The sequel, of course, is Bar Rafaeli's comment: "Why die for one's country? Isn't it better to live in New York?" Avrum Burg, now living in Paris as a French citizen, said very much the same thing. "I'm a citizen of the world first, a Jew second and an Israeli third." That's today's version of "We are German citizens of Mosaic faith." That rings hollow nowadays, after the Shoah and all. So who needs a country? That's so primitive and tribal.
Analysis: 'If They Would Have Only Listened to Me in 2004...'
by Avi Rath
Musings of members of a certain camp in Israel:
2004: "I'm telling you, what are we doing in Netzarim, anyway? Right in the middle of Gaza, among those millions of Arabs? What are we looking for there? Why do we need this provocation? One would think that it was some kind of holy place. Why do we need a whole army there in Netzarim, to protect a few settlers, to escort their buses, to guard their community? Wouldn't it better if instead, the IDF could prepare for the next war, and not waste time and manpower on all sorts of crazy settlements that give us nothing. I'm telling you, this Netzarim is just a thorn in our side. Look, maybe if there was some kind of bloc of settlements, like in Gush Katif for example - but why do they have to stick Netzarim there, by itself, right in the middle of all those Arabs? Who needs it? I'm telling you..."
2005: "I'm telling you, this whole Gush Katif that these settlers dropped on us is a real pain. Instead of the IDF being able to prepare for the next war, it has to run to protect all those pregnant women and all their bulletproof buses. And those settlers - thousands of mortar shells fall on them, but they don't care; they have Messiah in their eyes, they just repeat verses and slogans and roll their eyes to heaven. Believe me, I know them. Instead of helping the Negev, and the development towns, all that money goes to those settlers with their fancy red roofs. Those settlers, they all live on our expense. Instead of giving money for education in Sderot or Netivot, the whole budget goes to the settlements, to their roads and their villas. I'm telling you..."
2007: "I'm telling you... You don't have to stick to a particular place just like that, for no reason. Stones aren't holy; human life is more holy. What's the big deal - does it say 'Sderot' anywhere in the Bible? Would it be so terrible if we take the women and children out of Sderot, and then move the whole city a few kilometers north? Instead of putting millions into reinforcement and having the army go into Gaza, we should allow the IDF to prepare for the next war, and not just have the soldiers run around in Sderot or Gaza after every rocket or every terrorist cell. Why do we have to endanger women and children for no reason? How long will we have to live by the sword? I'm telling you, this money that they want to put into Sderot, we should invest it in education, in computers for the children, for developing the Negev. Human life is more important than territory. There's no reason for more women and children to get killed just like that. We need a strong leader who can tell the truth, that we should move Sderot northward, and then let's see how strong they are. That's how we will weaken Hamas, and strengthen the moderate elements in Fatah, and get them to hold democratic elections. I'm telling you..."
2008: "I'm telling you, what kind of ridiculous idea was it to build those strategic facilities in south Ashkelon of all places? It just drives me nuts. They could have put them anywhere else, but no, they had to pick southern Ashkelon, so close to the border with Gaza. Electric, gas, oil, and who knows what else we have there. What stupid government thought of putting all those things there? Didn't they realize that it would become a target for the enemy? I'm telling you, instead of placing all those installations there and then investing all that money in protecting them, it would have been better to take the money and put it in education, culture, computers for the children in Sderot and Yerucham. Why does the IDF have to waste manpower on protecting those places? Wouldn't it be better for the IDF to be able to concentrate on its real missions and prepare for the next war? I'm telling you..."
Feb. 27, 2008: "I'm telling you, with all the sorrow I feel for that poor guy who was killed yesterday in Sapir College in Sderot... I mean, with all the sorrow, but tell me - what was he doing there, right in the parking lot of the college? He had to be precisely there of all places? What, he can't travel by bus? He couldn't have parked somewhere else? He had to provoke them, he had to go out to that exact parking lot exactly at that time? Didn't he realize that by going then to that exact spot, he was strengthening Hamas and weakening Fatah? I'm telling you, instead of giving money to build those parking lots next to the colleges, all that money should have gone to education, to development towns, to computers for the kids in Sderot. That stupidity of building parking lots precisely in the range of Kassams drives me nuts. Instead of letting the soldiers prepare for the next war, they make them deal with nonsense like protecting parking lots and evacuating the wounded. I'm telling you...
"And anyway, what are we doing in the Negev at all? What happened - there's nowhere else to live in Israel? We're just provoking them by living across from Gaza with our nice red roofs while they live in the garbage of Gaza - that's what causes them to keep up their war against us and fire rockets at us. Instead of strengthening the moderate elements, we keep on just strengthening the extremists... I'm telling you, if you just would have listened to me back in 2004... It's so frustrating knowing how right I was back then, but no one listens to me. How many more people have to be killed before they realize that we have nothing to look for here. Don't you think it would be better if instead, the IDF would be able to prepare for the next war?... I'm telling you, believe me..."
Author Avi Rath is an educator and former Arutz-7 broadcaster. Translated by Hillel Fendel