Phyllis Chesler Interviews Carol Gould

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Jerusalem after Pesach
Last uploaded : Friday 16th Apr 2004 at 11:12
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv

 

Shalom, Shalom

So how was your Pesach/Easter? Ours was busy, exhausting and wonderful. I always feel that Pesach (Passover) is the festival of hot and cold running FOOD!!! The problem is that everything revolves around eggs! What is it with us? Why does everything have to be related to food? Why is it that normal diplomatic meetings have bottles of water but Israeli ones have borekas, cookies, croissants and of course the inevitable "DIET" Coke?!!! Maybe it is all those years of poverty and starvation, exile and exclusion which make us generous gourmands!

Budapest boasts many artifacts of great Jewish importance. The Great Synagogue has been restored, yet can never wipe out the stain of Eichmann's office up in the balcony. Maybe the knowledge of this office and that hate-filled era made the discovery of a plot to blow up the new Holocaust Museum of Budapest all the more horrific. A Moslem doctor, a Moslem dentist defied their healing vocation and plotted to commit a heinous offence against the memory of those who died. Thank G-d it was foiled.

We won the 2004 ULEB European Basketball Cup. HaPoel Jerusalem won against Real Madrid and has entered the big time for this popular sport. It is said that sport is the real leveller so why is it that Jerusalem/Israel is acceptable in European sport yet not in European diplomatic circles? By the way, there is some sick logic in the way that the Europeans think (well they would wouldn't they?) but I will never ever understand those Jews in the Diaspora who complain that we celebrate the victory in sport because it offends their sensibilities that we can play sport while men women and children die in the Intifada. It makes me so angry! How dare they think that way? How dare they suggest that Israelis have to suffer on every level with no hope, no right to fun, no will to survive because they want us to show our suffering.

Well, let me tell you something, the day we stop trying, playing, winning, celebrating, smiling, laughing, hoping is the day the Arabs win. The very proximity of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Yom Ha Zikaron (Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha Atzma'ut (Independence Day) show our need to remember and our hope for the future. Israel is not a charity case which has to go begging with a long sad face; giving to Israel is an insurance policy for the future of world Jewry; Israel is a strong and vibrant society that has a symbiotic relationship with the Diaspora; we are interdependent and can never be separated; in the eyes of the world and in our survival. If Israel cannot celebrate a sporting championship we are lost.

Prime Minister Sharon presented his plan to President Bush and President Bush accepted it. Saeb Erekat, spokesman of the Palestinian Authority, was so disrespectful when he stated that President Bush agreeing to give Israel Palestinian land was as if he made an agreement with (some tiny country) to give Texas to China!!! How dare he!! How can he compare his importance in the world to that of the President? His statement also assumes that the land discussed belongs to "Palestine" rather than the land which was Jordan and is in fact the disputed territory claimed by the Palestinian Authority. We are not talking about huge areas, but of small, densely populated areas which are close to large Israeli cities.

Let us put it all into perspective. As one travels the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea there are several Arab towns, most of which are within Israel. Many, many apartment blocks built illegally without any attempt to obtain building permits, lie along the route. Entire apartment blocks sit gapingly empty awaiting their inhabitants for when the land is returned to the Palestinians. "Returned to the Palestinians"? There is a limit as to how much history can be rewritten! When the Europeans talk of illegal settlement of the West Bank, they never talk of the enormous building programmes funded by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria etc through Arafat's chums; they only blame the Israelis. We then consider the issue of the "return". Most of the "Palestinian" people are not indigenous to the area at all! The Bedouin and the Druse are, but not the Palestinians, most of whom came as itinerant workers within the last 100 years or less from Iraq, Syria etc. They came to the area looking for work on the land when it began to flourish under the care and nurturing of the Jews who returned from their exile. I know that what I have stated may not be politically correct but it is historically correct!!!

If Prime Minister Sharon and his advisors have come up with a plan which could just bring some respite to this beleaguered part of the world then we should grab it with both hands. If the Palestinians complain that it does not fulfill their demands then they shouldn't have started the Intifada when PM Barak gave them everything they wanted and more. Terror does not reap rewards in this part of the world.

This Monday is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We can never forget, we can never be complacent, never believe that because our lives are financially comfortable and socially acceptable that it can never happen again. The State of Israel is the reason we can hold our heads up high and never be afraid but not that we can be complacent and forget our history of which we get constant reminders every day of our lives today. The difference between then and now is that Jews have a home, a home of their own. The State of Israel may be tiny but we are here and are not going anywhere.

With much love to you, praying that you did not lose family in the Shoah and reaching out my heart to you if you did.

Sheila







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