Monday. I hope that my translation helps to bring a taste of the authentic Israeli press to a wider audience, and that I'm able to capture the essence and style of the article:
לא להחמיץ את ההזדמנות
"את קרתגו צריך להחריב."זו היתה שורת הסיום של כל נאום שנשא קאטו "הזקן" מדינאי רומי קשיש ורב-מוניטין בשנים שקדמו ל150-לפני הספירה. קרתגו היתה אויבתה המרה של רומא הרפובליקה הצעירה והדינאמית. היא גם היתה האויב האחד שכמעט השמיד את רומא בסדרה של מלחמות שבשיאן הביס חניבעל הקרתגני את צבאות רומא והיה כמטחווי-יד מכיבוש העיר. חמישים שנה קודם לכן בשנת 202 לפני הספירה הצליחה רומא לנצח את קרתגו והשפילה אותה עד עפר. אבל קרתגו התאוששה ובעיני קאטו היא היתה איום מתמיד על עתיד הרומאים. "שלום וברית" אמר "הם רק כסות עיניים לאנשי קרתגו לדחות את המלחמה נגדנו עד שתבוא לידם שעת כושר.""Delenda Carthago"אמר קאטו בלטינית - את קרתגו צריך להחריב. והוא שיקף את דעת הקהל הרומית שסברה כמוהו. רוח של התנדבות פשתה בקרב הרומאים ליגיונות גויסו ופלשו לאפריקה - וקרתגו הובסה לבסוף ונמחתה מעל פני האדמה. מדינת חמאסטן היא הקרתגו שלנו. אנחנו לא רוצים להחריב את העם הפלשתיני אבל שלטון החמאס הוא יעד לגיטימי. חמאסטן קמה בעזה בשל אוזלת יד וקוצר ראות. החמאס עלה לשלטון באופן דמוקרטי - בבחירות שהוא לא היה אמור להשתתף בהן אך הקלפיות נפתחו בפניו בגלל לחצו של הנשיא בוש לדמוקרטיזציה ובאישור ראש הממשלה אולמרט. מרגע הקמתה היתה ההתנגשות עימה בלתי נמנעת. כזרוע ארוכה של איראן ושל האיסלאם הקיצוני כישות טרור כמייצגת אידיאולוגיה של השמדת ישראל - הישות החמאסית היתה מתחילת דרכה האויב המוחלט. אפל רע בלתי ניתן לשכנוע. ללא בסיס כלשהו למו"מ. הכתובת היתה על הקיר. שדרות אשקלון אשדוד באר שבע גדרה. ה"תהדייה" היתה טעות; מבצע "עופרת יצוקה" הוא ההזדמנות לתקנה. שני מקרים בהיסטוריה לעולם אינם זהים בוודאי לא בהפרש של אלפי שנים. ישראל אינה רומא ואין לה שאיפות אימפריאליסטיות ובוודאי לא רצון להחריב עם שלם. העזתים אינה קרתגנים. אבל ההיסטוריה בכל זאת מלמדת אותנו משהו. ישראל יצאה למבצע בעזה תוך הגדרת מטרות מוגבלות בלבד. גם אם הללו יושגו תישאר המציאות של חמאסטן - אורבת ומחכה להזדמנות הבאה לפגוע בנו. מהמלחמה הזו אסור שחמאס ייצא על הרגליים. המלחמה בעזה חייבת להביא להפלת חמאסטן. ישראל אינה נלחמת בעם הפלשתיני אלא בשלטון הרוע שהם בחרו לעצמם שם בעזה. את השלטון הזה צריך להפיל וזה לא בלתי אפשרי. צריך ממילא לכבוש את כל הרצועה כי זו הדרך לשים יד על הרקטות. אז גם אפשר יהיה לבוא חשבון עם צמרת החמאס. הישראלים מפגינים כיום עוז-רוח ורוח התנדבות כדרך ששנים רבות לא הפגינו. הלוחמים רוצים להילחם; המילואים רוצים להתגייס; העורף מוכן לספוג. ואם יאמר מישהו כי אין זה תפקידה של ישראל להתערב בפוליטיקה הפנימית של הפלשתינים - הוא טועה. כאשר בעלות הברית הביסו את גרמניה הנאצית הן כפו על האוכלוסייה את ה"דהנאציפיקציה" - חיסול השלטון הנאצי שעלה גם הוא בשיטות דמוקרטיות. בעזה נדרשת עתה "דהחמאסיזציה." נוצרה הזדמנות היסטורית וחבל יהיה שתסתיים בהחמצה היסטורית.

Not to Pass up an Opportunity
by Amos Regev

"Carthage must be destroyed" served as the closing sentence of each address given by Cato 'the Wise', the elderly and highly regarded Roman statesman in the years leading up to 150 BCE. Carthage was the bitter enemy of the dynamic and young Roman republic. It was also the only enemy that nearly destroyed Rome in a campaign of battles at whose height Hanniabal of Carthage overwhelmed the Roman forces and nearly captured the city.
Fifty years prior, in 202, Rome was victorious against Carthage and almost fully defeated it. However, Carthge recovered, and was predicted by Cato to be a constant enemy for Rome in the future. He said, "Peace and covenants are only a tool for the people of Carthage to put off the war against us until the advantageous hour arrives.
Delenda Carthago Cato said in Latin -- Carthage must be destroyed -- and he captured the minds of the Roman populous who felt similarly to him. A spirit of voluntarism arose among the Romans, and legions were raised and dispatched to Africa. In the end, Carthage was defeated and erased from the face of the earth.

The state of Hamasistan is our Carthage. We do not wish to destroy the Palestinian people, but the Hamas goverment is a legitimate target. Hamasistan arose in Gaza through a lack of foresight. Hamas came to power in a democratic manner, in an election in which it should not have been allowed to participate. Yet the polls opened with the support of President Bush's democracy initiatives, and the blessing of PM Olmert. From the moment of Hamas's establishment, our clash with it has been without pause. As an extension of Iran and radical Islam, acting as a terrorist organization with an ideology of Israel's destruction, the Hamas leadership was from the start a sworn enemy of Israel. This dark and evil was beyond any means of convincing, and we were without any basis for which to begin negotiations.

The writing was on the wall. Sderot. Ashkelon. Ashdod. Be'er Sheva. Gedera. The 'cease-fire' was a mistake; Operation Cast Lead may be a means with which to rectify it.

Two historical occurrences cannot be fully compared, especially with a gap of 2000 years. Israel is not Rome, not having any ambitions to create an empire and certainly not wishing to annihilate an entire nation. The Gazans are not Carthageans. However, history still has lessons to teach us. Israel is entering Gaza with specific goals and targets, and even if it achieves them Hasmasistan will remain, lying in wait for the next opportunity to attack us.

It is not feasible that Hamas can still be left standing on its feet at the end of the war. The war in Gaza must bring about the overthrow of Hamas. Israel is not fighting against the Palestinian people, but against the evil government that they chose for themselves there in Gaza. This rule must be toppled, and it is not impossible. We must therefore conquer the entire territory, for this is the only method through which to stop the rockets. Then, we will also be able to come to a reckoning with the apparatus of Hamas.

The Israelis are demonstrating today a spirit of strength and participation which has not been seen for many years. The active-duty soldiers wish to fight, and the reserves wish to be called up - the burden is ready to be removed.

And if one wishes to say that it is not Israel's place to meddle in the Palestinians's internal politics, they are mistaken. Just as when the allies conquered Germany in World War II, its citizens were forced to go through a process of Denazification, to destroy the Nazi regime which also arose through democratic means, Gaza must also go through a process of Dehamasification. It would be a shame to pass up this historical opportunity which has come to hand.
While not every word of this article represents my personal opinion, it is surely very erudite and convincing. In any event, is is very enlightening to read Regev's views and reflections, as an Israeli living through this danger and not as an 'armchair general.' As well, as a history buff (and almost officially, a history major), I can also strongly appreciate the many historical allusions given in the article.

As a student of Torah as well, I can not help but connect the current, scary situation of Southern Israel with this week's Parasha of Sh'mot, in which the Israelites are transformed from a family of seventy souls to a true nation, and are first enslaved in Egypt. At the conclusion of Sh'mot Chapter 2, we are told that the Pharaoh had did, and that the people cried out to God from their pain and suffering. The children and families of S'derot and the Western Negev are crying out for safety and justice; While we of course pray to God to hear their cry, we can also hope in something that should not be so distant, that the world will reciognize their suffering and the justice of Israel's response, however difficult it may be.

On a very final note, I would like to reiterate a point brought up by Rabbi Howard Morrison in his sermon this past Shabbat, about the significance of the naming of this operation as Cast Lead - עופרת יצוקה. It may seem odd at first, as did to me, but Jewish children around the world would share my feeling of 'I should have known that!' when they discover that it comes from a well-known children's Hannukkah song adapted from a poem by Hayim Nahman Bialik.

אָבִי נָתַן, נָתַן סְבִיבוֹן,
סְבִיבוֹן מֵעוֹפֶרֶת יְצוּקָה.
יוֹדְעִים אַתֶּם לִכְבוֹד מַה?
לִכְבוֹד הַחֲנֻכָּה!
My father gave me a dreidl, a dreidl made of cast lead. Do you know in whose honor it is? In honor of Hannukkah!
While I'm not sure of the exact intention wen Tzahal named this operation, it is a perfect metaphor for Israel's goals in executing it -- While the army should of course enter Gaza with the determination and strength of cast lead, we should never lose sight of their ultimate goal of creating a world where the Children of Sderot can spin their dreidls next Hannukkah and never have to be concerned for their safety.
Lu Yehi, v'chen y'hi ratzon!
Let it be, and may it be God's will!

1 comment:

ktr7ercom said...

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all the world konw you are terrorists and u haven't conscience,, so go to your bed and have a sweet dreams

but be sure this kids spirits will chase you in your dreams or in your waking