In 1967, in front of the Western Wall, which the Israeli paratroopers division recently returned to the hands of its owner, Israel, Yossi Kelin Halevi, at that time at the impressionable age of 14 year old, fell in love with Israel. At the very same time, his father, a Holocaust survivor, who lost his belief in G-D, gained his belief – and Jewish pride – when he said, “I now forgive G-D.”
Yossi was born in the United States and that day by the Wall, was the day his life has changed. Now an observant Israeli and a journalist, Yossi is the author of the new book ‘Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation’: http://www.amazon.com/Like-Dreamers-Paratroopers-Reunited-Jerusalem/dp/0060545763/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380901254&sr=8-1&keywords=like+dreamers/
This week, in Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, to a full hall of audience, Rabbi David Wolpe hosted Yossi Kelin Halevi and they conducted a fascinating and mesmerizing discuss about book.
I personally learned a great deal from the discussion and certainly the book discusses the same and more in depth.
Here is some of what I took home from the evening:
While the 1967 Six Day War was the highest point in history for Israel, a war that was won by the military generals, the 1973 Yom Kippur War was won by the soldiers, by the people. The Yom Kippur War brought about the Oslo Accords and the intifada.
The lowest point in Israel’s history was the second intifada, which began in late September 2000 and ended in 2005.
How can a nation fall from such height to such low is such a short time?
Israel was built by people, members of the Zionist Kibbutz movement, who had a socialistic utopian vision and they formed the core of Jews who essentially built Israel.
Today’s “settlers” in Judea and Samaria have a messianic utopian vision of settling the land G-D allocated to His people, the Israelites.
The seven paratroopers, who fought the 1967 and 1973 wars, whom Yossi interviewed for his book by following them for years till the book was concluded, some are members of the former group and some of the latter. They represent the polarity in Israeli society that must end. They represent the Left and the Right, the height and lowest of Israeli society.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was the first Israeli leader to open the doors for the new Zionist movement to settle in Judea and Samaria; Prime Minister Menachem Begin made those doors open floodgates.
As it turned to be, the Left in Israel had brought terrorism to the heart of Israel while, thus far, it was only the Right that has destroyed Jewish settlements and uprooted Jews.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows all well that to achieve an agreement with the Arabs, that will yield real peace, some Jews will have to be uprooted from their homes and the price, as history shows, that terrorists will fill that vacuum. Therefore Israel is at a stalemate against itself because a Palestinian state is existential matter to Israel and at the same time it is dangerous to Israel. If Israel allows a Palestine it is taking a risk in creating one other failed Arab state in her back yard.
The disconcerting point is that both sides, the Jews and the Arabs, have a claim to the same sliver of land and both sides have compelling arguments, though the Jews’ argument is stronger.
Halevi states that the two state solution and for Jews to leave any part of Judea and Samaria will be a tragedy and historical injustice.
Halevi believes that only a real Jewish leader who believes that ALL the land, from the river to the sea, belongs to the nation of Israel will be able to make such tough concessional decisions, to withdraw from some parts of Judea and Samaria, IF the Arabs will make the same concessions. That we can have peace if we, Jews, ALL Jews, believe that all the land belongs to us.
As for the Europeans anti-Israel policy and even anti-Semitism, Halevi believes that Europe carries two humps on its back:
1. 2000 years of anti-Semitism that culminated in the Holocaust, and
When Europe can blame the Jews-Israel for being a colonial state they clear themselves of both anti-Semitism and colonialism. Since Europe is desperate to free itself of both, Israel is the perfect target as the Jews have taken the two humps off Europe’s back and put them on themselves by European design and distortion of truth. That is why we see how the Europeans hysterically converge on attacking the “settlements,” that represent colonial Jews.
So what can we do more for Israel?
Halevi: “Pay more closer attention to what is really going on in Israel, not what the papers tell you. Get to know more about the ‘settlers’ and the ‘settlements’ and about Israel as a whole.”
Yossi Kelin Halevi interviews well; during the entire interview one could not hear a pin drop and that is most unusual for Jewish audience.
During the 1967 Six Day War Meir Ariel served in the reserve servicemen paratroopers’ 55th Brigade that conquered Jerusalem. After freeing Jerusalem he wrote the song he called “Jerusalem of Iron,” based on Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold” its words and rhymes deliberately remind of the song “Jerusalem of Gold”. Ariel sang his song during the meeting of the Paratroopers’ Brigade at the end of the war and became known as the “Singing paratrooper” and he made waves.
Shuli Natan – Jerusalem of Gold –
Meir Ariel – Jerusalem of Steel –
So what will the future bring? Jerusalem of Gold, or Jerusalem of Iron, or Jerusalem of Gold and Iron?