These past few weeks have been very interesting, to say the least. It’s been pretty incredible (and not necessarily in a good way) to see how high emotions have risen as a result of the disengagement. While speaking to my parents over the weekend, they asked me what the feeling was like in Israel these days, and I suggested that they check out the Israeli blog scene. Let’s face it. We run the gamut of the political spectrum, and the disengagement really put us to the test. Buttons were pushed, battles were fought, and it was often truly scary to witness the venom being exchanged, as people took passionately opposing opinions on a myriad of disengagement-related topics, including the use of children, acceptable levels of resistance, and of course, the actual act of leaving Gaza.
It’s been quite the eye-opening experience, and I know some of the events that I’ve witnessed – both good and bad – will be forever burned into my brain. I never imagined that I would feel such empathy and sadness for those settlers who left on their own, packing up their homes and families, opting to avoid clashes with security forces. Nor will I soon forget the raging anger I felt while watching those who stayed behind – their violence against the soldiers, their defiance, their complete disregard for law and life. I knew ahead of time that it wouldn’t be easy, but I don’t think I fully realized just how ugly it wasn going to get. Red lines were not only crossed, they were obliterated. Who would have thought that youngsters would taunt and argue with soldiers while their parents simply looked on and watched, or permit them to take place in physical altercations such as what happened in Kfar Darom? Who could have imagined that parents would allow their children to be portrayed as Holocaust victims, stars on their clothes and crying, marching with their hands in the air? Who would believe that Holocaust imagery would be used repeatedly, as though we can even compare people being evicted from their homes and compensated to people being forced to go through the horror of the concentration camps and marched to their deaths? Not to minimize the pain these people are feeling over losing their homes, but please. There can be no comparison between what has happened in Gaza to the greatest tragedy ever to befall the Jewish people.
I have to say, I have been reading blogs on and off for several years now, and I have never seen such fierce writing and commenting on the Israel-related blogs in all that time as I have during the time leading up to and including the disengagement. I have discovered things about myself – some of it not too pretty, and learned some intense lessons. If we can all say the same, then perhaps it wasn’t all for nothing. Despite the intentions of some individuals to thwart the disengagement, Israel has managed to leave Gaza. We must now do what we can as a nation to heal the wounds and help those rendered, for all intents and purposes, homeless. The government must do everything in its power to ensure that these individuals can start to rebuild their lives as smoothly as possible, and while there may be small pockets of success here and there, I’m willing to bet that there’s still so much more that can and should be done.
As for those who endangered the lives of members of our security forces and committed various other crimes (including all those soldiers caught stealing items from empty homes in the settlements), well, let them rot somewhere. Their actions only served to make a fragile, difficult situation even worse. They are a disgrace to this country and deserve to be treated as such.
On this note, I want to say that I’ll make every effort to stop writing about the disengagement (barring any exceptional events that I believe require commentary). It is time for us to start picking up the pieces and move on to other subjects, before it consumes us completely.