The Madness of Peace
January 15, 2001
© 2001 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights
This morning we once again woke up to a face in our window ≠ "For death
has come up in our windows" (Jer. 9:20) ≠ an ugly face growing all too
familiar, the face of peace with the Palestinians. Israeli farmer Ronni Tsalah,
34 years old and the father of an eighteen-month- old son, was found dead this
morning nearby his hothouse near Kfar Yam, in the area of Gush Katif. Tsalah
had been kidnapped last night while working in his hothouse; his car had been
taken to Palestinian Authority-controlled Khan Yunis, where it had been set on
fire by a mob.
Every day the media reports that the violence is subsiding. Thus initial
Israeli news broadcasts were quick to report that this "abominable
crime" (Ehud Barakís words) was committed by the Hamas, so as not to
cast suspicion on our partners in the Palestinian Authority (however at this
writing, the Palestinian Authority itself is also suspect in the murder)...the
same Palestinian Authority who released all the Hamas terrorists, and in whose
jurisdiction this murder took place. The same Palestinian Authority, our
partners in peace, who just yesterday, before the eyes of the whole
world, brutally executed Palestinians who were guilty of "collaborating
with Israel." But this public execution, whose consent was signed by
Arafat himself, did not stop Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres, always
at the forefront for human rights, from meeting yesterday with Arafat.
And apparently, the murder of another inconsequential Israeli, this time a
farmer, husband and father, is not enough to deter our governmentís peace
efforts...for the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will be meeting
today for business as usual (yesterday the Palestinians boycotted the meeting
≠ because "Israel is not doing enough to reduce the tensions"). And
why should it be a deterrence? Various government officials daily claim a
great reduction in violence. In addition to Tsalahís murder, this
morningís news also carried reports of a stabbing in Gilo, shots at an
Israeli vehicle near Elon Moreh (only causing light injuries), and for the
first time, shots fired last night at Jerusalemís Neve Yaakov neighborhood,
causing damage to apartments. Still, we are told that there is a reduction in
violence, so the message is clear: Tsalahís infant and widow can just get on
line next to all the other widows, orphans, and maimed Israelis, but no one
will stand in the way of peace.
This morning I have no words. I feel I can only repeat something that I wrote
in March, 2000, which is even more relevant today:
"What sane people would willfully bring about the circumstances that
guarantee its own destruction, in return for nothing? Are we dreaming? Or
could it be that we are all insane?
The great Chassidic master Rabbi Nachman told a story called "The Tainted
Grain." It is short enough to repeat here in its entirety:
A king once told his prime minister, who was also his good friend, "I see
in the stars that whoever eats any grain that grows this year will go mad.
What is your advice?" The prime minister replied, "We must put aside
enough grain so that we will not have to eat from this yearís harvest."
The king objected, "But then we will be the only ones who will be sane.
Everyone else will be mad. Therefore, they will think that we are the mad
ones. It is impossible for us to put aside enough grain for everyone.
Therefore, we too must eat this yearís grain. But let us make a mark on our
foreheads, so that at least we will know that we are mad. I will look at your
forehead, and you will look at mine, and when we see this sign, we will know
that we are both mad.
Here in Israel, some of us have the feeling that we must surely be living out
some absurd parody of Jewish existence."
In closing I would like to share with you, an incident that took place last
week, in which my own son was involved.
My son was driving with several friends in the Shomron (Samaria). Near a boys
school, Palestinian youths were laying in wait behind a row of trees. Suddenly
they sprang out and rained large rocks down upon the car in which my son and
his companions were driving. The windshield and all the windows were
shattered; the boys were all hit by rocks and injured. My son was struck
squarely in the chest by a large boulder, and was cut by broken glass.
Miraculously, all three boys were spared major injury. Fearing for their
lives, they fired into the air to repel their attackers.
Bloodied, wounded, with all the carís windows shattered, they drove to the
nearest Police Station to report the incident. The first reaction of the
police? The boys were threatened with arrest for firing into the air....
"Zion shall be redeemed with judgment..." (Isaiah 1:27)
Rabbi Chaim Richman
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE
PO Box 31876
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