Thursday, March 17, 2011

Amalek Comes to Itamar

Last Shabbat at Itamar, a Jewish settlement near Shekhem (aka Nablus), there took place a horrific, stomach-turning multiple murder, particularly brutal even by Arab standards. Arabs burst into the Fogel family home at night and stabbed three children, the youngest only three months old, and their parents as they slept. One child was stabbed through the heart; another had his throat slashed. A daughter who was outside at the time returned home to the bloody scene. The perpetrators escaped and, as of this writing, are still at large. The Fogel family released several pictures of the bodies so that we could grasp the true horror of the deed.


As always, the mainstream media are babbling about a "cycle of violence," "illegal settlements" and such. I don't recall Israelis ever sneaking into an Arab village and murdering little children in cold blood, but for Arabs it's their stock in trade. The question now is: Where do we go from here? The counsels of surrender would tell us that the Fogels, and all the other halutzim (the only ones left!) would have been safer behind the Green Line. And their forebears would have been safer going to America instead of Eretz Yisrael, which the Gentiles preferred to call Palestine. And the Jews would have been safer staying in Egypt than traversing the wilderness and then taking on seven hostile nations (six if the Girgashi left on their own) to claim their patrimony. As if the territory behind the Green Line was ever safe from terrorist attack - anybody remember the seder in Natanya, Sbarros, the Dolphinarium, ad infinitum ad nauseam? As if Israel was safe when there were no "occupied territories." Israelis woke up on June 5, 1967 and decided to go to war for the fun of it - right?

This Shabbat is Shabbat Zakhor, when we remember the cowardly attack of Amalek on the Jews coming out of Egypt. They were not after booty in the manner of all Bedouin tribes; the booty would have been up front, well guarded. They went after the weak and the tired in the rear. Their motive was hate, and their objective was simply to kill Jews. Today's Arabs are Amalek's ideological descendants. They hate us simply because we are Jews, and - Kahane was right - they will not accept an Israel of any shape or size. Remember that - and remember what Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook taught us about the Green Line. It has no halakhic significance. Eretz Yisrael was deeded to us by God and we dare not surrender a square centimeter of it once it comes into our possession. What's more - the Green Line has no legal significance either. It was never a border, only a concatenation of armistice lines. Once the armistice was broken in 1967, the lines became null and void, with the possible exception of the one with Lebanon.

Zakhor. If we leave out the vav of the holam, it can be read zakhar, male. As the Torah predicted, in the exile we had our manhood sucked out of us. We ran from our enemies, but they always caught up with us. We were a people bereft of strength and courage. We are back on our own land now. The ge'ula is already in progress. We are reclaiming our manhood with a holy vengeance. We can hold on to Itamar, and all the Itamars already on the ground, and all that will spring up in the future - and we will. The residents of Itamar already gave us - and our enemies - their answer. They celebrated a wedding yesterday, as if the attack had not taken place. And they celebrated it in Shekhem, at the tomb of Yosef (Josh 24:32), with special permission of the army, since the tomb of Yosef was closed to Jews since the second intifada. Shekhem means "shoulder" - symbol of manly strength. Several years ago I took my strong shoulders to Yerushalayim's Sha'ar Shekhem, stopped at the Young Israel synagogue, and continued on the straight path to the kotel. Before I'm a lot older, please God, I hope to take those broad shoulders of mine to the real Shekhem.

Itamar residents celebrate their wedding in Shekhem

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