Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cat's out of the Bag

The Cat's out of the Bag
by Nadia Matar

I was happy to read the reports in the media on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, that dozens of lecturers from the Hebrew University set out with hundreds of their students on a march to the "Sheikh Jarah" (Shimon Hatzaddik) neighborhood in Jerusalem "to demonstrate against the entry of Jewish settlers to the neighborhood and the removal of Arab families from their homes."

The photographs accompanying the reports show the demonstrators with signs such as: "Students and Lecturers against Settlements," "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's House," and the like.

According to the report on Ynet, during the course of the procession the students and the lecturers voiced calls such as "We will not sit in classrooms when, outside, rights are being trampled" and "Civil rights will not be taught with racism in Sheikh Jarah." They also bore banners stating, among others (in a slogan that rhymes in Hebrew), "There Is No Sanctity in an Occupied City."

The report quotes various lecturers who explain why they came to demonstrate:

Dr. David Tsafti, a lecturer in genetics: "I don't agree to the expulsion of families from their homes. They say that the houses belong to Jews, and maybe that is correct, but it certainly isn't right [...] people have lost the ability to see Arabs as human beings."

[Interestingly, five years ago Dr David Tsafti was not seen demonstarting against the expulsion of our brothers from Gush Katif...but let's go on to the next lecturer]

Ruti Bettler, a professor of education, said that she has been active in this struggle [against Jews settling in Jerusalem's neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah] for a long time. "The attempt to expel these families from their homes is an injustice in the human and moral plane." [She too somehow, who is active on behalf of Arab squatters in homes they grabbed and stole from the original Jewish owners, did not decry the expulsion of Jews from their real homes.]

Let's go on to the next leftist professor quoted in the article:

Professor Tamar Rappaport said that no less than 10 lecturers in education came to the demonstration. "Word of the demonstration went though the social networks and [e-]mails, and reached people. In the
final analysis, lecturers, too, are people, and in this land it's impossible not to be political." She made clear that the lecturers did not come to the demonstration in the name of the university, and rather were speaking for themselves, but she emphasized: "I think that the struggle of Sheikh Jarah is closely connected with academy."

The professor of anthropology Yoram Bilu told that during all his years in academe, he did not encounter such a broad and diverse response by lecturers and students for such cooperation."

You'll be surprised to hear this, but I am very glad that such a demonstration was held by the left. For years we have been trying to persuade teachers, educators, and rabbis in our national camp that it is inconceivable that they and their students would not be involved, even during study hours, in the struggle for Eretz Israel.

During the Oslo period I attempted to persuade teachers to join the demonstrations against the Oslo accords, together with their students, during study times, as well. How is it possible to continue to study
when the house is on fire, we told them? And likewise during the period of the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, and likewise right now: when the Arabs, who are financed by international bodies, are stealing and grabbing thousands of dunams of state lands, tens of thousands of yeshivah students in the state-religious or hardal (semi-ultra-Orthodox) religious educational institutions continue with routine life as usual, continue to study in air-conditioned study halls - as if there were no physical war, on the ground, for the land. Don't misunderstand me. I am not calling to stop Torah study, or any other study, but I am calling to combine study with the actual struggle on the ground, as I will explain in detail below with practical examples.

Once I also tried to persuade Bnei Akiva counselors to organize setting up new me'ahazim (outpost settlements), or to distribute informational material against the Oslo accords and for Eretz Israel as a whole. In all these instances described above we were confronted by the same puzzling response: "It is forbidden for us and our members to participate in "political" activity."

Now,after dozens of Hebrew University lecturers, who publicly proclaimed their views, unabashedly participated in a demonstration by the left, I want to hope that in our camp, as well, educators, rabbis,
teachers, lecturers, and their students will begin to arise and go out to defend Eretz Israel, on the ground.

Ideas for action:

1) Each yeshivah, each school, each ulpanah (girls' seminary) will adopt hilltops in Judea and Samaria, where they will organize rosters of a permanent Jewish presence to defend the lands that will remain in Jewish hands. They will plant trees, and also erect buildings, even if only simple ones, where they will engage in their studies.

2) Each yeshivah, each school, each ulpanah, from the Gush Dan area, too, will adopt a me'ahaz (outpost) in Judea and Samaria. The students and teachers will aid that me'ahaz, by a duty roster, several times a week, aiding in agriculture, construction, and maintaining a Jewish presence. On Shabbatot, as well, come to the place and make a connection.

3) In the event, Heaven forbid, of the destruction of structures, studies will not be held on that day, and all the teachers and students from the schools, the yeshivot, and the ulpanot, and the youth movement members from the area, will come to aid in restoring the ruins and rebuilding everything anew.

These, of course, are just examples of the activity that, in my humble opinion, should be adopted by all the teachers and students in the national educational institutions. The message is clear. As was said in the demonstration by the leftists: "We will not sit in classrooms when, outside, rights are being trampled." We are waiting for our educators to tell their students: "We will not sit in classrooms and study halls when, outside, the rights of Eretz Israel and the rights of the Jews are being trampled. We will continue our studies - but
they will be combined with action on behalf of Eretz Israel."

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380

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