|courtesy of broadway.com|
At the end of the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof the constable of Anatevka hands Tevye and his friends an order that states they must sell their homes and leave their village in three days. Understandably they react with horror but as one of the villagers reminds them, our forefathers have been forced out of many, many places at a moment’s notice.
Twelve years ago the eighth grade girls of Shilo chose Fiddler on the Roof for their class play. Only they made some minor changes. Tevye and his family didn’t move to America but rather to Israel. He relates the story of Anatevka to his youngest child who was born in the Holy Land.
“That’s so sad,” she tells her father at the end of the play. “Could it ever happen here?’
“No,” he shakes his head empathically. “Jews don’t expel Jews!”
The audience simultaneously laughed, groaned, and sighed for this was several months before the Expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif and Jews don’t expel Jews was the slogan of the resistance.
Sadly, The Disengagement, as the politically correct call the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip, did not begin or end the displacement of Jewish settlements by Jews. Unfortunately, there are some Israelis with the battered wife syndrome* who seem to think the world will like us better if we force our citizens out of their homes for bogus claims that the land belongs to some absentee Arab.
Case in point is Peace House in Hevron. In 2008 the High Court of Justice in Israel decreed that Jewish families living in the building needed to evacuate their apartments as a PA Arab was contesting their ownership, claiming papers had been forged. Six long years later the court ruled that the sale was legal and the former residents were finally allowed to return to their homes.
Again, this week a similar drama was played out some fifteen kilometers from my house. Families from Amona were ejected from their homes of over a dozen years, homes that the government helped them to establish, because of complicated claims about land ownership. Now they’re being housed in a nearby school dormitory. Although the government had promised them alternate plots of lands to rebuild their village and their lives, NGOs are claiming those plots are also private Arab property. I wonder if in another six years the courts will decide that the Amona families were likewise mistakenly expelled from their homes.
It has been noted that theoretically speaking Tevye and the others who left Europe after their expulsion had much to be grateful for. They escaped Hitler and the Holocaust. Of course, in the end, everything is for the best but sometimes it takes a long time to understand how that can be true. Most of the people of Gush Katif are still waiting to see the silver lining in their misfortune. I pray those from Amona will have their answers sooner.
In the original Fiddler on the Roof the rabbi’s son says to his father, we’ve been waiting for the Messiah all our lives. Wouldn’t this be a good time for him to come?
The rabbi answers, We’ll have to wait for him someplace else.
Israel is the best place to wait for the Messiah. I pray the unfortunate drama played out in Amona this week will be the last time we’ll see children forced out of their childhood homes to serve some false illusion of making peace.
*Excerpt from my article, The Battered Wife, March 2014: As indignant as I feel about those who blame the settlers for all the problems, I do understand their desire to do so. It reminds me of the battered wife syndrome. She thinks if only she can stop burning the food, keep the house cleaner, make sure that no man looks at her admiringly, or whatever her husband blames her for, then the abuse will end. It won’t though because she isn’t the one at fault. Her husband is the one with the problem. Even if she serves gourmet meals, uses the best cleaning supplies in the world, or wears a sack so no one will look at her the abuse will continue.
So it is with the Arabs. My home in Shilo didn’t cause their problems and I refuse to bear the blame. Destroying my community or turning it over to our enemies won’t improve the situation.