Thursday, March 24, 2011

Events in Japan and at Itamar - lightning rods for the world


In the Jewish calendar the Month of Adar is considered one of Mazel or Luck. We are enjoined to have court cases or apply for jobs in this month as it is meant to be an auspicious time. In the English calendar I always remember the 11th of March as a rather terrible day but a day with a blessing for my beloved father died on the morning of the 11th of March 2002. He had cancer. The blessing was that by dying so suddenly he would not suffer the indignities that terminal cancer brings over the weeks and months that it takes some to die. Everything is from G-D and a blessing. To have his suffering lessened was a blessing in disguise although I did not see as such at the time.

I look at the events of this past month and I am ashamed to say that I, at first failed to see the blessings in the terrible tragedies that have beset the world. First we have the dreadful calamity of the Japanese earthquake where thousands are killed and hundreds of thousands are homeless or homes in a shattered or inhabitable state. If that was not enough, then there was the tsunami that came in and swept away people, houses, possessions and whole towns already reeling from the shock of a 9.0 scale earthquake. Then the resulting nuclear problems at the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were added to the Japanese woes. I thought to myself, when viewing the disaster, ‘Oy, G-D haven’t you given them enough tzuros (sorrows).’

But the Japanese have risen to the occasion like no other nation could. A woman buying bottled tap water for her pregnant daughter in law buys only four bottles and debates whether to send her son and daughter in law further south. She buys only four because she wants to ‘leave some for others.’ That is a quality that is sometimes hard to find in our selfish consumer society. It is such acts of selflessness that makes one aware of how great is the human soul and the ability to rise to the occasion. They are still suffering earthquake aftershocks but they are bonding together as a nation and helping each other in a time of great tragedy. In the midst of great sorrow and loss, there is strength and compassion and people moving on.

In a small town in Israel, on Friday night, a family of eight people, six children and two parents, were ripped apart by an insane act of violence and terror. The parents were sleeping on their bed with their three months old daughter Hadassa between them. Yoav, an eleven year old was reading in his bed, Elad , the four year old was sleeping. The insane murderers came in and butchered the boys in their beds, then entered the room and killed the parents and decapitated the three months old baby girl Hadassa. It was twelve year old Tamar coming home from a youth group function who found them. She had gone to a neighbour to get in as the terrorists had locked the door as they left. Her two brothers, Ro’i eight and Yishai two had been sleeping in another room and were missed by the terrorists on their murderous rampage. When Tamar entered the house, Yishai was found near his parents bodies pulling at them trying to get them to ‘wake up’.

Tamar Fogel, her brothers and both sets of grandparents and the uncles and aunts sat shiva two weeks ago. Something we wish on no children of their tender years or for that matter, any child of any age, to find their parents and siblings in such a condition. Something we wish for no parents or for any siblings to have to do under such circumstances. How will they cope in future years with the horror of that night? Tamar is her parents’ daughter and has shown remarkable strength and fortitude over the weeks and has been literally amazingly strong for one so young. She is a testimonial light unto the nations.

At first the Palestinians had this to say “The Al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, argued that the murder of Israeli settlers was permitted by international law.”

Then they they changed their tune in the face of a growing storm of condemnation

“A day later it changed its tune, insisted that "harming children is not part of Hamas's policy," and suggested instead that the massacre might have been committed by Jews. The Palestinian "foreign minister," Riyad al-Malki, also voiced doubt that the killers could have been Palestinian. "The slaughter of people like this by Palestinians," he claimed, "is unprecedented." Actually, the precedents abound.”

The following article details some of the previous incidences of violence against Israelis which many who support the Palestinians in their ‘claims on Jewish Israel’ are quite happy to ignore or pretend did not happen.

In conclusion, what can we learn from the terrible events that occurred on March 11th 2011, this year? We learn that the capacity for the human spirit to absorb tragedy and move on despite it all, is endless and with G-D’s help we do move on to clean up and rebuild as they are doing in Japan.

What do we learn from Itamar? We see a family and a community that has been subjected to the most atrocious of all crimes, which incidentally was celebrated in the Arab villages surrounding and in Aza by dancing, firing gunshots into the air and handing out of sweets. We see the families of the community drawn together and building and doing positive acts despite the crimes that were committed against them and a family in their midst. A home invasion, the slaughter of five members of a family and finally the way it was treated by some in the world media and indeed to have the Palestinians saying that ‘it was deserved and that international law condones the killing of Israeli citizens.’

Frankly if International Law was to condone any such thing, then the world has indeed gone quite crazy. Laws are to preserve peace and allow people to prosper legally. Laws should not be used to oppress and restrict people going about their business legally and peacefully. People should be allowed to live in peace. People should be allowed to make a living and do business so long as they are not cheating or endangering others. Courts of law are to set rules for ethical society and to ensure that society operates efficiently and peacefully. Courts of law and International Law do not condone slaughter or murder of individuals or whole races or nations of people. The world needs to wake up and examine very closely what is happening nationally and internationally. The Palestinians have a strong lobby in the United Nations and among the world of academia. I wonder just how much of it is due to funding from many oil rich nations, who may not have the Palestinian interests particularly at heart, but are building a solid power base for themselves for the future through infiltration of the education systems from the top to the bottom. I see a lot of sporting events and other events sponsored by Emirates and other such organizations and have began to wonder about it. Some of the ideas and support for causes coming out of the universities these days are highly illogical. I wonder why. You have the climate change lobby and you have the Palestinian lobby and others. Think about it. Maybe the inherent blessings in these events is that G-D is attempting to show us truths not yet apparent.

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