Shilo is a village smack dab in the center of Israel. Some label it part of the occupied West Bank. Others claim it is liberated territory of Yehuda and Shomron. For me, it is simply home.
When I moved to Shilo, in 1987, I had absolutely no political motivations. I could not understand the difference between the Israel of Tel Aviv and the Israel of Shilo. Neither could the PLO. Arafat began his organization committed to the destruction of Israel in 1964, three years before the Six Day War and thirteen years before Jews returned to build homes in Shilo.
I use the word return because Shilo was once a very Jewish town, the biblical capitol of Israel for 369 years. Centuries before Waze, directions to my home could be found in the book of Samuel. For many, though, that Biblical claim to the Land is meaningless. Many believe distorted truths and think that if only the settlers and the settlements would disappear, there would be peace in the Middle East
The term two-state solution first gained attention at the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991. How ironic that on the eve of that summit a bus from Shilo was attacked by Arab gunmen. Rachela Druk, a young mother of seven, and Yitzhak Rofe, the bus driver, were murdered. Four children were injured. My life turned upside down as I had to come to terms with the fact that they were attacked for only one reason, because they were Jewish.
I have no faith in a two-state solution. I know that I, from the center of the country, can drive to the coast in about forty-five minutes. How long would it take for an enemy tank to cross the country? How far could their rockets fly?
In 2005 the Sharon government made a bold gamble with The Disengagement. Thousands of Jews were expelled from their homes in Gaza. Communities were destroyed in a bid for peace. The Gaza strip was not returned to the Egyptians who had controlled it from 1948-1967. Nor to the British who ruled before them; nor to the Ottoman Empire or the Romans. Not even to the Babylonians who first wrested the territory from the Jews. No, it was given away to the Gazan Arabs who are ruled by Hamas. The bid for peace was a failure. Missiles can, and have, rain down upon Tel Aviv.
In Hebrew Hamas means violence. What an appropriate name for this organization committed to the destruction of Israel. Is there ever any mention of building in their proclamations? What do they do for the good of their Arab population?
That population has been given a bum deal. Unlike the Israeli Arabs, they have never ever been full citizens anywhere. However, Israel did not create their problem and we can’t solve it. Even if we disappear from the map of the world, I believe their Arab brethren would continue to exploit them.
So, even though I care about human rights, I will not sacrifice myself for some pipedream of distorted peace. At the same time, I will continue to believe in the inherent goodness of most people. I will keep praying for the end of all wars. And I will stay in Shilo where I, just by my mere existence in the heart of Israel, can protect my people from annihilation.