Friday, November 09, 2007

Teshuva for Disengagement?

There are at least three components to true repentance; regret about the past, to stop sinning in the present, and to resolve never to do it again in the future.

I wonder to what extent Ben Eliezer's statements here represent the national feeling. Perhaps Israel is beginning to do teshuva for the enormous damage and harm that was (and is being) done to thousands of innocent people (who lived in Gush Katif, Sederot or anywhere nearby).

Of course, real teshuva would also involve helping those who were thrown out of their homes and are still homeless/ unemployed etc. It would also mean protecting those who are currently being bombed from Gaza. But at least a verbal confession is a beginning.

The real question is whether this will lead to changed policies from the government for the future, and whether it will save us from Annapolis.

Since the only thing we can do is teshuva, let us hope that G-d will help the people of Israel to do the right thing.

The disengagement from Gaza "was a mistake" National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer told Non-Stop Radio (Radio Lelo Hafsaka) on Thursday.

"I admit and confess," Ben Eliezer said, "I was with those who strongly supported [former prime minister] Ariel Sharon, and today I say with my head held high: We erred, we made a very big mistake."

According to Ben Eliezer, a move such as the Gaza pullout can only be successful when the territory one leaves is "handed over to responsible hands and anchored in agreements and international guarantees. Here we have a precedent - a territory we left turns into a base for terror - period."

Regarding the ongoing Kassam rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Ben Eliezer said there is no escaping the need to act and to respond to the barrages.

When asked about potential harm to the Palestinian population in Gaza that would likely result from an Israeli military response, the Infrastructure Minister said attempts to prevent harm to civilians are futile in light of the current situation.

"Israel must respond, what else?"

Ben Eliezer continued: "Israel continues to say 'I bind myself to ethical obligations,' that no other country in the world binds itself to.

"There is a contradiction here between two disciplines," he said. "One nation is prepared to commit suicide and sees it as a mitzvah and an honor, and another wants to spare every ounce of blood."

Ben Eliezer's comments came Thursday morning as three Kassam rockets landed in Israeli territory. Two of the rockets landed in open fields near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon - one near a strategic installation. No one was wounded and there was no damage to property.

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